Monday, April 20, 2009
Rick Ross - "Deeper Than Rap" Album Review
Perception. is. reality.
Rick. Ross. is. a. fraud.
"Deeper Than Rap". is. almost. perfect.
When he rolled up on the national scene in his white Maybach and monster single "Hustlin'" back in 2006, we all knew Rick Ross wasn't being 100% with us. Especially with him bragging about how fabled drug lord Noriega owed him several favors. Right. Still, "Hustlin'" banged, and which of our rap stars was really keeping it 100% with us anyway? That rumor about him being a former Correctional Officer didn't help Ross' image any, especially since he vehemently denied being involved in any types of law enforcement type activity, before AND after the picture of William Roberts (Ross' real name) in full C.O. regalia surfaced on the internets, clearly showing us all what type of kingpin the "Bawss" really was before rap. Why didn't this nigga just tell the truth?
The past couple of months with him being savagely destroyed by Curtis Jackson didn't help any either. Still, the buzz was that Ross's latest album, "Deeper Than Rap" which drops today was extraordinarily good. So good even that no matter how badly dude was getting sonned before our eyes, this album might could be the one that would salvage the dead brand that is Rick Ross, similar in manner to how the Nas machine was resurrected after he dropped "Ether".
"Deeper Than Rap" is almost that good. With 14 songs clocking in at just under an hour, the only throwaway track is the God awful "All I Really Want (Feat. The-Dream)". The Dream is so overrated and overexposed and it clearly shows on this track, almost so that I wish T-Pain, his Autotune and Akon were on it instead. T-Pain would have murdered it. If you cop this, please do yourself a favor and always skip this one. "Deeper Than Rap" is a lushly produced album filled with melodies that are reminiscent of that beautiful 1970's cocaine soundtrack music, milky piano keys, warm soulful hooks and rain like strings pervading almost every track, every corner on the album. As a whole, this comes as close as possible to being the most perfect grown and sexy rap album ever produced. This is the album Jay-Z should have dropped when he did "American Gangster". The subject matter is basically that same Rick Ross material, you know, the one dimensional songs about kingpins, chicks, cars and one murderous 1990's New York sounding diss track "In Cold Blood" aimed at you know who. Rick's flows are tighter this go round and even complement the stellar production which takes center stage leaving Rick to play the background. Guest artists Kanye West, T-Pain and Lil Wayne ("Maybach Music 2"), Nas ("Usual Suspects"), and John Legend ("Magnificent") help in making Ross sound a tad bit more credible. But not that much and not really. Foxy Brown drops a cameo on "Murda Mami" and as much as I'm a fan of her old work, there's something that's not sounding right about her performance. Trina, however, and whom I've never really felt before, kills it with Ross on the banger that is "Face", a bouncy Southern joint about ... face, that will be banging out of every candy painted whip and strip club in the US. Flex will most def be dropping a bomb to that. Because the production throughout is that dope, Rick playing the background is a very good thing. Producers J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, The Inkredibles, The Runners, DJ Toop and all others truly went in.
And ultimately the problem that cannot be fixed on this album is Rick Ross himself. Not his performance though, he shocks the eff outta me on this. The elephant in the room is Rick Ross. Other than MC Shan and Ja Rule, I don't think there's ever been a rapper who's come out from beef as banged up and damaged as Ross' image. His being a fraud cubed kills every mental picture I have of him, especially since what I perceive him to be is so far from the amazing shit that's presented on the cd. This has to be one of the MOST historic moments in rap history, where a rapper with the most eff'd up image ever drops their most incredible album to a non-believing audience. Almost like Chingy dropping a masterpiece on "Illmatic" level next week. There is nothing known to man that can restore the mess that is Rick Ross. Not this album, nothing. This is a major win AND major PU~ for Ross.
For what it's worth, this is a damn near classic album, the kind that I will be bumping in the crib when I have friends over, only I won't be letting them know it's Ross that I'm playing. It's that good and his cred is that bad.
"Deeper Than Rap" gets 4 Combat Jack salutes out of 5.