Adept at swinging from gruff to sweet within one line, Rod Wave is a rapper and singer who swiftly advanced from local up-and-comer to Alamo Records signee. The Top Ten Billboard 200 entry Ghetto Gospel capped off the storyteller’s slew of vivid full-length releases across 2018 and 2019. Pray 4 Love nearly topped the chart in 2020, and was followed in 2021 by SoulFly, which reached number one on the strength of a few Top 40 singles. The rapper’s fourth album, Beautiful Mind, arrived in 2022 and also topped the charts.
For Rod Wave, born Rodarius Green, recording was initially just a pastime facilitated by his father (who bought him a microphone) and his brother (who gave him a computer). He didn’t intend to make a career out of it, but early tracks circulated by his producer found an audience in his native St. Petersburg, Florida, and additional material and live shows led to a deal with the Universal-affiliated Alamo Records. Still a teenager, Rod put together multiple volumes in his Hunger Games series and also released a handful of singles in 2018 alone. He was even more productive the following year, releasing PTSD (with Bay Area legend E-40 the only guest), appearing on E-40′s “Made This Way” (his highest-profile guest verse to that point), and hitting number ten on the Billboard 200 with Ghetto Gospel. The latter debut studio full-length was executive produced by Kevin Gates — an early inspiration — and was boosted by a remix of the single “Heart on Ice” featuring Lil Durk.
Rod returned in April 2020 with his second studio album, Pray 4 Love. The record debuted at number two on Billboard 200 and spawned the number 12 pop hit “Rags2Riches” featuring Lil Baby. A deluxe version of Pray 4 Love arrived that August, only a few weeks after Rod survived a serious car accident. The rapper/singer drew from the experience on SoulFly, which arrived in March 2021. Powered by its first three singles, all of which went Top 40, the album crowned the Billboard 200. A non-album track appeared later that year in the form of “Forever Set in Stone.” He then cracked the Top Ten of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with “By Your Side” and “Cold December,” which were the first two singles released off his fourth album, 2022′s Beautiful Mind. The LP arrived in August of that year and was his second set to reach the number one position on the Billboard 200 chart. Before 2022 was over, Rod issued the EP Jupiter's Diary: Seven Day Theory. The eight-song project broke into the Top Ten shortly after its release. ~ Andy Kellman