NPR

First Listen: Shawty Lo, 'R.I.C.O.'

When the Atlanta rapper died in a tragic car accident last September, his untimely passing felt like the death of old Atlanta. On R.I.C.O., he resurrects it with an autobiographical portrait.
Shawty Lo's posthumous album, <em>R.I.C.O.</em>, comes out March 24.

In hip-hop, the posthumous release is almost a subgenre unto itself. Premature death has a way of elevating artists into instant icons, forever immortalized by their final recorded words. When Carlos "Shawty Lo" Walker died in a tragic car accident last September at the age of 40, his untimely passing felt like the death of old Atlanta. On R.I.C.O., he resurrects it with an autobiographical portrait of his own bootstraps journey from discarded youth to 1990s drug dealer in the westside neighborhood known as Bankhead.

Most rappers flash their hood credentials to gain notoriety. Not Shawty Lo.. That's why fellow Bankhead native T.I., who was already a star, couldn't simply leave Lo's 2008 diss record "" . The battle wound up being beneficial to both of their careers and ended in reconciliation, with the two of them living in neighboring mini-mansions.

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