Rick Ross is a Southern rapper who found fame in 2006 with his debut album, Port of Miami. Since then his stock has skyrocketed, becoming one of the most easily recognizable names in modern day hip-hop. On January 6th he released the mixtape Rich Forever. It features tracks produced by a number of different producers, including Beat Billionaire, Lex Luger, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and D. Rich.
The cover of the album features a close up of Rick Ross’ face, complete with cigar and gold ring. His name is spelled “Rick Ro$$” and underneath that is the album title/statement “Rich Forever”. The powerful imagery was indicative of how the album was going to sound.
The first track on the album is a song titled “Holy Ghost,” a strong intro track featuring vocals by Diddy. Rick Ross doesn’t waste any time getting into things. His unique style of rapping blends well with the bass-thumping beats. This is a mixtape that is best appreciated with a “bassy” sound system. The low frequencies drive the lyrics and keep the energy of the album alive and bumping.
For better or for worse, most of the tracks flow the same way: songs driven by bass-thumping, southern-style beats. The lyrics ranged from mildly interesting to funny and/or exciting. The problem is that the discussion about money and drugs get a little repetitive. Even the slow track, “Mine Games,” features Ross rapping about money and wealth. The constricted variety of dialogue is expected to a degree; drugs and money are the topics of choice for this form of mainstream rappers. Maybe I’m just being obtuse. After all, the album is called Rich Forever. And Rick Ross is definitely making an effort to keep things interesting. However, a little variety would have been greatly appreciated.
If you consider what it is that Rick Ross is trying to do, the album works very well. Each track has its own degree of thug influence. There are strong contributions from a plethora of artists, including French Montana, Drake, Meek Mill, and John Legend. Nas even contributes a compelling verse on “Triple Beam Dreams.” These guest appearances help keep the tracks fresh.
Rick Ross has presented the people with an incredibly solid mixtape. If this is the music he is just giving away, I look forward to hearing what I’m going to be expected to pay for.