Father Time. It is as inevitable as a Janet Jackson divorce. And as unavoidable as hearing Drake’s voice once a day. Every musician tries to push a little more sand out of that hourglass only to hit that crossroad in their career. That place where they can continue down the same repetitive path and risk falling on deaf ears. Hip Hop is a rat race. History has shown that the life span of a rapper is short as they fight to stay off that milk carton and still have an impact in today’s trending market. Eleven years in the game and Rick Ross had continued to put together quality work. He was on a steady climb towards greatness when he hit middle ground in 2014 after he dropped two albums, Mastermind and Hood Billionaire, in the same year. When his follow up, Black Market, failed to push momentum it began to feel like he was a week past his expiration date. Fearing a Weezy-type fall from grace, Rozay quietly hit the studio to work on his ninth album, Rather You Than Me, the result is his best work since 2012’s God Forgives, I Don’t.
Rather You Than Me, plays like a best-of album. Need a street anthem like “Elvis Priestley Blvd” or “B.M.F”, look no further than “Dead Presidents “ If you liked the bass thumping, hard-in-the-paint sound of “MC Hammer” and “911” then “Trap, Trap, Trap” will get you hyped. Feel the need for a reflective track ala “Tears of Joy” or “Sixteen” then “Summer Seventeen” and “Santorini Greece” should set the mood. Everything you want plus all the sounds that made Rick Ross a top 5 emcee are present throughout this album. The best stretch of the album has to be “Game Ain’t Based on Sympathy”, the standout “Scientology”, the Meek Mill-assisted “Lamborghini Doors” and “Triple Platinum”. Chris Rock comes through showing off his best Kevin Hart impression in the beginning of “Idols Become Rivals”. NaS comes through with the heat of an ice cream in a blizzard on the low effort, low reward track “Powers That Be”. Typically, the Maybach Music series is the highlight of his albums, but this time Ross is a little too somber for the solid, “Maybach Music V”.
After his last album, it started to look like Rick Ross was nearing the end. Like a playoff team whose window is closing or an athlete who hits the prime of their career, they must change parts of their game to stay playing at a high level of consistency. But eventually father time wins. Rick Ross has made tremendous strides with his lyrics and flow since first stepping in the game. However, his content is beginning to get that oversaturated feeling. Rather You Than Me manages to hold off the Hip Hop grim reaper for now. But time is creeping up. With his tenth album set to drop later this year, Rozay will try to stay ahead one album at a time.
4 out of 5 stars
Rick Ross Discography Ranking:
God Forgives, I Don’t
Rather You Than Me
Deeper Than Rap
Port of Miami