Release Date: March 17, 2017
Labels: Maybach Music / Epic
Genres: Gangsta Rap / Hardcore Hip Hop / Southern Hip Hop / Trap
So, I will be the first to admit that I have never been the biggest fan of Rick Ross for a lot of reasons, the main one being that I just never really cared for his music. It seemed more boastful than it probably should have been and didn’t really offer anything much up for me lyric-wise. That was why I was so hesitant to listen to and review this album because I had a feeling that I would not enjoy it. That seems to be the going trend for me nowadays: an album by an artist I don’t really listen to drops, I initially decide to not listen to or review it, I finally give in to peer pressure and listen to it, and my opinion changes, either somewhat or completely. This happens to be one of those albums.
The album for me started quite strong with the opening track “Apple of My Eye.” The jazzy instrumentation coupled with the soulful vocals by Raphael Saadiq really make this song one of the bright spots on the album. In the song, Ross goes into detail about his mom, Meek Mill and his relationship with Nicki Minaj, his battle with epilepsy, how he’s happy that Donald Trump became president because “we gotta destroy before we elevate,” the $5.8 million dollar house that he bought in 2014 which has the biggest residential pool in the United States (I’m not sure why that is in need of bragging, but I digress), and his relationship with his daughter. The final verse by Saadiq really brings the song together.
The instrumentation and production on the album’s next track “Santorini Greece” is very sonically pleasing to listen to, though I feel that it was a bit lengthy and could have been reduced by about a minute or so. The song sees Rick Ross chronicling his past and comparing it to his present and speaking on such topics like racism, drug-dealing, and the struggles of minorities in the United States. It was produced by Bink, who produced two other tracks on the album which I consider amongst my favorites on the album.
“Idols Become Rivals” is another strong track on the album, the beat being very trap-heavy. In the song, he goes into detail about his loss of respect for producer Birdman for his treatment of rapper Lil Wayne. Ross said later via Billboard that the song is “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.” It also has a somewhat humorous feature by Chris Rock who is basically hyping Rick Ross up at the beginning of the track.The next track, “Trap Trap Trap,” is another trap-influenced track featuring
The next track, “Trap Trap Trap,” is another trap-influenced track featuring Young Thug and Wale. It is another one of my favorites on the album. I honestly really enjoyed all of the verses on the track, Young Thug’s included. It seemed as though he was very comfortable on this track with that certain type of beat, which really makes you want to nod your head. “Dead Presidents,” while not an entirely bad song, could have been a great song if Future’s verse was either rewritten or replaced. The hook with Jeezy and Yo Gotti is very catchy.
I think it’s safe to say that the first five tracks were actually very strong to start off the album.
“She on My Dick:” No. Just no.
The next track “Think She Like” featuring Ty Dolla $ign is another soulful track and one that I enjoyed more than the last track. The only thing about the track that I did not like was that Ty was utilized for more than just the hook, but his vocals still bring the entire song together. And while I enjoyed the next track “Powers That Be,” mainly for the great verse by the legendary Nas, I wish that there was more of a chorus than “Uh, yeah / Uh, yeah / Uh, yeah.” Ross’s flow on the track is very professional.
Bink returns to produce the next two tracks on the album: “Game Ain’t Based on Sympathy” and “Scientology.” Like his first contribution on the album, “Santorini Greece,” “Game Ain’t Based on Sympathy” has this jazzy production supported by this saxophone heard sporadically throughout. While I do not consider this one of the best tracks on the album, I still commend it for the wonderful production. “Scientology,” however, I enjoyed immensely, both production- and lyrical content-wise. The instrumental interlude between the two verses on the track: WHOA. In the track, he continues with the Lil Wayne/Birdman drama and says that he has the money to sign Lil Wayne to Maybach Music.
The last four tracks really finish the album off on a high note. “Lamborghini Doors” is an overall enjoyable track with features by fellow labelmate and rapper Meek Mill and R&B artist Anthony Hamilton. “Triple Platinum” is perhaps a step up from “Lamborghini Doors,” however he does say “triple platinum” more times than I really would like to hear. In the song, Ross says that his albums deserve to achieve triple platinum status because of his material success and other accomplishments. The verse by Scrilla really put the song into a more personal perspective. “Maybach Music,” while probably not the best in that particular series of songs, is fairly decent and features a very enjoyable sing-rap verse by Dej Loaf. “Summer Seventeen” finishes off the album very strong where he promises his “family” will share in his wealth.
I was honestly surprised by this album. I liked it more than I thought I would have. With crisp production and more relatable lyrical content than many of his previous album, I might have become a fan of Rick Ross. I give this album a 79 / C+.
Favorites songs include: “Apple of My Eye,” “Scientology,” “Summer Seventeen,” “Scientology,” and “Trap Trap Trap.”
Least favorite songs include: “She on My Dick.”