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16 January, 2011@8:36 am

On Christmas Eve, Rick Ross dropped his third official release of 2010, the Ashes To Ashes mixtape-album, which followed his critically acclaimed Teflon Don LP, and preceding Albert Anastasia EP. The collection is a bit of a mixed bag – a handful of tracks obviously not strong enough for his album tracklists, and a few tracks with samples too expensive to blow money fast on.

The album’s first pair of songs – both sounding like Lex Lugar beats – are very derivative of Rick’s “B.M.F.” and “M.C. Hammer”, as he takes the roles of Bo Diddly, Eightball & MJG, and John Doe, respectively. You either dig this kind of thing or you don’t, but at this point, it’s kind of run it’s course. The lackluster collaborations with Ludacris “Black Man’s Dream” and Birdman “10 Bricks” also do little to inspire.

Better though, are the tracks midway through the LP. Smokers anthem “Retrosuperfuture” finds Rick and Wiz Khalifa rocking the “Double Barrell” break just like the High & Mighty did for “Top Prospects” with Evidence and Defari. Also in familiar sample territory is Barry White’s classic “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe”, which fits Ross’ larger-than-life persona perfectly, despite being rocked by everyone from Eric B. & Rakim on. The smoothed out “Ashes To Ashes” again paints Ross as the overweight lover – a persona easier to buy than rapping drug kingpin. The same can be said for “Play Your Part”, a grade A collaboration with DA of Chester French, Wale, and Ross’ hot protege Meek Mill.

The best track here though is the bonus cut, “Another One”, with Diddy. It’s the first song from the duo’s forthcoming Bugatti Boyz collaborative EP. It’s a couch-standing, champagne-spraying, dick-hanging-out-the-pants anthem with a sinister track and infectious hook, sure to be a staple in the club this year.

At the end of the day, can we be mad at Ashes To Ashes? There’s enough quality here to keep at least half of it on your playlist. And let’s not forget, it was something that Rick threw out to the fans for the holidays, and we should never look a gift Ross in the mouth.

  Mixtape D.L.
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