Rick Ross - Rich Forever
Record Label: Maybach Music Group
Release Date: January 6th, 2012
I like to think I’m a pretty simple person. I dress plainly, for both personal and financial reasons. I’m still driving the hand-me-down Chevy my folks gave me years ago. I have never fallen asleep amidst satin sheets or sped down the highway in a new Bugatti. And as much as I’ve dreamed of stepping out my door wearing an all black tuxedo and lavender dress shoes, it’s a ridiculous pipe dream.
So all of this begs the question: why do I find so much enjoyment every time I listen to Rick Ross? I can hardly relate to his proverbs of world-touring and money-spending. While it’s easy, if not highly out of touch, to decry artists like Rozay and Jay-Z for only talking about their wealth and little else, Ross’ lyrics carry something else, something hopeful with their impassioned descriptions of expensive mansions and sports cars. But that’s the beauty of Rick Ross. Even the most tragic points in his discography can make you feel like you just won the lottery. There’s this odd feeling of escapism that makes each of his projects poignantly entertaining, and compelling in a way that’s definitely easy to miss when solely focused on the slightly generic production and wordplay.
His latest release, Rich Forever, is a mixtape comprised of entirely new tracks that serves as a great apology and/or lead up to his delayed album God Forgive, I Don’t. It contains all the perfect set pieces that usually make up a classic Ross release: an over-abundance of bangers and beat drops, with some insane features to even it all out. While I feel Ross is a strong lyricist no matter the situation, there’s definitely something to be said about tracks he tackles with other artists. Whether he’s picking up the slack left by Bugatti Boyz partner Diddy or letting the song ride on the competent vocals of artists like John Legend and Kelly Rowland, he develops this uncanny synergy with each and every artist that's become hard to match in recent years.
All in all, Rich Forever is a typical Rick Ross release. “Fuck Em” is an arrogant derision to his competition, with a bit of slightly forced contemporary lyricism and an overflow of emotion. The title track “Rich Forever” is a dramatic portrayal of wealth that’s more endearing than aggressive thanks to the John Legend vocals mentioned earlier. And even the bizarre “Yella Diamonds” and “Straight off the Boat,” which deal with his oft-ridiculed “history” of drug dealing, are catchy and entertaining despite the over-produced beats that support them.
But like I said, Rich Forever is still a typical Rick Ross release. The bad unfortunately comes right along with the good, and it’s hard to ignore after repeated listens. There’s little sign of progress, both from Ross and the producers he chooses to back up his lyrics, and most tracks tend to blend together into a litany of high-pitched melodies and unoriginal beats. “New Bugatti” is the most atrocious offender, but far from the sole problem. Diddy is an uninspired mess whenever he’s handed the reins, and it’s all Ross can do to barely even things out throughout this track and the intro “Holy Ghost.”
Really though, what else should I expect? Ross, though a strong artist and one of my favorites in the game right now, shows no sign of breaking from the comfortable mold he’s built for himself. Rich Forever is a great collection of tracks that showcase just how capable Ross is, no matter the setting, while also discouraging those that hoped he would show at least some sign of exploration and invention. His music is the definition of excess, with a high amount of production to match the luxuriance of his lifestyle. But at its core, Rich Forever is a party. Sure, it’s one I’ll sure as hell never be invited to, but sometimes peering through the windows, blissfully unaware of how pointless and sad it is, can be just as fun. And who knows, maybe one day I too will know the beauty of a Tod loafer. It could happen.
I admit theres a charm to Rozay's faux persona. It's hard to point to him as one of the best right now, but if all else he's consistent and demands attention on collaboration tracks. His MMG clique is pretty weak though apart from him.