Legendary: A Rio Da Yung OG Primer

Harold Bingo dives deep into the catalog of the Flint, Michigan rapper and comes out with a handful of jewels.
By    March 20, 2020

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Harold Bingo flips words like Vanna White.

One of my favorite aspects of the modern rap scene is that you can always find someone who is willing to burrow as far down your preferred rabbit hole as possible. Rio Da Yung OG is a prime example. He doesn’t care about hooks, melodies or anything that would allow him to cross over from the world of YouTube. It’s Michigan street rap with no aspirations of being anything else.

He’s a finger in the eye of the “every song sounds the same!” crowd and yet each song provides a new chance to discover an incredible punchline. If Detroit production styles work for you (yes, I know that Rio is from Flint) and you’re someone who loves to hear the joy of a rapper doing everything in their power to top their last verse, his music will work for you. It’s lyricism that shows instead of tells. Every song begs for repeat listens and he keeps me hanging on every word like few rappers can.

Now that the long awaited (by Rio standards) City on My Back mixtape is about to be released, it’s time to sift through the eight tapes and pile of loosies that he dropped last year to find some of the very best punchlines. 

1. “Legendary”

“no job, with jewelry on, hustling, looking flame as hell, might as well write on your forehead “I got cocaine for sale” 

I would be remiss not to include this one. It’s his most played video on YouTube and it sets the tone for his entire catalog. It’s a hail of punchlines that never seems to end and it demonstrates why Rio doesn’t need hooks. He can easily hold the listener’s attention without one.

2. “OMG”

“13 shots in his passenger door from out the Nina, the passenger got hit, now he Suge when he crashed the Beamer”

You might think that this line is noteworthy because of how audacious it is when it comes to the legacy of Tupac Shakur. In reality, it stands out from the others because he actually stops the song to apologize afterwards, something he’s not accustomed to doing. 

3. “Touchdown”

“I got on sandals cooking dope at my hoe’s house, you know this shit finna be good, I got my toes out.”

There are few rappers who can regularly make me laugh out loud without actively trying to be funny and Rio is one of them.

4. “Tennis”

“my uncle still sell dope but he legit, he a heart surgeon….someone called for a split, he left a heart open”

If another rapper has ever gone out of their way to reference an heart surgeon uncle who moonlights as a dealer mid surgery, I have yet to hear it. In a world full of rappers that seem to piece together their songs by slightly rewording other people’s, Rio’s originality is without peer.

5. “Crystal Clear”

“my n—a poured up with some Quali + I bitch slapped him, I’m still ’bout to drink this shit but I’m unhappy” 

Plenty of rappers talk about their preferred codeine manufacturers, Rio’s the only one who is settling for his least favorite after bitch slapping his own friends over it. 

6. “Gift of Gab”

“take a n—a money up front, book him for a show. but ain’t nobody show up to it, bitch, I’m Jelly Roll”

Janky Promoters is the lost Ice Cube/Mike Epps film, the only one that hasn’t seemed to find a dedicated cult after being deemed inadequate for wider theatrical release. Now that it is readily available on YouTube, its finally found its audience and rightfully so. Every Friday reference has already been taken anyways. 

7. “R3kless”

“Muzzle on the chop, that bitch sound like it’s pootin’ and shittin’, pull up to the courthouse with a Glock, they losin’ a witness, hit him 2 times in the head, he poo’ed in his britches” 

I haven’t laughed this hard at a silencer metaphor since Lloyd Banks said his makes the shots sound like Wheel of Fortune. 

8. “R3kless Too”

“pop you while you shopping in the mall, you 21 forever” 

Rio has a knack for the type of punchlines that make you laugh and then force you to seriously consider why you are going straight to hell for laughing. The word ‘demonic’ is thrown around entirely too much these days but Rio definitely qualifies. 

9. “Special”

“don’t be pulling up like that, bro, its a chicken here. I’m in this bitch cutting and mixing like an engineer, this dog a lil expensive cause I clipped the ears”

Rio Da Yung OG works in ‘dog’ metaphors the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It is his true medium, a master. 

10. “100 Bars”

“the dog got him jumping on the car, I call him Day Day…..you bought some dope, but bitch, I hit it first, I feel like Ray J. Catch a B, make a song then run, bitch, I feel like Tay-K” 

Refer to Special. 


11. “Shit Talkin Pt 2 “

“told my bitch when she see the doc, just walk in coughing, sell a thousand pills then go buy a chain from Ben Baller”

This was supposed to be a 10 song breakdown but Rio instructing his (presumed) girlfriend on how to finesse the doctor’s office for a codeine prescription is too funny to leave out. 

12. “Dog Action” 

“Hey……I just thought of something…..am I a trick because I fucked this bitch and bought her something?”

The same guy who casually mentions spending $5,000 on his CNA girlfriend’s scrubs on Legendary is now worried that he might be a trick. The dramatic pauses in Rio’s verses are some of the most exciting moments in rap at the moment (for me).

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