Not much is known about the figure known as RMR – pronounced “rumor” – who never makes a public appearance without his embroidered ski mask. One thing is certain, however: the man can sing. His breakout single “Rascal”, with its impassioned vocal performance and “F— 12” refrain, combines hardcore hip-hop aesthetics with country balladry thanks to its interpolation of “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. Like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”, the juxtaposition of these two styles makes “Rascal” – along with its music video – primed for viral success.
Given his enigmatic persona and viral appeal, it would be easy to write off RMR as a gimmick. When I play “Rascal” for my friends, none of them take it seriously – but while there is a certain novelty in auto-crooning about drug dealing over a country instrumental, it’s clear the rapper has his sights set higher than one-hit wonder status. In June of 2020, he followed up the success of his viral hit with Drug Dealing is a Lost Art, an EP that saw features from Westside Gunn, Future, Lil Baby, and Young Thug. Tracks like “Welfare” and “Dealer” showcase RMR’s ability to glide over melodic trap instrumentals and prove that “Rascal” was no fluke.
So who is the man behind the mask? According to RMR, that isn’t important – the music is all that matters. As he told Entertainment Weekly: “At the end of the day, every artist is wearing a mask. Even a lot of individuals in their normal day are wearing a mask. I’m just a mirror for them.”
– DJ Mango