Created in the thirteenth century in which today is the Czech Republic, the Codex Gigas is the largest existing medieval manuscript in the world. In fact, its large proportions give the codex its name: “Codex Gigas” means “Giant Book”. A handwritten manuscript written on 624 pages of vellum, it measures about three feet by three feet when open, and weighs about 165 pounds. It contains a copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible, texts of Jewish history, medical texts, a liturgical calendar, and incantations against demonic forces. Legend has it that it’s writer, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for writing the book in only one day. The most famous illustration in the book is a large portrait of the devil, pictured as a clawed, horned, double-tongued fiend in a menacing crouch. Because of this portrait, the Codex Gigas also goes by the nickname of “the Devil’s Bible”.
All of which brings us to the 15 track album, “Codex Gigas”, by Rico Christ, an up and coming artist out of Cleveland Ohio. After battling legal troubles in 2016, and then being released from jail, Rico began recording and making his own music, leading up to “Codex Gigas”, which can be described as his own personal masterwork. It is Rico Christ’s unfiltered book of street tales – a modern-day manuscript, describing his world, experiences and aspirations.
In this chaotic and ever-evolving arena known as the rap and hip-hop game, Rico Christ is etching out his own distinct realm. Rico, who brings varying levels of emotional resonance to his writing, can manipulate his voice from laidback to flipped-out settings, spitting on booming beats that sound just a few degrees short of blasting out your speakers. He sets the tone of the album right out of the blocks with “MustyxChrist” (ft. MustyDurag).
In this explicit tale, Rico immediately showcases a voice capable of conveying the full gamut of sentiments, before sliding into the thumping “Blue Perc” and “Guerillas” (ft. Mr. Write). Rico Christ’s voice is clean and forceful, carrying the kind of power once deployed by a young Chief Keef.
Moving through “Cuban Missile Crisis”, “Get It In” and “Touched Up” (feat. Mr. Write), Rico displays the dexterity of his performance, the veracity of his pen, and the force of his wordplay.
The album is at once personal and universal, splicing through lines of individual identity and pride, on tracks like “Treehouse”, “Scammin” (ft. Mr. Write), and “Chillin’ in Da New Crib Freestyle”.
Part of what makes Rico Christ so great is that he blends enough diverse references into his songs that you’ll never be able to predict what he’s going to say in a verse. His flows are tight and there are plenty of memorable lines on this album. In both, “On God” and “Wavy Rambo”, Rico switches the template to deeper introspection.
Listeners who aren’t just looking for beats will really appreciate the lyrical and storytelling side of Rico Christ, a rapper who clearly pays attention to the world around him.
His raps can be blunt or sharp-edged, as “Secret Sauce Formula” (ft. Mr. Write) and “Faded”, continue to exult all the elements in Rico’s craft. The production is as varied and expansive as ever, challenging Rico to continuously prove himself bar after bar, song after song.
“Rambo” is slow, dark and menacing, before Rico Christ slides into some twisted pussy talk on “Kickin’ in Da Door”. Overall this project, with 15 carefully crafted tracks, establishes Rico Christ’s incorruptible talents as a multifaceted up-and-coming emcee. He flaunts a myriad of flows over intriguing and resonating beats. This alone, already sets him apart from his contemporaries.