How do I know Rick Ross haters love these songs? Well I am one, and I do. A long time ago, before the likes of French Montana and Chief Keef (finally listened to "Don't Like" all the way through...
) public enemy number one in my book was Rick Ross. His slug-like flow and elementary, redundant lyrics really irked me, but over the past few years I have learned how to set my backpack down for a minute or two and enjoy some Ricky Rozay. I find nothing helps me eat more wings than a little musical help from Mr. Wing Stop himself.
I am not saying I have a Rick Ross poster above my bed (if it fell on me it might kill me) or have, um, any of his albums, but in the right mood and the right context, I can enjoy Rick Ross. For example, his latest single off his forthcoming album, the Jigga assisted "The Devil Is A lie" is actually a pretty cool song. The beat from KE On The Track is awesome, Ross actually has some nice lines, and Jay is the icing on the pound cake. "Devil Is A Lie" has definitely joined a few other exclusive cuts in the Rick Ross songs a hater can still love hall of fame; tucked it in right next to these cuts
"Devil In a New Dress"
If Paula Dean and Slipknot teamed up to make a Christmas album to sell at Wal-Mart and it was produced by Kanye there is a 86% chance I would not only buy it, but also enjoy it. Kanye's can make anyone sound like Tupac, which is why "Devil In A New Dress" is perhaps my favorite Ross-involved song. After that instrumental break in the middle, Ross' thunderous flow is the perfect energy booster and it just sounds so damn good over the clean, soulful beat. It is also proof that he can rap a little faster, which in my opinion, is when he is at his best.
We all know
- he always raps about fancy stuff no matter what he song is about - but here the luxurious, braggadocious bars fit well with the theme of the song and album. It is a match made in heaven so of course a Ross hater can dig it.
"Who Do We Think We Are
First, on a completely unrelated note, I would just like to say that Jean Knight's
is an absolute banger and I couldn't think of a better sample for the literally the biggest emcee in the game. The way John Legend was killing this song, I wouldn't have bat an eye if it was a solo cut, but the addition of Rozay is actually a nice touch. If Ross just rapped over soul beats I could really fuck with him, because his raspy, textured vocals sound so good over something a little softer and more melodic; an a opposites attract kind of thing. His lyrics aren't anything special, but really its all about the way his voice sounds. He has one of the more unique, distinct voices in the game and when used properly it can really be an effective tool.
Not every Rick Ross song I love is soul-sample reliant; case in point, this classic Banger. I get a completely different feeling when listening to this over one of the previous two, soul cuts. With those, I want to wear a robe, sit in a leather chair and sip scotch as I puff a Cuban cigar, but with "Hustlin" I want to cruise around the whip and fuck the system up (you know by knocking over peoples trash cans and hopping the curb). Ross flow is a nice change over something more melodic, but it also fits over a more heavy-handed, powerful beat too and that is what makes "Hustlin" so effective. It's not really what he's saying but how it sounds. I don't know what separates this banger from his other songs I hate, but damn it if this doesn't get me everytime.
I don't know what's going on with Ross voice here, but I love it. Maybe too much hot sauce on his doughnuts, or maybe he had a smart car stuck in his throat, but either way it's really cool. His standard boisterous flow simply wouldn't work for this beat, so it's nice to hear him actually change up his style to fit the vibe of the song. It's obvious that 3 Stacks is the engine of this song (and he fucking kills it) but Ross really is a good addition. It's like a good appetizer; he leaves you satisfied and keeps you occupied until the main course, and while he isn't the highlight, the meal wouldn't be the same without him. I am going to call bullshit on that turkey bacon line though...no way Ross eats turkey bacon.
The More I Get"
With the exception of "Hustlin" all of these songs have something in common; they all have a guest spot on them and some R&B-ish vibes. For someone who doesn't like Ricky I think having that other angle is crucial, but on "The More I Get" Ross stands on his own too. Sure Consequence is on there, but Ross ends up outshining him. His flow is more spry than normal and the Statik beat is much more simple than his usual production. It isn't just about his flow either, I was actually impressed at his lyrics, the look back to a young Ross is much more in-depth and conceptual than normal. Often, Ross' songs feel like they are some huge elaborate production, but this is a welcome change; short, sweet, to the point...I really dig it.
The more I listen, the more I kind of appreciate Ross. It feels weird to say, because I spent such a big part of my life hating everything about him, but I guess everyone deserves a second chance. To be clear, I am not saying Ross isn't a "good" rapper, but in the right situations, and often with some help, I have grown to kinda dig him. Still, I have to remind myself that for every good Rick Ross songs there are five I hate and that I am a backpacker at heart, but at least I am trying right? Just don't expect a Young Thug verison of this anytime soon.