Album Review: Rick Ross – Black Market

rrrGrab your gold chains and pop another bottle of Rozay because Miami native and MMG ‘Boss’, Rick Ross, has just dropped his 8th studio album. Rumors are; gangsters everywhere have decided to retire due to shameful discomfort after listening to his 17-track album, filled with soaring kingpin anthems and luxurious tales about his rags to riches lifestyle.

2015 has been a hell-of-a year for our boy Rozay. If he isn’t in the club drinking the finest, then you could probably find him at the car dealership dropping an ice cold, 800 thousand dollars, on a new whip. Or maybe he will fly his personal jeweler in for the day and pick up some new chains to fit into his, already uncountable collection. Rozay refers to this as ‘play’ money, and this ‘play’ money comes courtesy of a very successful record label started by the boss himself. This record label is known as, Maybach Music Group, or for those of you who are regular Rick Ross listeners, you would recognize this as, “MMG Forever Baby!!!!” Oh, and did I mention that MMG is also called home by the likes of Wale, Meek Mill and French Montana. No wonder Rozay has all of this coin to throw around.

Some fans might have been surprised when it was announced that Rick Ross would be dropping another album. Considering he had just released a free mix tape, Black Dollar, only 3 months ago, most punters believed that it would be well into 2016 until we heard any new music from the self proclaimed baller. Nonetheless, they were intrigued into viewing the maturation of this hardened gangster poet.

The first track off the album ‘Free Enterprise’ kicks off with some classy piano chords accompanied by the usual profound, deep voice of Rozay. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that the same old Rick Ross is back for another album filled with gunshot sound effects and probably his most common lyric of all time, “HUH”. Although the same themes and stories as Rozay’s previous albums are found throughout the lyrics of this opener, it has a different vibe to it. There is no doubt that Rozay has always been confident, hence the nick name ‘Boss’, but in this track, his confidence seams to stem from an intellectual level rather than a materialistic, money hungry level. The track is topped off with the one and only, John Legend, singing soothing vocals as chimes ring out and the drums slowly fade.

The standout track off the album for me would have to be the Ben Billion produced track “Silk Road”. The track begins with a thunderstorm rolling into your ears from a distance. Light raindrops splattering onto the ground, calming ambient sounds panning around and then BANG, that first beat hits and instantly makes you feel like the ‘Boss’ himself. We are blessed with 4 minutes and 22 seconds of lyrics that are much deeper than the usual topics articulated in a Rozay song. Emotion floods Rick Ross’ lyrics as he shares stories of compassion, family issues and the struggles that he endures in his own mind. “Full metal jacket still the wardrobe, Never waste a prayer for peace in a warzone, Pray to keep the lights on your porch on, Even better pray I get to see my boy grow.”

Just as you begin to consider the fact that Rozay could potentially create some beautiful timeless art, you are quickly reminded that this is the ‘Boss’ we are talking about and those types of tracks that I mentioned above, come few and far between. As I started listening to “Black Opium”, I couldn’t help but laugh at the novelty of it. The track starts with a live recording of Rick Ross making the fans at one of his shows chant “HUH”. If this isn’t bad enough, it is followed by some tacky scratching on the decks courtesy of DJ Premier. Lack luster lyrics follow, as a mellow beat and bass slowly walk their way down a 3 minute and 55 second road. No wonder that song is hidden right in the middle of the 17-track album, you couldn’t be blamed for not even remembering it was there at all.

There is no doubting that as a record label owner and entrepreneur, Rick Ross is one of the best in the business. I know it sounds cliché but he truly did come from nothing and is now at the top of a business that not many can make it in. The lucky few that do make it, don’t find themselves there for very long. Rozay has managed to stay a float for almost 10 years and doesn’t see himself slipping anytime soon. His music on the other hand, isn’t much to be desired. Sure he is good for a couple of thug jams every now and then, but all in all, his music has dropped significantly since his huge early to mid career success.

MMG Forever Baby!!!

Rating: 5/10

Artist: Rick Ross
Album: Black Market
Label: Maybach Music Group / Universal Music Group
Genre: Rap
Released: December 4 2015

This review was written by Jake.

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