In a sea of melodic rappers and emotional lyrics, Rod Wave has risen to the top of the waters, achieving success with his first No. 1 album, SoulFly, earlier this month. The 22-year-old’s broody bravado on the LP documents the harrowing tales of life in St. Petersburg, Fla., losing love and his route to hip-hop stardom. Rod’s trademark crooning is supported by stellar production that carries the weight of his emotional musings.
His 2019 single “Heart on Ice” is indicative of that. Soulful pianos flood the track before 808s drop in, courtesy of Speaker Bangerz, Malik and DiCaprio Beatz behind the boards, while Rod’s passionate voice commands center stage. A Rod Wave type beat is easy to find because there are specific production components each of his tracks exemplify—passionate instrumentation and stacked drums—and rising producers are honing in on that sound.
With eight projects to his name so far, one of the highlights is his 2020 album, Pray 4 Love, which also came with a deluxe last year. The LP peaked at No.1 on the Billboard 200 on April 18, 2020. The 2020 XXL Freshman‘s 25-track deluxe quarantine pack, featuring Yo Gotti, Lil Baby and ATR Son Son, housed the homegrown hit “Rags2Riches” with ATR Son Son. The tinkling piano keys, two pads, a bell, drums, hi-hats, snare and 808s made by Daysix and Zypitano. “Letter From Houston” takes a similar form with a track featuring piano, drums and hi-hats crafted by four beatsmiths: LondnBlue, Karltin Bankz, TnTXD and Tahj Money.
SoulFly, the Alamo Records signee’s third studio album, displays a progressive take on Rod’s typical choice in beat. Like most of his songs, the production is mainly mid-tempo, but Rod is making bolder choices with instrumentation. “Street Runner,” crafted by Karltin Bankz, LondnBlue and TnTXD, is an example of Rod’s daring choices. The four-minute track begins with a sample of singer Ruth B.’s “Mixed Signals” then dives into melodic keys, drums and 808s.
The rapper, born Rodarius Marcell Green, takes his listener to church with his lyrics and the production he sings over. A Rod Wave production is inherently spiritual, even if the rapper’s primary focus isn’t to rhyme about God. Here are some examples of Rod Wave type beats below.
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