rick ross rather you than me

Rick Ross’ outrageous embellishments match tone perfect production on album number nine.

The most interesting piece of material from Rick Ross since Deeper Than Rap comes about nine minutes into his ninth album, Rather You Than Me. On “Idols Become Rivals”, he’s led in by Chris Rock spouting off platitudes as if this were Bigger & Blacker. “Just sit down in the corner & take notes bitch,” Rock hollers. Then a striking piano melody ripped from The X-Files kicks in and Ross begins ripping through sheets of paper, aiming a rather calm fury at Birdman.

“I used to see you niggas on my TV screen, and wonder what was life like? Was it all a dream?” It seems gracious even, a firm salute. Then Ross realizes Birdman wears fake watches and he begins to tear away at the Cash Money head line by line. There’s another Birdman swipe on “Scientology” when he states, “All my friends went to prison, nothing like Bryan Williams but when they came home, I kiss ’em” but the damage is already done. Ross is not fond of the Cash Money head and he’s making zero qualms about it.

“Idols Become Rivals” positions Ross in a rather weird position. Two years ago, in the midst of Drake vs. Meek Mill, he stayed Switzerland to it all. Here, he’s naming names, outright offended at how one label exec has put people he cares about in emotional distress. This isn’t Ross rapping about faceless haters who bend to his sheer will of existing. This is William Roberts, rap fan first; defender of Cash Money staples such as Turk, B.G. & Mannie Fresh; comrades such as DJ Khaled & Lil Wayne next.

Ross’ claims in regards to mafioso daydreams and big boasts have become a secondary feature on his albums now. His flow is still in pocket; his mind is so far gone from chasing Billboard hits that he’s tip-toeing back into the waters that gave birth to his 2010 dominance. “Trap Trap Trap” and “She On My Dick” feature Young Thug & Gucci Mane respectively. Both of them sandwiched between “Dead Presidents” with former foe Jeezy, Future & Yo Gotti evoke memories of Teflon Don when Lex Luger was behind the steering wheel. Outrageous, trunk rattling production with rat-ta-tat threats and engrossing capo thoughts. What gets people caught up in Ross is quite simple: if you love your rappers digging so deep into the recesses of their mind that they create a world to match their boisterous personality, Ross does it better than many.

Before Rather You Than Me kicks into full blown glossy vengeance flick, there are moments of brevity, if not astute observation and humor. The ankle monitor from Ross’ stint on house arrest over an assault at his Georgia estate? It comes up on “Trap Trap Trap” as more of a street level boast. “Powers That Be” finds Nas bringing up Hannibal crossing Carthage, references to Sean Penn’s coked out Kleinfield character in Carlito’s Way and somehow weaves it all together about kings getting money, typical Nas. Meek Mill, still a bit bruised but prideful shows up discussing fly prison attire and more for “Lamborghini Doors”. Even the long considered classic flip of The Stylistics’ “People Make The World Go Round” appears with a Ty Dolla $ign co-sign for “I Think She Like Me”.

Ross albums have essentially mutated since they started getting cranked out over a decade ago. Where they peaked in splashes of color and vibrance thanks to J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League with God Forgives, I Don’t & Mastermind, they’ve now started to find a middle. There are soundscapes and clashes befitting of Italian mob epics and bruising outputs best served for the let outs from Miami clubs and the heartland of Carol City. In the city of all this chaos, whether it be self-created by his own addiction to a rather vociferous approach to life stands Rick Ross. He’s still loud and cartoonish with his boasts, but I’ll be damned if they don’t feel like popcorn action flicks throughout.

Stream Rick Ross’s Rather You Than Me LP down below by way of Apple Music and grab it now off iTunes.