Rick Ross Deeper Than Rap(Def Jam) Buy it from Insound
Why do people like Rick Ross?
I mean, am I missing something? Granted, dude gave us Hustlin', one of the most concise and to-the-point songs about hustling that hip-hop (or any other genre) has ever seen. His character is one of rap's more well-defined, playing the part of mafioso drug boss with more gusto and consistency that any of his peers. Listening to his lazy rhymes and relaxed delivery, one actually gets a sense that Ross doesn't even need to rap. As if he had 100 dollar bills lining his king-sized bed and used 10s for toilet paper.
I understand his appeal in a general sense. The rags-to-riches, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” thing comes standard in mainstream rap, and Ross has that in spades. All of his songs are, in some way, nothing more than him boasting about how much shit he's got. But what sets Ross apart from Jim Jones or Bun B or any other rapper who's primary motivation is money?
The answer is: nothing. Deeper Than Rap, Ross's latest record, is noteworthy only for its mediocrity.
The album throws exactly two surprises, with the rest of it being standard, straightforward brag rap. Surprise number one is album opener Mafia Music, a four-minute stream of hook-less flow that establishes Ross's easy confidence. He compares himself to Kimbo Slice while “dodging debacles like potholes,” oozing all the misogynistic swagger that films and TV shows have trained us to expect from criminal masterminds.
Maybach Music 2 follows, hitting all the checkpoints for a radio hit (T-Pain? Kanye West? Lil' Wayne? Check, check and check). The production is top notch, hitting the same triumphant heights that T.I.'s What You Know achieved a few years back. Ross actually outshines the other two MCs, with West delivering a clunker verse and Wayne sounding bored and burnt out from all his guest spots. The real shock is how vital T-Pain is to the song, making it his second best song to date (I'm On a Boat being his best).
After these two tracks, the album quickly falls into a mire of repetitious cookie-cutter rap standards. Ross gets R&B singers to sing on the slower tracks while he raps about how good his is at sex. Elsewhere, there's talk of gun play and drug dealing. The album plays out with few surprised and a shocking lack of creativity. The record closes with In Cold Blood, a diss track aimed at 50 Cent. It's a shame that 50 is so focused on making himself a world-wide icon, as a hungry Curtis would tear Ross apart.
Deeper Than Rap is a single-minded record about making money off of drugs and nothing more. You could do a lot better than Rick Ross, but you could also do a lot worse. He is the epitome of average, the absolute median against which all other rappers can be measured. So that's something, I guess.5 May, 2009 - 11:04 — Nate Adams