31 July, 2012@12:57 pm
There was a period of time when Rick Ross seemed like a parody of the commercial rap scene. His larger than life persona was buzzworthy through songs like “Hustlin’”, but he was dismissed as another one-hit wonder. When the accusations of him being a former correctional officer came out, it seemed like a sure-fire credibility destroyer, and along with a highly publicized beef with 50 Cent, the idea of Ross over taking the G-Unit rapper in terms of popularity was far-fetched. Although here we are…
Like Teflon Don before it, on God Forgives, I Don’t, Ross has settled in to his own sound, which gorgeously illustrated throughout the album. While we’ve seen rappers try to glorify “the finer things” through their rhymes, musically (not lyrically), nobody has done it better than Ross. The tracks on this album have an ultra-chilled out, elevated sound, such as the Wilson Pickett sampled “Ashamed”, the luxurious “Maybach Music IV” with Ne-Yo, or the Pharrell-helmed “Presidental”. This does work against him on some of the softer R&B driven tracks like “Touch’n You” (feat. Usher) or the disappointing “Diced Pineapples” that lacks a rapped verse from Drake. But for every small misstep, there’s stronger cuts like “Amsterdam” to make up for it.
Ross reels in some eyebrow-raising collabos with “3 Kings” (feat. Dr. Dre and Jay-Z) and “Sixteen” (feat. Andre 3000) – both of which abandon the typical rap song structure. While these are the album’s “go-to” cuts, it’s the material that surrounds it that makes this such a solid release. Even the ignorant “Hold Me Back” is somewhat refreshing – as it finds Rick rhyming from the perspective of an angry poor person – making it more than just the another “B.M.F.” clone. Thankfully he does not rely too heavily on the Lex Lugar sound, instead opting for a more mature approach for much of the hour’s listen. As a bonus, the deluxe version gets rounded out with the two best cuts from his Rich Forever mixtape – it’s title track, featuring John Legend, and “Triple Beam Dreams” with Nas.
Ross is easily this generation’s rapper you love to hate, but on his fourth album, it seems he’s finally found his groove. His lyrics are sharper, his track selection is greater, and his guest list is A-list. Some may never be able to get past his shrouded past as a corrections officer. But authenticity contests aside, it’s pure and simple entertainment. Like any great actor, Rick ross dives into the role and plays it to the hilt.
Leave a Reply
- Raekwon Sets A Release Date For “F.I.L.A.” Album
- BUSH: A Snoop Odyssey Produced By Pharrell Williams [Preview]
- Drake – “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” Surprise Album on iTunes Now
- Action Bronson “Mr. Wonderful” Cover Art and Tracklist
- Juicy J “Blue Dream & Lean 2″ Mixtape Cover Art & Release Date Revealed
- MF Grimm “MF Love Songs” Cover Art + Tracklist
- Lord Hakim – “Brass Knucklez” (feat. Vast Aire & Phizz Ed)
- IAMSU! – “Hella Good” (feat. Tyga)
- DJ Kay Slay – “I Declare War” (feat. Styles P, Sheek Louch, Vado, Raekwon, & Rell)
- Maverick Sabre – “We Don’t Wanna Be” (feat. Joey Bada$$)
- Cannibal Ox – “Blade: Art of Ox” (feat. Artifacts & U-God; prod. Black Milk)
- Asher Roth – “Blow Your Head” (prod. Nottz)