Chad Rico Releases ’12 Weeks of Summer’

Bryan “Dexter” Holland of the Offspring has his PhD and wrote his dissertation about molecular biology at USC. Along with Brian May (Queen) and Greg Graffin (Bad Religion), Holland is a certified scientist. We’ve become a little used to learning about our rock and rollers and their scientific sidelines. It’s far more uncommon to find rappers with mastery of the various stem courses, though. Rapper Chad Rico, however, is an exception to this general rule.

Sometimes called ‘the rapping math professor,’ Rico has released an EP titled 12 Weeks of Summer. Each of the songs for this project will be released weekly. “The Legend In The Coupe” came out on June 14, “Pure Highbury” on June 21, “Charge It to the Game” on June 28 and lastly, “Don’t Trust You,” July 15.

Rico received his Master’s in Mathematics from San Francisco State University and applied this education to teaching math at Contra Costa College, City College San Francisco, Berkeley City College and College of Alameda. He also loves creating music, however.

“Legend In The Coup” is a stripped-down piece, which also features Kam Krzy, Rico’s labelmate on Gold & Gems Records. Built upon a thumping percussion groove, it sounds far more street than your typical professor usually does. “Pure Highbury” is a slower, quieter track. It combines sung portions matched to spoken lines. This one is the sweetest (if that word can even be used to describe Rico’s music) track of the bunch. The rhythm has a finger-snapped pattern, which drives an echo-y keyboard mood enhancer. The song’s words describe a woman that speaks three different languages. With that sort of education, this woman sounds like a dream girl for Rico. He can talk to her about his love for math, and she can show off her linguistic skills. “Charge It To The Game” is an angry rap that mentions how Rico just returning from Belize, which is where he is originally from, and also references OJ Simpson, of all people. “Don’t Trust You” alternates between natural vocals, and affected ones. The song is all about distrust, which is one of the absolute worst feelings. We can hear this disgust in Rico’s voice.

It all adds up to a strong, but sparse, collection of songs. No, Rico never raps in a voice like The Count, that Dracula-like figure on Sesame Street that loves to count. We imagine Rico loves numbers, too; he just doesn’t want to rap about that numeric love. Instead, Chad Rico is out to prove that he’s so much more than just a math geek. He probably knows well how math skills will never earn him any street cred. With that said, though, what he may lack in street cred, he more than makes up for with educational credibility. Former drug dealer and ex-con rappers are a dime a dozen. But guys that can flash degrees the way others might flash expensive jewelry? Now that’s something special!

It should also be mentioned that much of this music has a summertime feel to it. Yes, there are instances where Rico sounds hard; but for the most part, these are laidback, let-the-music-float-right- over-you-kinds of grooves. Besides, summer break is supposed to be time away from school and all its serious studying. Heck, even teachers deserve a little time off, right?

-Dan MacIntosh