Rod Wave
Rod Wave

Rod Wave

About Rod Wave

If he can help it, Rod Wave keeps himself out of the studio. It’s too busy, too impersonal—not the kind of place where you can open up. Which is kind of what Rod Wave does. So he vets the beats on headphones, rents a hotel room with his engineer, turns the lights off, and lets it go. “There’s people who could make a living getting in there and talking about they pain, they life, they story, they struggle,” he told Apple Music in 2020. “It kinda made me open up more. Like, it’s okay to be yourself; it’s okay to talk about what you go through, because ain’t nobody perfect. Everybody want to get on these songs and s**t and walk around like they perfect. That ain’t what it’s about. That’s just vampire. It don’t even exist.”

Born Rodarius Green in 1999 in St. Petersburg, Florida, Rod Wave is part of a pack of younger rappers—including YoungBoy Never Broke Again, NoCap, and Moneybagg Yo—taking the street confessionals of forebears like Boosie Badazz and Kevin Gates in new directions, broadening the emotional range of hip-hop with the vocal catharsis of classic soul and, in Wave’s case, even a touch of country. It can be ugly, it can be raw—he meditates on friends lost to violence (“PTSD”), he describes breaking into houses to help out his family (“Popular Loner”). But Wave’s music also has a quietly redemptive streak: His load might never be light, but at least he can leave some of it on record.

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