Best New Music: YoungstaCPT immortalises his memory of Riky Rick on “Dear Rikhado, Love Riyadh”
Best New Music: YoungstaCPT immortalises his memory of Riky Rick on “Dear Rikhado, Love Riyadh”

Best New Music: YoungstaCPT immortalises his memory of Riky Rick on “Dear Rikhado, Love Riyadh”

Extending grace and accepting the finality of death

Riky Rick was several things to many people. To those of us that interfaced with him through the lens of celebrity, he was a supremely talented rap artist, a successful entrepreneur, and a staunch advocate for the youth. For those who paid a little more attention to his interviews and the conversations he shared in public, his unabashed honesty about our fleeting existence as humans was as bracing as it was jarring, referencing struggles with his mental health and counterbalancing the grimness with a sense of purpose—a belief that it’s not all meaningless.

On his deeply moving tribute to Riky Rick, “Dear Rikhado, Love Riyadh,” Cape Town rapper YoungstaCPT includes a portion of the conversation between the pair, during which Riky Rick pondered human ephemerality and legacy. Used in the song’s opening moments, that except was culled from the tenth episode of “Lab Live,” the interview series where Riky Rick roamed around, and dug into, a variety of topics with his rap colleagues. In the episode with YoungstaCPT, they discussed everything from Prophets of Da City pioneering rap music in South Africa to the complex colonial history of the rainbow nation.

Towards the reluctant end of the 98-minute chat, Riky Rick gushed about this being emblematic of their sporadic phone call conversations. Whether you knew of their relationship or not, the mutual respect and reverence YoungstaCPT shared with the recently deceased Riky Rick is deeply woven into “Dear Rikhado.” As its title indicates, YoungstaCPT’s tone is conversational, an open letter to an unexpectedly departed friend. Having taken some time to consider his feelings and the circumstances of Rick’s passing, he’s considerate in his writing, offering the type of immediate clarity that comes in the aftermath of the first wave of tears and broodiness.

“You seemed larger than life but still as real as one of us,” YoungstaCPT recalls over a soulful, bare bones beat, establishing himself as a narrator without any conceit beyond memorialising. There’s the acknowledgement that Riky Rick had closer friends, there’s appreciation of his legacy, and there’s regrets about their relationship not deepening even further than the occasional meetings in Jo’burg and those phone calls on nights when Rick’s spirits were low. What truly distinguishes “Dear Rikhado” as a tribute piece, though, is the amount of grace YoungstaCPT extends, to Rick’s family, to himself and, most importantly, his deceased friends.

When he does bring up the alleged suicidal ending, he simply quips, “It is what it is,” with no sermonising and no overt need to understand, tacitly recognising the complexity of that decision, especially from a man who was explicit about his will to live. The consistent thoughtfulness YoungstaCPT has exhibited across his catalogue, especially on his cult classic album ‘3T’, is again apparent on “Dear Rikhado,” accepting the finality of death and eulogising the eternal mark Riky Rick left in his short time on earth.

Listen to “Dear Rikhado, Love Riyadh” here.