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Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't Album Cover

Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't

Reviewed by
7.5
Rick RossGod Forgives, I Don't
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Record Label: Maybach Music Group/Def Jam
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It's remarkable when you think about how Rick Ross' reputation and power has grown in the past four years. Once regarded as the biggest (no pun) punchline in the game, the Bawse now commands the attention of every hip hop artist and producer in the room. After dropping one of the hottest LP's in 2010 (his fourth album Teflon Don), Ross spent the next year and a half constructing his Maybach Music empire with artists like Wale, Meek Mill, and Stalley. He was set to release his fifth LP God Forgives, I Don't this past December, but was grounded by a seizure whilst on an airline. Fortunately, Ross recovered from the scare but was unable to do any promotion leading up to the release, therefore pushing back the album to sometime in 2012.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Ross however. The delay gave him time to refine the album, discard dud singles (“You The Boss” and “I Love My Bitches”), and focus in on the theme of God Forgives, I Don't. During the months leading up to the release, Ross explained the concept of the album as being something cinematic and epic. And it certainly lives up to that, as the album shows the grace and wrath of the Teflon Don. As the album's executive producer, Ross bought the finest beats money could buy, with the majority of them featuring luscious symphonies and laden with strings, keys, and the saxophone (the “it” instrument of the last 12 months). The stage is set as the intro track “Pray For Us” begins with a prayer and ends in bullets and Ross' classic “RUH!” It transitions nicely into “Pirates” (because Ross is just “trying to stay afloat), with Rozay casually saying “I guess it ain't no nice way to tell ya ****** it's game over, huh?” This is the first of many colossal beat"s on the album, as pianos collide into bombastic drum hits. On God Forgives, I Don't, Ross is both reflective and indulgent. When he perfectly balances the two, he gets stellar tracks like the simmering “Touch'N You” (this album's version of “Aston Martin Music,” only with a better beat) and the stunning one-two punch of “Maybach Music IV” and “Sixteen” (more on those later).

But when he misses, he ends up with songs that are the equivalent to blockbuster popcorn flicks. Take “3 Kings” for example. What's supposed to come across as something explosive ends up making a thud, as the verses from legends Dr. Dre and Jay-Z sound phoned in. Or check out the bloated “Diced Pineapples” - its intention is good but the Wale verses sound tacked on and ruin the flow of the song (Drake definitely delivers another killer hook, but it's too little to save the track from being pure filler). Another issue that arises on the album is how Ross sequences his tracks. The middle portion of the album is pure trap music (gotta feed the streets after all!). But while the three song aren't bad (“911” and “So Sophisticated” are absolute scorchers), putting them all in the row diminishes the overall impact of each one.

Ross' ultimate vision is for God Forgives, I Don't to come across as a cinematic masterpiece, citing legendary filmmakers like Scorsese and Tarantino as influences for the album. And while some tracks may feel more like Bay and Ratner, Ross more often than not hits his mark. And when he does - OH LORD - it is an experience. The fourth installment of “Maybach Music” is set to a beat that should be the soundtrack to an awesome 80s action montage, not a major hip hop joint. Add in a cameo for Def Jam head honcho L.A. Reid (who took time out from his busy X Factor schedule to tell us that “it's takes a boss to know a boss”), and this song should never work. But thanks to the world and lifestyle Ross has crafted and created throughout his discography, it works. The larger than life persona that Ross wields works to his advantage throughout the album (call it 'gangster noir,' if you will). The outro brilliantly segues into the album's pièce de résistance, the sultry “Sixteen,” which has Rozay and André 3000 discussing how sixteen bars just ain't enough when you have creativity and lifestyle that they possess. The song has a fine mixture of jazzy elements, including the sax (again) and a killer guitar solo (courtesy of André), but what sets it apart from the pack is 3 Stacks blessing the track with the kind of verse that defines careers. The cinematic highs of God Forgives, I Don't makes you forget about the handful of missteps, as features like André 3000 and Meek Mill (who absolutely murders “So Sophisticated”) nearly erase the commercialized verses from Dr. Dre and Jay-Z.

After years of criticizing and then applauding Rick Ross for his street fables, it only makes sense that the Bawse would finally approach an album with the mindset of a filmmaker. True stories or not, Ross takes the listener to a real place that most artists in his genre can't. He's at the very top of the game right now, along the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Drake. He's also seems very aware that his time in the spotlight won't last forever, so he's enjoying everything in the moment. After suffering two seizures in 2011, Rozay laughs in the face of death ("Get a blowjob/have a seizure on the Lear,” he boasts on “Maybach Music IV”) and envisions driving his fire red Porsche through the Pearly Gates (“911”). He opened Teflon Don by stating “if I die today/remember me like John Lennon/buried in Louis/I'm talkin' all brown linen” and closes out God Forgives with the message to “bury me a G/Ten Jesus pieces.” After years of building his rapport, Rick Ross has finally found that inner peace, knowing that he's already left a giant Reebok Classic-sized footprint on the hip-hop genre.

7.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 41
01:51 AM on 08/07/12
#2
Gregory Robson
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You knocked it out of the park once again. My hat's off to you.
02:34 AM on 08/07/12
#3
CastlesXClouds
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Hunh
05:37 AM on 08/07/12
#4
Dustin Harkins
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Great review. Love this album.
06:20 AM on 08/07/12
#5
jimmyeatsboys
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07:54 AM on 08/07/12
#6
desiguerilla
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Great and fair review. One thing thought I kind of disagree with and thats the concept that the three trap records in a row diminishing the impact of each one. He did that on Teflon Don (MC Hammer into BMF, both of which by the same producer and almost sounding alike) and I thought it was great. There are only 7 non-trap records on the Rich Forever mixtape, and the rest I do no think take away from the impact on each one. Also I liked Diced Pineapples but yeah Wale's talking about how he was "tryin to see how deep you are" for like a minute was lame.
09:00 AM on 08/07/12
#7
Drew Beringer
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Great and fair review. One thing thought I kind of disagree with and thats the concept that the three trap records in a row diminishing the impact of each one. He did that on Teflon Don (MC Hammer into BMF, both of which by the same producer and almost sounding alike) and I thought it was great. There are only 7 non-trap records on the Rich Forever mixtape, and the rest I do no think take away from the impact on each one. Also I liked Diced Pineapples but yeah Wale's talking about how he was "tryin to see how deep you are" for like a minute was lame.
haha, and I didn't like it that MC Hammer transitioned right into BMF. Just a personal peeve, that's it. I like all three tracks individually, I just wish they weren't all right in a row.
09:47 AM on 08/07/12
#8
Star Slight
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MC Hammer and BMF are the same fucking song


Also this album is great
09:52 AM on 08/07/12
#9
Drew Beringer
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MC Hammer and BMF are the same fucking song


Also this album is great

co-sign both statements.

now that I have more free reign and time on the site, expect more hip hop reviews. next up TWO CHAINNZZZ
10:08 AM on 08/07/12
Gregory Robson
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co-sign both statements.

now that I have more free reign and time on the site, expect more hip hop reviews. next up TWO CHAINNZZZ
More free reign? When were you held back?
10:10 AM on 08/07/12
Star Slight
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co-sign both statements.

now that I have more free reign and time on the site, expect more hip hop reviews. next up TWO CHAINNZZZ
Big Booty ho
10:12 AM on 08/07/12
Drew Beringer
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More free reign? When were you held back?

held back by the man aka my job. I have more free time within my job now so I can write more haha
10:17 AM on 08/07/12
Dustin Harkins
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1. Was it you that said you were gonna mention Kanye in every rap review or was it Thomas? Hahaha.

2. We all know Jay-Z dumbs down his verses for commercial appeal, but at this point, doesn't he have enough money to just go in on a track? Please? We need '96 Jay back at least ONCE.

3. RUH

4. I love "Maybach Music IV" so so so so so much but L.A. Reid makes me so mad now that I know he signed Ca$h Out and is the reason I can't avoid him. Fuckin jerk.
10:29 AM on 08/07/12
Drew Beringer
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1. Was it you that said you were gonna mention Kanye in every rap review or was it Thomas? Hahaha.

2. We all know Jay-Z dumbs down his verses for commercial appeal, but at this point, doesn't he have enough money to just go in on a track? Please? We need '96 Jay back at least ONCE.

3. RUH

4. I love "Maybach Music IV" so so so so so much but L.A. Reid makes me so mad now that I know he signed Ca$h Out and is the reason I can't avoid him. Fuckin jerk.

it was me haha I think, I dunno haha
10:46 AM on 08/07/12
Numero10
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