Release Date: Mar 17, 2017
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
For whatever reason, Rick Ross's guest features on top 40 radio jams are far from perfect, with Ross often using a canned sort of repertoire to brag about his wealth and women. But when it comes down to it, Ross has made some excellent full-length albums, like Port of Miami and Teflon Don. The puzzling thing is that Ross's subject matter hardly deviates here, but in the album format he just seems to know exactly what it takes to put a cohesive record together.
Y ou'd be forgiven for thinking that, his best days behind him, chubby, coke-obsessed plastic gangster Ross was finally lost in a celebrity netherworld - flirting with septuagenarian millionaire Martha Stewart (who's had more jail time than he has) on TV and Twitter; summoning Chris Rock for pointless, prehistoric skits. Instead, here Rozay sounds like the rap boss he's always claimed to be. Ferociously articulate, he outshines every feature, even Nas and Future.
Nothing if not consistent, with Rather You Than Me Rick Ross shows little artistic growth while making a convincing argument for why he's come to be ranked within today's elite. While most of Hip Hop's leading figures have fused fantasy and reality for the past two decades, few have outperformed expectations and escaped falling off like one Rick Ross. Able to boast surviving 50 Cent's once lethal mockery amongst his laundry list of accomplishments, his extensive string of releases showcase him as a womanizing, codeine-addled brute with pure intentions despite the criminal ties that exist outside of leading his Maybach Music Group regime.
On Rather You Than Me , the ninth Rick Ross album in just over a decade, the Miami rapper calls himself "so divisive," but that isn't true anymore. At some point--probably around 2010's Teflon Don --Ross became a strange point of consensus. He shrugged off the 50 Cent-led character assassinations; he came out looking like the lone success story from Jay Z's reign as Def Jam president.
A change of labels and an almost entirely different set of producers aside, Rather You Than Me is business as usual for Rick Ross. Armed with a streak of eight Top Ten full-lengths, the rapper moves from Def Jam to Epic for album number nine, backed by a mix of old and new beatmaking associates -- and more featured guests than tracks -- with only a handful of Black Market holdovers on one cut each. Just after the release of Black Market, Ross broke a lengthy crossover-hit dry spell with "Purple Lamborghini," his and Skrillex's unlikely if predictably blaring soundclash for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, but this largely picks up where Ross' full-length discography left off.
Nearly three years ago, Rick Ross appeared to be in need of a reinvention, having released the underwhelming tandem of Mastermind and Hood Billionaire eight months apart. Brighter moments for Ross on the pair of LPs came when he humbled himself and looked inward, abandoning the big-bodied Benzes and glitzy production on which he'd built his boss status. It was a side of himself he showed on 2015's Black Market and now explores even more on self-proclaimed magnum opus Rather You Than Me.
Rick Ross' ninth album finds the Miami kingpin in a reflective mood. Musically, he's drifting through a mid-career malaise. The beats he uses are the same worn poles of yacht-rap luxury and trap bangers that he's relied on since his 2010 watermark Teflon Don. Lyrically, he's still capable of speaking truth to power with remarkable clarity.
Being respected, revered and admired as an MC is what often elevates a rap artist from being one who merely strings together words that rhyme into a bonafide lyricist of the highest order. However, while there are a slew of spitters and scribes that have come along, the elite few who have found themselves mentioned in conversations and debates about the greatest rappers of all-time have one thing in common: a track record of consistently delivering albums that make the most of their lyrical abilities and serve as a piece of themselves. When speaking of today’s pack of hood orators, Rick Ross is one that has slowly ascended into a class of his own, continuously strengthening his resume and his position in the annals of hip-hop.
"I'm happy Donald Trump became the President Because we gotta DESTROY before we elevate Real s--t! Look at me inside the White House with a pocket full of weed inside the White House Dead Presidents tattooed on a nigga chest U.S. Treasury addressin me, mad at my address" I would have to guess he means his INAUGURAL address after being sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Either way that's one hell of a fantasy for William Leonard Roberts II, better known as Rick Ross, and if there's one thing I've consistently enjoyed about Rozay over the year it's that he's a big dreamer.