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.
1980–2009: Early life and career
Jonathan McCollum was born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, on August 16, 1980, and moved with his family to the suburbs of Gwinnett County, Georgia, when he was eight years old. His parents were intensely interested in rock and roll, ensuring that he and his siblings were exposed to musical instruments and recording studios from a young age.
Around 2003, after numerous disappointments, Rittz's musical career stalled. “I won Battlegrounds on Hot 107.9, got retired and shit and felt like I was ‘bout to make it. But, so a large number of industry up and downs, with managers, contracts…” He was broke, feeling dejected, living with friends, and ready to resign from the rap game. Notwithstanding in 2009 he was contacted by the rapper Yelawolf, and this led to financial support. “I had a few 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 that he had supported himself by working various "nine to five" jobs, such as in the restaurant industry. Rittz additionally went on to say that he would commonly tell people he was a rapper, even when he wasn't active.For twenty years, he wrote rhymes and ten years pursuing a career.
2010–13: White Jesus and The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant
Rittz's career breakthrough occurred with the release of Yelawolf's 2010 EP track "Box Chevy". Since then, he has frequently collaborated with Yelawolf, and the pair toured together on the 2012 Slumerican Tour. Rittz is additionally widely known for his 2011 mixtape White Jesus. In 2012 he took his favourite songs from White Jesus and added a few new songs and re-released it as White Jesus: Revival.
Rittz signed to Tech N9ne's Strange Music in 2012. Rittz and Tech N9ne immediately began working together, releasing the popular collaboration remix of Rittz's "Bloody Murdah" shortly after Rittz joined the label. He released his solo debut, The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant on April 30, 2013. On October 15, 2013, Rittz appeared with fellow rappers Wax, Rapsody, Emis Killa and Jon Connor in the first cypher at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards.
2014–present: Next to Nothing and Top of the Line
In April 2014, Rittz announced via Facebook that he would release his next album Next To Nothing on September 9, 2014. In August 2015, in an interview with NEHipHop, Rittz announced he would be releasing an album in spring of 2016, titled Top of the Line.