Give Rick Ross credit. For a rapper who does not have anywhere near the critical acclaim that musicians like Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West get or half the album sales that Drake has, Rick Ross has managed to not only stick around but somehow transcend any sort of criticism. He is basically the Fast and Furious of rappers.
Just as the Fast and Furious series will release its eighth movie next month, Rick Ross just released his ninth album (with a tenth on the way later this year). Furthermore, just as Fast and Furious made a comeback with Fast Five (arguably the best movie in the series) after the not-good-at-all Fast and Furious almost ended the series, Rick Ross made a comeback with his Black Dollar mix tape after the also not-good-at-all Hood Billionaire.
Along the way, they both find their own ways to become cultural phenomena: Fast and Furious with Vin Diesel’s talk about “family” and the emotional response to Paul Walker’s death, and Rick Ross with his talk of being a “bawse” and his love for pears. It is true that neither of them are particularly known for being necessarily good, adding to the mystery on why they are both still around.
Even their subject matter is similar! Both alternate between talking about family and loyalty and talking or showing the extreme luxury that comes with immense wealth. As the icing on the cake, Rick Ross is seemingly required to have at least two songs on each release named after a luxury car, whether it is a Maybach, Lamborghini, or Aston Martin. Unfortunately, neither of them will ever win any awards, though that will never stop them.
In the same week when Kendrick Lamar released a new song and Drake released a new “playlist,” it will be hard for Rick Ross to stand out, no way to sugar coat that. It is hard to even argue that Rick Ross’s album is more important in any way; Kendrick’s song is simply better and Drake’s playlist will outsell Rick Ross by quite a lot. But here we are, listening to Rick Ross, because his music is still enjoyable to listen and he is a funny guy.
Rather You Than Me is Rick Ross’s first album with his new label, Epic, which he says gives him more freedom to do the album he has always wanted to do. He also calls this his “most personal” album ever (not only has he said this with almost every album, but almost every artist says this about their albums). The effort is clear, though the album never reaches the heights of Teflon Don, by far the most complete and “personal” album Rick Ross has released.
One thing Rick Ross is amazing at is picking beats for his songs. ‘Lush’ is a great way to describe this album – the songs sound so grand. There are horns, synths, strings, it is all there for our enjoyment. There are also the trap songs, but Rick Ross does better with his bombastic songs that match his boastful rapping style. As usual, Rick Ross brings in his famous friends: Nas, Gucci Mane, Meek Mill, and Ty Dolla $ign make appearances. He also gives lesser known stars a spot, with DeJ Loaf appearing on the fifth entry in the Maybach Music series. Chris Rock oddly appears in two songs, going on a drunken tirade about, well, nothing really. It is really just him yelling.
The takeaway from this album is Rick Ross is a constant in the rap world. He has proven that he can still make a great album, all without the pressures of the upper tier of rappers. He will continue to make albums for basically forever, just like how “Fast and Furious 14” will be out in 2030. But give him credit, he is still standing.