Release Date: Jul 20, 2010
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Gangsta Rap, Southern Rap
Losing none of the momentum put in motion by his 2009 effort, Deeper Than Rap, Rick Ross keeps a very good thing going on Teflon Don, arguably his best album to date. You want rap-style luxury? Then Deeper is the better fit, but Teflon plays up the chilled and soulful elements of its predecessor, meaning Ross has graduated to a level where words like “organic” and “poignant” come into play. The former is best represented by “Mayback Music III” and it’s swirling, ‘70s-flavored dreamscape created by the J.U.S.T.I.C.E.
If you came up as a rap fan in the 1990s, it's hard to come to grips with the fact that the Illmatic/Doggystyle/Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) ideal has become outmoded. Rappers rarely start with a fully-formed classic right off the bat. And sometimes, a guy who was underrated, underappreciated, or even considered a joke earlier in their career actually generates so much momentum that they eventually become undeniable.
Rick Ross is a competent rapper, but lyrics are by far the least important part of his appeal. ?That’s truer than ever on his fourth and best album, Teflon Don. Ross’ ear for lush, expansive beats has become keener and his industry Rolodex deeper, ?allowing him to make every track but the intro feel like an epic, costarring major talents like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, and Drake.
The best part of Rick Ross’ career to date might be the humorous calender inspired by his 2006 breakout hit, “Hustlin” (can you guess which activity is scheduled every day?), so my expectations for his fourth full-length, Teflon Don, were low — in spite of the fact that he has managed to acquit himself nicely on a few excellent summer jams, most notably the remix of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win. ” Imagine my surprise to discover that Teflon Don is not only not atrocious, but it may also actually be one of the better rap albums of 2010. Admittedly, the bar is set low, as mainstream rappers have generated some outstanding singles but few listenable full-lengths in the new millennium.
It wasn’t easy for Ross to make it even to where he is now. Sounding somewhat like a cigar-smoking Kermit, his flow is more chunky than smooth and his topical content doesn’t extend much beyond that same ole-money rap variety. There’s also the whole thing about being a correctional officer, which doesn’t really help when your telling stories about being in the crack game.
Miami heavyweight Rick Ross is obsessed with gangsterism, clearly. He named himself after drug peddler Ricky Ross and created an image of himself as a Tony Montana-like thug. This album, whose title references New York Mob kingpin John Gotti's nickname, goes even further, bigging up Larry Hoover and Big Meech among other despicable characters. [rssbreak] Sounds like a good time, doesn't it? It usually is, since the former corrections officer is like an exaggerated cartoon version of a real gangster.
Rappers with a pronounced regional stamp often end up trapped beneath the weight of that label, their growth impinged by its limits and rules. Think of someone like Ice Cube, whose spot-on embodiment of L.A. gangsta-rap tropes made him momentarily fearsome but ultimately ridiculous, decommissioned into a scowling kid’s movie foil. Meanwhile, a more versatile artist like Snoop Dogg, who started with the same profile, was able to squeeze out into progressively transforming incarnations, leaving him still viable nearly 20 years later.
RICK ROSS “Teflon Don”. (Maybach Music/Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam).