Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t Review
1. “Pray for Us”
3. “3 Kings” feat. Dr. Dre and Jay-Z
5. “Maybach Music IV” feat. Ne-Yo
6. “Sixteen” feat. André 3000
8. “Hold Me Back”
10. “So Sophisticated” feat. Meek Mill
11. “Presidential” feat. Elijah Blake
12. “Ice Cold” feat. Omarion
13. “Touch’N You” feat. Usher
14. “Diced Pineapples” feat. Wale and Drake
15. “Ten Jesus Pieces” feat. Stalley
16. Triple Beam Dreams feat. Nas
17. Rich Forever feat. John Legend
Rick Ross first came on the scene of hip hop with the album Port of Miami in 2006 and quickly made a name for himself with his persona of drug pusher and all around big pimp. From then till now, he has stayed steady working, having at least one song a year that people can attach him to (and that’s being modest. His guest appearances keep him in the public eye and his mixtapes assure that people don’t forget his name. He is creating an empire with Maybach Music and shows no signs of slowing down. His career has been met with numerous downfalls such as proof of his correction officer stint, his feud with 50 Cent that, arguably, didn’t go his way, his legal troubles and most recently, the seizures that have affected his health – and yet, he still seems to come out of it all as the big poppa don that pushes weight all around hip hop.
His most recent efforts, God Forgives, I Don’t has a lot wrong with it, but that’s probably only because I had expectations going in, namely actual content aside from drug dealing and lady killing. Rick Ross has a definite formula to his music and does not deviate one bit during the entirety of his album. I would give Ross’s entire catalog as proof that you can, in fact, make over 30 songs talking about the same thing and be successful. The theme here is money, and getting it through various means. Whether it’s in “Pirates” or “Ashamed,” Ross is all about getting that money through selling a product, whether it’s drugs or music, and he has no shame in saying it over and over.
The production on the album is average, with only a few standout tracks, mostly nearing the end of the album. This is a shame considering you had names such as Cool & Dre, Pharell, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. Songs like “3 Kings,” “Amsterdam” and “Maybach Music” sounding each like something vital is missing, and with “Hold Me Back” and “911” sounding one element away from sounding the same (seriously, why were those songs back to back, it only made it all the more obvious), it’s a damned shame that there wasn’t more to be had in terms of production. This isn’t to say it’s all bad, as I truly enjoyed the production of “Ashamed” and I couldn’t help but bob my head to “So Sophisticated” and the violin assist on “Triple Beam Dreams” made me feel like I was listening to something epic.
The issues become glaring when Ross goes from Scarface to Dick Tracy in terms of the mob mentality. Taking every song as its own may make it seem like a nice trip into a film of Mafioso mentality, but then you get a track like “Hold Me Back” where not only does he not say anything of importance, but takes the art of repetition to a whole new level. There’s truly only one song that breaks the monotony of the album, and it’s a verse that Ross has nothing to do with, which I’ll get to later. Ross’s rapping is the epitome of simplistic and while it’s easy to see how enjoyable he can be as a guest appearance on any track, it’s obvious he just can’t make an album that has anything deeper than, “I sold drugs, now I sell albums.” Even during songs that seem like they want to be important, Ross drops the quality back to what he knows. Tracks such as “Ten Jesus Pieces,” “So Sophisticated,” and “Triple Beam Dreams” only stand due to their guest appearances.
Really, the only spot where Ross went the right direction on this album are the features. Typically, I’d lambast an artist for having 11 guests on a 17 track album, but in Ross’s case, it makes sense considering how lyrically dense his word bank seems to be. While Meek Mill and Nas were both serviceable, the standout track goes to Andre 3000 who, in one verse, made the entire album worthy of purchase. Seriously, just amazing. Truly, the only disappointing guests on the album were Dr. Dre and Jay-Z on the track, “3 Kings” and that’s probably because of the impossible expectations they had to meet going in. No, that may not be the case because even if one didn’t expect greatness from the three, this song still comes off as lazy and unmotivated. Another guest appearance which really seemed pointless was Ne-Yo on “Maybacj Music IV,” a song which one would assume would have much more power from it but only falls flat and wastes Ne-Yo’s talent. At least Usher gets a bit more than a 2-second crooning on “Touch’n You.” Wale does a nice spoken word opening and end verse on “Diced Pineapples,” but Rick Ross really messes up in adding to Drake’s ego by letting him sing.
All in all, this album is just a shade above mixtape, as the only thing that ups the quality is the bolstering guest roster. It’s a shame that I’d say the only reason to buy this album is because of the guests, but upon second listen, that’s really how it seems. Fans of Rick Ross should be happy because he breaks absolutely no new ground. The album isn’t the strongest, and won’t last longer than this year, but that’s not to say there are not bright spots. Please, purchase for the great Andre verse on “Sixteen,” stay for Wale, Nas, and Meek Mill, and go ahead and kick back to Usher and John Legend if you’re not a Rick Ross fan.
The 411: Don't listen to this album expecting anything new. Long time fans of Rick Ross may find this to be his best effort yet, and it has plenty going for it in terms of production and guest stars. That shouldn't necessarily be the case, however, and really pigeonholes Rick Ross into a one-note character as opposed to a hip hop notable. Even with that being said, he has locked down the formula that works. I see much financial success for the album, but from a critic's standpoint, this album just doesn't do it for me.
|Final Score: 6.0 [ Average ] legend|