I never expected to one day be praising a man that legitimately stole another man’s identity for his realness, but here we are.
In the weeks leading up to the release of Rick Ross’ ninth studio album Rather You Than Me, rumors have been flying around about a record aimed at Cash Money co-founder Birdman, after Ross spoke to Billboard about a track called “Idols Become Rivals,” saying, “it’s basically me writing a letter to someone in the game that I looked up to damn near the most and I hate what things have come to.”
Today (March 16), those rumors were realized following the international release of the album, which includes the Chris Rock-featured track. In the song, Ross airs out Birdman’s bogus business practices for five straight minutes in one of the most compelling performances I’ve heard from Rozay in a number of years.
Here’s a sample of the absolute ether Ross hurls Birdman’s way:
Leased whips, bad blood, that shit'll sink ships / Fast money comin' slow, you better think quick / Rap game, so much fuck shit done / That's why this .45 in my Trukfit trunks / Fuck a skateboard, I went and got a Wraith, boy / Catholic record labels, niggas gettin' raped, boy / Birdman's a priest, moans in his synagogue / Publishin' is a sin, repent, forgive me, Lord / Shots fired, home invasion out on Palm Ave / Red beam detonators, who the bomb now? / Look you in your eyes, nigga, 'fore I say good night / And pray that Mannie Fresh'll get to see the light
While most "beef" these days come off as corny (21 Savage vs. Young 22 a.k.a. 22 Savage) or just plain pointless (Soulja Boy vs. everybody), it’s not often that we get a legitimate glimpse behind the curtains of the industry via a diss record.
“Idols Become Rivals” is more in the vein of J. Cole’s “False Prophets,” a heartfelt message coming from a place of pain and disappointment, a far cry from the reckless threats and vague sneak-disses that plague the majority of hip-hop’s rivalries.
Not only is this apparent from Ross’ own lyrics (“It's painful what you see real niggas do when they get the paper”), but Lil Wayne has since come out and publicly thanked Rozay for shining a light on the situation and motivating him to keep going.
Ross knows he's not without blame in the situation ("I watched this whole debacle so I'm part to blame"), and this is his attempt at doing what he can. After years of what seemed like a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship between he and Birdman, it's clear that the strains Birdman's personal and career choices have placed on their relationship are beyond a point of being reconciled behind closed doors.
This isn’t a reckless shot aimed at the head of a competitor, and it’s certainly not for radio spins. This is rap beef with a purpose, and I have to commend Rozay for bringing honor back to the diss record.
Photo Credit: Derick G