Rick Ross - Deeper Than Rap

Posted April 21, 2009
Tags: Rick Ross,

There are a lot of qualities I appreciate it in a rapper. I appreciate originality, creativity...

Deeper Than Rap Album Review

There are a lot of qualities I appreciate it in a rapper. I appreciate originality, creativity and confidence. I appreciate style, substance and swagger. I also appreciate it when a man walks onto the BET Awards stage rocking a red tracksuit, an enormous stomach tattoo and one of the tightest beards in the game. And that, my friends, is why I appreciate Rick Ross.

(I can’t continue without quickly addressing Ross’ burgeoning beef with 50. Regardless of whether Ross ever was a major drug dealer, 50’s proven that Ricky once worked as a corrections officer for the police. Knowing this, you basically have two choices: believe Ross is a fraud, or don’t get caught up in “what’s real” and just enjoy good music. If you’re in the first camp just stop here and go leave a disparaging comment below, otherwise keep reading. I now return you to your regularly scheduled review).

It seems like only yesterday the portly rapper was taking us to the Port of Miami, but Rick Ross is now three albums deep into a major career. Ross exploded onto the scene showcasing his Hustlin’ abilities, re-upped with a higher quality product on Trilla and is now trying to take it Deeper Than Rap on his latest album. Deeper than Rap is an ironic title, if anything his raps have grown deeper than ever, but regardless of how you interpret the title, Deeper Than Rap puts Ross on pace to become one of the biggest bosses hip-hop has seen...thus far.

Rick Ross may have made his reputation cooking up white, but it didn’t take him long to figure out his best customers aren’t fiends, they’re ladies. You can’t be successful anymore without female support, a lesson Ross has learned well on Deeper, starting with the sparkling Magnificent. On Magnificent Ross drops his voice to low growl, like a rap version of Barry White. Add some lush production and a surprisingly pimpin” hook from John Legend and Magnificent is a magnificently successful single. Oddly, the two tracks that include people with ovaries, the disappointing Murder Mami featuring Foxy and the predictably obscene/kinda gross Face featuring Trina, are some of the album’s weakest, but with cuts like the shallow but enjoyable Lay Back, Deeper Than Rap’s sales will be more than well enough to buy Ross another diamond-encrusted portrait of himself to hang from his neck.

Ross was many things; a hustler, a boss and even a rapper, but he was never truly an MC. After all, this is a man that rhymed “22s” with “22s” for a solid minute on his first big single. If Deeper Than Rap is about anything, it’s about Ross’ noticeable effort to be respected as a MC. The album starts with the hookless Mafia Music, a track that finds Ross dropping four-straight minutes of straight wordplay (plus some verbal shots at 50). Ross is still far from Nas, he still tends to only rhyme the last word of his lines, but Mafia Music proves he’s nothin to play with on the mic. Speaking of Nasir, god’s son stops for a verse on Usual Suspects, which could have been one of Ross’ most creative tracks if it weren’t for a painfully played-out hook. Ross looks to further cement his elite status on Maybach Music II, the album’s requisite T-Pain track. Unlike the original Maybach Music where he got crushed by Hova, on Maybach’s sequel Ross holds his own next to some heavyweight rappers, though it helps that both Kanye and Wayne are a little off their games. The majority of Ross’ rap appeal is still more in his delivery than his lyrics, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but on Deeper Than Rap the man’s beginning to prove he can work a pen.

A more accurate title for the album may have been Deeper Than Drug Dealin. Make no mistake, Ross is still no stranger to powder (he does drop a track called Rich Off Cocaine), but Deeper Than Rap is the record of Ross slowly making the transition from kingpin to C.E.O., for the better. Is Deeper Than Rap a classic album? No, but it is dope and heavy with hip-hop wealth - in other words, an album only Rick Ross could have dropped. And that’s something I can appreciate.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

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Posted April 21, 2009
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