Hip-Hop is obsessed with the hustler. The “rags to riches” concept has always served to inspire America’s poor, and in the age of hip-hop this concept is best embodied in the hustler. If you think of Hip-Hop’s most cherished emcees, most tend to embody the image of hustler, who worked his way to the top. Sometimes the hustler chooses to highlight their illegal methods of hustling and sometimes rap itself is used as the hustle to inspire the masses. Dirty Rice fits the bill of a hustler to the fullest, as both his album and his website make clear. Hailing out of Oakland, Dirty Rice slangs raps both from the trunk of his car and on his own website. But even more fascinating is the fact that Dirty Rice’s music isn’t the hyper-gangsta product we’re used to getting from the Bay, instead Rice represents another equally popular lifestyle. Dirty Rice loves cars, and not lowriders or big bodies, instead Rice is a fiend for speed. He devotes his life, and most of his raps, to the street racing movement. Movies like The Fast and The Furious have already cashed in on the movement, so its only natural that those who live it would try to get theirs too.
Like many a rap entrepreneur, Dirty Rice produces his entire album as well as providing the raps. Dirty Rice’s production tends to be simple and bass heavy, perfect for bumping in any type of ride. The bass line in almost every Dirty Rice song is the overpowering sound with sparse instruments, samples, and synths providing a little diversity. Nothing about Dirty Rice’s production stands out too much, but its good enough to hold down the album, especially considering the album’s targeted audience.
Lyrically, Dirty Rice isn’t going to blow your mind with metaphors. He takes a straightforward approach, mostly relating tales about his street racing lifestyle, hustling his CDs, and hip-hop in general. This approach could become boring quick, but Dirty Rice has an innate ability to rap both quick and very clearly. He’s not trying to imitate Twista, instead he has a fast-paced approach that almost mimics that of fellow west coast rapper Suga Free. Dirty Rice’s conversational and fast rhyme style is a perfect fit for the street racing movement he represents. On top of a pretty dope style, Dirty Rice is full of plenty of attitude and personality to keep you listening. Rice is the type of person who could probably sell bad music on the strength of his personality alone. Luckily he doesn’t have to worry about that since his music bumps. Rice’s stories about hustling CDs and crazy nights in Oakland are interesting enough to keep any listener entertained. Dirty Rice’s entrepreneurial spirit also shines through as he advertises both his CDs and his website. To try to get you to support underground hip-hop he even gives away his CDs as long as you’re willing to pay the cost of shipping.
Dirty Rice is an interesting and new character in hip-hop. As far as I know, the street car racing movement has yet to hit the hip-hop scene in force. Because of this, Dirty Rice definitely has a large niche market he could take advantage of. But because of his hard hitting beats and dope delivery, there is no reason Rice should have to limit himself to a niche market. More variety in both content and beat instrumentation could help Rice gain a larger fan base, but as it stands there’s definitely enough people that would not mind bumping “The Slapologist” for both the beats and the rhymes.