It’s Friday, which means it’s time for FrontRow’s weekly highlight of a new release that hasn’t left our headphones. (We’re hoping to make this a thing every Friday, so artists, hip-hop or not, please email me your releases for consideration!)
The intention of this post is to lift up artists in Dallas-Fort Worth and start a conversation with readers about what they’re listening to. Come back every Friday. Let’s get to it.
Talladega by Rikki Blu
Hailing straight out of Pleasant Grove, Rikki Blu is on a mission to become the greatest. This week’s Muhammad Ali tribute video is reflective of Blu’s rise in Dallas’ underground hip-hop community. His lyricism carries the tenacity of Ali’s punch. His bars deliver like a series of repetitive jabs, stringing together lines that are confident they can knock out any opponent.
The song’s beat is an ever-present background to Blu’s non-stop delivery of those bars, all of which exemplify his perception of self. “Straight out the South / don’t give a fuck about clout,” he raps, which would seem somewhat ill-fitting considering the current prominence of Southern rappers in the mainstream. That in itself is the paradox of Blu’s existence as a rapper. He’s aware of the industry’s transition to the South, specifically Atlanta, where he moved last year. The southern capital is home to Quality Control and a number of rappers who frequently dominate charts. Yet Blu is different from the rappers who moved to Atlanta chasing a QC deal; he’s there to train among the best, and he’ll wear a Dallas Stars jersey while he does it.
Like a boxer in their rise, “Talladega” is Blu’s first swing in a new ring of contenders. The Dallas champion proudly represents our town, even if he’s recording away from it. His fight isn’t for clout, but longevity.