Release Date: 17 March 2017
Label: Epic Records and Maybach Music Group
Rick Ross: Rather You Than Me Album Review
Introduction: 2014 was a horrid year for Rick Ross. After dropping an extremely solid album named God Forgives I don’t Ross went on to release both Mastermind and Hood Billionaire that were completely average, Hood Billionaire being the worst project Ross has ever put out. One thing was starting to become relatively frequent was Ross’s use of generic and downright awful trap beats. On the album Mastermind, Rich is Gangsta, Walkin’ On Air, Blk & Wht, War Ready and Drug Dealers Dream remain some of the worst songs Ross has ever put out. Just like how terrible Hold Me Back, 911, and So Sophisticated were on God Forgives I Don’t. Ross’s favouritism towards trap beats were putting a massive dent on his career and ultimately his music was suffering. The pinnacle was reached when Ross dropped Hood Billionaire, an album full of trap beats and so bad he lost a substantial amount of his fanbase. What the fuck was going on in Rick’s mind? I understand the argument that the current youth may love trap songs and that may be what is hot at the moment, but if you’re going to do trap at least do it good and Ross unfortunately doesn’t have a good ear for trap beats like Migos and Future.
Ross then dropped two projects in 2015, those being Black Dollar and Black Market. Black Dollar was good step in the right direction, filled with tracks that had production that suited Ross the best, then Black Market dropped which was average. The album had horrible features and the closing track Carol City summed up how dismal that album was. The term if it aint broke don’t fix it applies here. Rick Ross is at his absolute best when he lays down lyrics over soul sample beats and smooth slow beats. It’s no coincidence that his best songs are Tears Of Joy, Maybach Music III, Free Mason, Aston Martin Music, Mafia Music 2, Money Dance, Amsterdam, Oil Money Gang, Ashamed and Blessing in Disguise. Songs that contain soul samples or a slowing moving introspective beat where Ross just raps that deep shit. Let us also not forget his classic legendary feature on Kanye West’s Devil In A New Dress which is arguably a top 10 rap feature of the current decade.
We now find ourselves with Ross’s new album called Rather You Than Me and ultimately his 9th rap album. Well folks I am extremely happy to say that this album even after 5 listens ranks as one of his best in his hit and miss discography. Rather You Than Me is the Ross that we have been missing since God Forgives I don’t or even as far back to Teflon Don. This is Ross rapping over (apart from 4 tracks which happen to the worst material on the album) intricate soulful sample production and slow smooth dragging beats that enables him to shine as an MC. The opening track Apple Of My Eye contains a jazzy and soul sample production were Ross’s spitting is reminiscent of his Teflon Don days. The line ‘Im happy Donald Trump became the president, because we got to destroy before we elevate’ sets the tone for the album and we just knew that Ross meant serious business. The following track Santorini Greece is just as good as the intro, if not just a little better. Powerful horns drive the track and Rick Ross is on his luxury rap shit. Money, wealth and business make up the subject matter of Ross’s recent projects and there is nothing wrong with that. The Mississippi born rapper is encouraging black men to invest, invest and invest. It’s certainly a conscious record as lines such as ‘white man love me when I get my bling on’ and ‘but you hate me buying real estate in foreign land’ is one of the powerful statements on the album. Ross is fed up with the box African Americans are put in and made to be consumers, when they can aim for much higher ground and become owners. The third track Idols Becomes rivals is a diss track towards Birdman, he comes out all blazing and calls out Birdman for not paying Lil Wayne, music producers and fucking over DJ Khalid.
The next three tracks are just simply the worst material on the album, its Rick Ross on that trap production nonsense and yet again all three tracks contain awful generic beats that disruot up the flow of the album. These tracks were not needed. Message to Ross, please stop rapping over trap beats. Track 7 I Think She Likes Me is carried by a slow funky beat with a catchy hook provided by music talent Ty Dolla Sign. It’s just the type of song you play with your girl while you drive around town with the warm breeze of Californian air blowing against your face. It’s essentially a feel good track, I mean we all have that feel good feeling when a girl says to you I think I like you. It’s a GOAT Feeling!!
Coming to track 8, Nas yet again steals the show, just like how he murdered Ross on Triple Beam Dream. Nas just seems to up his game every time he’s on a Ross track. There really wasn’t any need for the Chris Rock skit, If you’re going to get Chris Rock to do a skit on your album make him do something similar to his legendary skit on Kanye West’s Blame Game. Overall it’s a very good track with excellent spacey production. Track 9 The Game Aint Base On Sympathy is arguably one of the best tracks on the album. The production steals the show on here, its Jazz driven with smooth funky drums and sounds like something that came straight out of the 1970s. Looks like Ross also seems to rap incredibly well over jazz driven beats. I now wouldn’t mind Ross dropping a tape of him rapping over jazz production.
Scientology just might be the best track on the album. The beat sounds alien like, as if someone is screaming over the drums. It’s a shame that the track only runs on for 2:36. It’s clearly production driven and Rick Ross’s flow is impeccable on here. ‘Smoking that mike dean until my lungs collapse’ is one of the highlights of the track. Mike Dean is a hip-hop producer that’s also known for being a weed head. Lamborghini Doors is where Rick Ross finally gets it, yet another track with a smooth ass slow beat where Ross shines on, Meek provides an OK cameo while Anthony Hamilton beautiful vocals carry the track. Triple platinum is piano driven and just essentially another good track. Mayback Music V was the most anticipated track on the album and it’s a great track, we all were just worried that Dej Loaf was going to ruin the song, but she provides a solid feat, her childish like sounding voice complements the slow beat very well. The final track Summer Seventeen is by far one of the worst on here, after a strong run of 6 songs ranging from Powers That Be to Maybach Music V, hearing that track with its generic trap beat was just horrible, plain horrible. The album should have ended with Maybach Music V.
Overall, this is a fantastic album and is up there with on Ross’s best. It doesn’t reach the epic heights of Teflon Don, but it is definitely his best material since 2012’s God Forgives I don’t. Ross is still rapping over generic track beats, but this time those tracks thankfully make up a small part of the album.
Album Rating: 7.7/10