Southern rapper Rittz delivers lightning-speed bars with wit and a confrontational attitude similar to predecessors Eminem and Twista. After some bumps at the start of his career threatened to derail him completely, he forged forth and eventually released his first effort, 2011′s White Jesus. Signing with Tech N9ne’s Strange Music the following year, he issued a quartet of full-lengths with the label over the course of the 2010s. At the end of the decade, he branched out on his own, self-releasing 2019′s Put a Crown on It on his label, Cli-N-Tel Entertainment.
Born Jonathan McCollum in Pennsylvania, he was raised in the northern Atlanta suburbs of Gwinnett County, Georgia. With a speedy, sharp tongue and dexterous rhymes, Rittz had a few close calls in the music industry, winning a battle contest on Hot 107.9 and nearly following in the career path of Eminem, but unfortunately he was unable to lock down a record label signing due to disputes in management and contract deals. Soured by the experience and on the verge of giving up rap entirely, Rittz was recruited by Yelawolf to guest on “Box Chevy” from the 2010 album Trunk Musik 0-60. More collaborations followed, and so did two mixtapes, 2011′s White Jesus and 2012′s White Jesus: Revival. Strange Music signed the rapper late that year, and released Rittz’s studio debut, The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant, in 2013. His 2014 sophomore LP, Next to Nothing, featured a couple guest shots from Mike Posner, plus appearances by Yelawolf, Twista, and B.o.B. Posner returned for the 2016 album Top of the Line, while veteran MCs like MJG, Devin the Dude, and E-40 filled the rest of the guest list. The following year, Rittz returned with the singles “Dork Rap” and “Indestructible,” which landed on his fourth effort, Last Call. The album debuted at 43 on the Billboard 200 and also featured the track “Fuck Cancer” with Candice Freeman. In 2019, he tossed out a pair of quick releases for fans, White Jesus Loosies and White Jesus Loosies, Vol. 2, before closing the year with a fresh full-length Put a Crown on It. Featuring guests Paul Wall, Jelly Roll, Too $hort, and more, Crown also included the single “Wake Up Call” with Yelawolf and Twista. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Neil Z. Yeung