Earlier this year, Rittz got to visit the legendary Stankonia Studios–home of Outkast–and linked up with Big Boi. For any rapper or hip-hop fan it would be a big moment, but for Rittz it meant much more.
There’s no single artist who has had more of impact on Rittz than Outkast. Just take a listen to “Reality Check.” From the very second the bass kicks in, the Outkast influence is tangible; which is exactly what Rittz was going for.
But “Reality Check” is only a small example of Outkast’s influence on Rittz.
In a discussion sparked by the Last Call standout, Rittz detailed just how much Outkast means to him and the role they’ve had in shaping who he is as a person and an artist.
“Reality Check” has some definite Outkast influences, how did that one develop?
Really it’s in the beat. Sometimes with producers, I’ll be like “I want this type of beat.” So with Seven, I sent him the “Wailin'” beat–I love that record with Cee-lo humming in the back–and he sent back the beat for “Reality Check.”
I’m not trying to steal it, but it’s just like, “I want this tempo and this vibe.” Some people hear that and say it sounds like a Dre beat, but that “Wailin'” beat came way before Chronic 2001.
Can you talk a little bit about what Outkast means to you?
Outkast is the biggest influence on me period. Outkast and Eminem, but Outkast, they’ve put out the best rap music ever made; I don’t think it can ever get any better.
That music is timeless. I don’t think there’s been anyone more creative and when you hear something creative these days, 9 out of 10 times it has some Outkast influences.
My dawg @shadowink just re did my #atlien #tattoo and KILLED IT last night in #naptown this is my favorite album of all time an album that change the sound of music in my opinion. It is timeless! S/O to @therealbigboi the freshest rapper of all time and to #andre3000 both of them have by far been my biggest influences in music. The almighty #Outkast #inkfam good job @shadowink
What ways have they influenced you?
It was the first group out of Atlanta to really make some noise. I use to listen to a ton of Rap-A-Lot records, but when Outkast came out they were talking about Spaghetti Junction, College Park, East Point, and Decatur and I actually see those things.
The way they dress was how people at my school was dressing. I was starting to see the culture of where I’m from get put on the map and on TV.
I don’t think Big Boi gets the credit he deserves as a solo artist. To me, by far, when it comes to style and dressing; he’s the freshest ever period. I used to try to dress like him, talk like him, move like him. If he’s ever heard my lyrics I’m sure he could tell.
What about musically?
Just the creativity in the music. From storytelling to the voices of Big Boi and Andre–they were so cool, so recognizable; like nothing, you ever heard before. he music always had almost dark undertones. They’d have little New York vibe, then 808s, cool interludes; a great mix of music.
They way the put albums together, made for really nice albums. Interludes, bridges, poems in the front of songs, and talking about deep shit. They were deep, and lyrical, but not where’d you categorize them as conscious.
Even the way I structure albums now, I base them off my Outkast influence.
How do you sort of, balance, that imitation vs. influence?
It’s a fine line. First of all my trademark “yeah-uh yeah” but if you listen to Big Boi, he’s got “yeah” almost the exact same. That comes from imitation more than influence if we’re being honest. I didn’t purposely do it, but when I look back at it, I’m like “shit that’s kinda like Big Boi’s ‘yeah.’
It’s influence, but you also know deep down where that stuff comes from.
Is that a natural thing or do you think about it?
I think it does come naturally. I’m just such a fan. I don’t do it on purpose, I don’t go listen to an Outkast album and structure mine, but its just the kind of rap music I like. Nobody’s ever made anything close to it since. I miss it, so naturally, it’s in my blood, in my music, in my range to make shit like that.