Jonathan McCollum (born August 16, 1980), better known by his stage name Rittz, is an American rapper from Gwinnett County, Georgia. He is currently signed to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label. His debut album The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant was released on April 30, 2013.
Early life and career
Born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Rittz was raised in a suburban household in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Rittz was born into a musical family, he, his twin sister and their brother had always been exposed to music. The fact that their parents were heavily into rock and roll ensured that the kids were always around instruments or in studios. The family moved from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania to the Atlanta outskirts when he was eight years old. During the earlier part of the millennium though, around 2003, Rittz’s career had hit a wall. His career had led to countless disappointments. “I won Battlegrounds on Hot 107.9, got retired and shit and felt like I was ’bout to make it. But, so many industry up and downs, with managers, contracts …”He was broke, feeling dejected, and living with friends- ready to resign from the rap game. It wasn’t until 2009 when he received a call from Yelawolf who was repping an area as under-the-radar as Gwinnett was. “I had some money behind me.” Rittz says, “Everything was going good and then everything fell out, at the same time, I’m getting older, thinking it’s time to hang it up. This isn’t gonna happen and that’s when Yelawolf put me on ‘Box Chevy.’Rittz stated in a 2013 interview with HipHopDX that he came up working various “nine to five” jobs including restaurants during his life. Rittz also went on to say that he commonly told people he was a rapper, even when he was not active.
2010-present: The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant
Rittz’s big breakthrough was on Yelawolf’s 2010 album track “Box Chevy”. Rittz has gone on to do many collaborations with Yelawolf since, and also toured in 2012 together on the Slumerican Tour. Rittz is also widely known for his 2011 mixtape “White Jesus”. In 2012 he took his favorite songs from White Jesus and added a few new songs and re-released it as White Jesus: Revival. Rittz signed with Strange Music in 2012. Rittz and Tech N9ne immediately started working together and released the popular collaboration remix of Rittz’s “Bloody Murdah” shortly after Rittz joined Strange Music. He released his solo debut, The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant on April 30, 2013