Rich Forever 3 (the much anticipated collaborative project between rappers Rich the Kid, Famous Dex, and Jay Critch) was released Friday after several delays, but not without controversy. In September of 2016, a video surfaced online which displayed Famous Dex brutally assaulting his girlfriend. A couple of weeks later in October, Rich the Kid’s wife took to Instagram and came forward with allegations of abuse throughout their 3 year relationship. The overall response to the issue has been disappointing. Famous Dex and his team have refused to address the issue, hoping it goes away over time. Many fans simply do not care what an artist does in their personal life. They believe you have to “separate the art from the artist.” As the profiles of both Rich the Kid and Famous Dex continue to rise, evident by the outrage when both were excluded from the XXL Freshman list, issues such as these become more pressing. Rich Forever 3 is an enjoyable and vibrant project, but one with a dark cloud looming over it.
Rich Forever 3 expands on the 2016 project Rich Forever 2 with the addition of Brooklyn native Jay Critch. This serves as his formal introduction to the rap world, and he shines. Rich the Kid and Famous Dex take a backseat on the project to Jay Critch and follow his lead as he performs over half of the hooks on the project. His deep voice also fits like a puzzle piece in the Migos-esque back and forth rapping style used between the artists. Critch’s flow on the project feels as if Takeoff of Migos had the cadence of a Brooklynite, displayed at it’s best on the Laron produced “VVS” where his knack for saying every single word with confidence could be the aspect of his persona to get full support in a New York City climate desperate for new stars. The bouncier “Did It Again,” which is a project standout, also works as a substantial platform for Critch to display his versatility and ability to create a catchy hook.
Famous Dex on Rich Forever 3 seems to hide behind the smooth production (mostly handled by Lab Cook and Laron). His energy is considerably lower than Rich the Kid’s and he defers many of the hooks to Jay Critch, which is surprising. With his buzz at an all time high, you would think he would be featured most prominently. The high points on the project do not involve Famous Dex, as the chemistry is strongest when Jay Critch and Rich the Kid are participating in their rapid back and forth such as on “Nintendo.” At their best Jay Critch and Rich the Kid are an effective duo finishing each other’s line and feeding off of one another. The problem is that Famous Dex feels tacked on, as if he is only associated with the project to raise its profile.
Rich Forever 3 is a consistent project that doesn’t stray far from its comfort zone, the production is clean and Jay Critch’s flow is refreshing. But can we really move on as if nothing has happened with Famous Dex and Rich the Kid, ignoring the issues at hand? Famous Dex’s continuous growth as a popular figure says something about how lightly we treat assault issues. It took nearly 60 allegations of sexual assault for the public to completely turn on Bill Cosby. Granted, Bill Cosby was an enormous cultural icon, but it proves that the point where we draw the line is far beyond where it should be. Is good production and energetic ad libs all it takes for us to dismiss these allegations? Assault against women is an issue in every crack and crevice of society, from rap culture to The White House. It’s time we fully address the Famous Dex and Rich the Kid situation. No matter how good Rich Forever 3 is, sometimes things are just more important than music.