While Rick Ross has never been my go-to rapper to listen to on a daily basis, it’s hard to deny everything that he’s accomplished as an artist and as an entrepreneur. He’s released eight studio albums over the course of the 2000s and has founded the label, Maybach Music Group.
Just this past Friday, Ross released his ninth studio album, Rather You Than Me. You know when you watch a March Madness college basketball game and the lower seeded team is surprisingly beating the higher seeded team to start; then all of a sudden the higher seeded team ends up winning as expected. That’s how I felt with this Rick Ross project. When you think of Ross, you think of a guy who has overcome obstacles with more than a few bona-fide hits. Despite that, he’s not as appealing to hip hop fans because of his constant need to brag about how rich he is and ignoring haters.
Surprisingly, the intro to this album, “Apple of My Eye” was actually quite beautiful. Between the inspiring lyrics, hard bass and gorgeous saxophone, Ross opens up nicely on his ninth project. The insightful lyrics about our country persevering is capped off with the line, “I’m happy Donald Trump became president, because we gotta destroy before we elevate.” The incorporation of a choir and a clever hook by Raphael Saadiq tops off the successful start.
Ross’s exceptional production continues on his next two songs, “Santorini Greece” and “Idols Become Rivals,” where Rozay tries to squash beef with Birdman about the money issues at Cash Money Records. Instead of flat out destroying him though, Ross acts professional and says he prays that Birdman gives his artists what they deserve. The jazz-like production on both these tracks reminds me little bit of Kendrick. For once, he was discussing topics about the black community that he previously never touched on.
Then, all of a sudden, Rick Ross became Rick Ross once again.
The lazy choruses, awkward features and braggadocios lyrics started to take over the rest of the album. Let’s take Ross’s fourth song on the project “Trap Trap Trap” for example. The hook is just as uninspiring as you would think. The idea of Young Thug and Wale reviving this track is just as funny as Kodak Black saying he’s better than Tupac. The best features on this album are definitely from “Dead Presidents” where Future and Yo Gotti bring their style of auto-tune finesse, while Jeezy actually adds a decent hook. Ross still comes off a little annoying on this song with his continuing complaining about people hating on him.
The lackluster features continue with guys like Ty Dolla Sign and Nas not bringing their “A” game. Ty Dolla especially, who seems like he’s doing it just for the paycheck right from the beginning on the song, “I Think She Likes Me.” I don’t know what happened, but Ross discontinues the jazzy production with simple trap beats taking its place. It’s almost like he put effort into only the first three songs and just threw away the original game plan for something a lot less inventive. The rest of the songs are so forgettable and unoriginal that I couldn’t tell you one memorable lyric from any of the final tracks. All I can recall is, Meek Mill giving a cringe-worthy hook that made me want to stop listening to the rest of the album. I like Meek too, which is kind of a shame, especially since his last album was such fire. It’s also not a positive sign when the Maybach Music Group is giving some of its worst work to date on the president’s album.
With a hopeful beginning to the project, I thought maybe that Rick Ross was trying new things and becoming more innovative. Instead, Rather You Than Me became an album that everyone expected from Ross. Which, if your a college basketball fan, is not something you want to hear in the month of March.