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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Life + Arts

Ross’ album personal best

Rick Ross may have come up with one of the best marketing schemes to promote his album.

Calling out 50 Cent was one of the smartest things a rapper trying to sell records could have done in his position. Despite it spawning one of the most embarrassing and outlandish dissing tirades in hip-hop history, Ross seems to have prevailed after releasing his third studio LP, Deeper Than Rap. After all, this is about creating hip-hop music, isn’t it?

And honestly, what better way to kick off with ‘Mafia Music,’ the song that started all of the drama? ‘Mafia Music’ is a fit description of the style of both the song and the album, encompassing the mafioso bravado that Ross has displayed throughout his career, exaggerated as it may be.’

Coming from the street success of the first ‘Maybach Music,’ which featured the always-illusive Jay-Z, Ross recorded the sequel, ‘Maybach Music Pt. II.’ This song is the ‘Swagga Like Us’ of 2009, as Ross enlists Kanye West, Lil Wayne and T-Pain on the song, in which case there isn’t much else to mention.’

Rick Ross has always had a sophisticated taste in production, evident on the handful of collaborations with The Runners and The Inkredibles.’

And no different than 2008’s album, Trilla, Ross teams up with producer team The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League on four songs, and not one disappoints.’

From the vibrant string arrangements on ‘Maybach Music Pt. II’ to the soulful jazz of ‘Rich Off Cocaine,’ there’s no surprise that they are Grammy winners.

As most hip-hop albums are, Deeper Than Rap is a collection of high profile guest spots. Nas doesn’t disappoint, delivering the finest 16 bars this album has to offer in ‘Usual Suspects.’ This song also helms the album’s most memorable hook, sung by newcomer Kevin Cossom.

Other notables include John Legend on ‘Magnificent’ and The-Dream on the lady-pleaser ‘All I Really Want,’ the album’s next single.’

The guest spots are not always a good thing, however, and are often times an indication of fillers.’

For one, Trina’s vulgar and obnoxious guest spot on ‘Face,’ and Foxy Brown’s cringe-inducing ‘Murda Miami’ are definite examples. Robin Thicke is also sure to annoy with his faux-falsetto on ‘Lay Back,’ an unoriginal and boring number everyone has heard before.’

One of the album’s defining moments is the one-two punch of the closers ‘Valley of Death’ and ‘In Cold Blood,’ both of which are some of Ross’ most introspective works to date. Ross touches on 50 Cent and other detractors and even addresses the highly publicized issue of being a correctional officer.

Where the album falls short and flat, it makes up for with production and some of Ross’ finest lyrical work to date. He’s managed to come above the obvious obstacles of the 50 Cent feud and the correctional officer ordeal among others.’

Despite the overly ambitious album title, Ross manages to deliver his personal best album to date.’

Rick Ross
Deeper Than Rap
Record Label: Def Jam/Maybach Music Group
Release Date: April 21
Verdict: Ross’ best album, but by no means a classic.

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