Rick Ross is one of the more underrated artists to still have presence on the scene for the past decade, but people seem to throw that all out of the window because of his Correctional Officer history. Fair, but at the same time, aren’t people in Hip Hop constantly getting off with their false identities trying to get a quick buck for some street cred and a flashy lifestyle? It’s not an excuse to be full out supportive of that ambition, but it’s not like Rick Ross is the sole example of this practice. What he has provided since the days of Deeper Than Rap, Trilla & Teflon Don (not to mention some fire mixtapes and Self Made Vol 1.) has been quality luxury rap music. The type of music that you feel like would be part of the newest Scarface remake (which I don’t mind being remade, by the way). For beat selection, he’s always been consistent, and whereas lyrically he hasn’t ever (ever? Maybe ever) been considered in anyone’s Top 5 or 10 in terms of best rappers, he’s been consistent with his projects (for the most part), and that’s why I’ve always rocked with him. As stated prior, Teflon Don was where my fandom really grew (aside from the fact that it dropped on my birthday – July 20). God Forgives, I Don’t & Mastermind certainly weren’t albums that I was joyful over, and I don’t even think Hood Billionaire registered at all, but when Black Dollar & Black Market dropped, there was that resurgence of Ross that I rated very heavily, and I was glad that the music was awakening and vibrant like his older works. He has a solid formula that he didn’t need to deviate from, and although he dropped a shitload of work between 2012 and 2015, it still didn’t feel like he was saturating the market. MMG is an established brand (not a thoroughly successful one, depending how you gauge success) and Rick Ross is an entrepreneur that has multiple ventures to capitalize his ever growing net worth. The man is a hustler and will always remind us of that fact, which is why we will continuously get music from him – the gift that keeps on giving. So when I saw a video of Martha Stewart (she bakes or something like that; kind of famous) promoting his newest album, first off, I died of laughter, and secondly, I needed it in my life. There’s always a bit of excitement when he releases something, so I was hoping that it would provide some dope cuts to vibe and/or turn up to. There were bound to be some – that much I know.
I don’t understand how you can open up an album with a back-to-back beautiful combination of Apple of my Eye and Santorini Greece so eloquently and production just theatrical in its own right, but that’s what I’ve always admired about the beats as a whole when it comes to albums by Rozay (or Renzel?). There are always combinations of smooth & hard beats on his productions, so automatically I knew that there would at least be a fair balance. Idols Become Rivals is the standout track simply because of the audible receipts that were being pulled out so thoroughly and detailed highlighting Ross’ disappointment in Birdman. Shoutout to a J. Cole line being the influence of a song title though. “Yeah, long live the idols, may they never be your rivals” is the source of a song that Rick Ross felt the heaviest about, and you heard it in his delivery. It wasn’t like it was a rap, more like a speech with an underscore fueling it. It’s hilarious how as the revelation of facts surfaced that made me squint and just how fugazi Birdman may or may not carry himself, the amount of people who have come out of the woodwork in the past (Pusha T in particular) to call out just how shady he operated his business, everything really came full circle. It’s all about timing, and Ross certainly had time at this moment to address his grievances.
Another track that I think people may bypass for whatever reason, is Scientology, because that’s just a straight streamline of consciousness that gives game to those who want to get into the industry, but also is a stretch of thoughts that sees Ross as a matured man that exposes his true emotions at this victorious era in his life. Meek’s appearance on Lamborghini Doors was cool too, because I really couldn’t tell you the last time that I heard Meek on anything that wasn’t the 4/4 EPs (War Pain is still great). The thing about this album was that, yes there’s great production on the track, but in terms of filler, there’s a bunch of that where I wouldn’t care to listen to specific songs again in the grand scheme of the album. That has been a mark of the past few projects from Rozay, and this one isn’t all that different. Trap, Trap, Trap, She on My Dick, and Dead Presidents (it was cool the first couple times) are ones that come to mind the most, but those alone don’t take away from the overall feel of the album. Leaving those off would enhance the project for me, because it’s an introspective Rozay that we get here, and one that I personally care for more than other versions of him.
What is Rick Ross’ legacy? What will we remember him for bringing to the game that will warrant having his name in the discussions for the greats in Hip Hop? Will he be known as a key contributor, a consistent deliverer in product, or will his name just live on in pockets of fans that have devout love of Hip Hop? He can really go either way with Ross, but for this piece to add to his collection of work, there’s nothing on here that defines it as a gem, but in its own right, it may grow on to be just that, or just be a lost artifact that was appreciated in its moment. Take that how you will, but that’s what he’s given us. This is my opinion, this is my review,
That’s My Word & It STiXX