TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 |
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
To reduce Rick Ross and his validity to lyrical thug credentials and heavy-handed production would be unfair if it weren't so easy. From his dramatic four-chord riffs to star-fueled guest vocals (Diddy, John Legend, Nas, Kelly Rowland) and repetitive shouts to his company Maybach Music, it's all a bit cartoony. Even his voice seems packaged as a brand of brash, corrosive thug slathered on "epic" beats spitting every rap trope you could possibly imagine. We've arrived at the day when luxury brands sound like they were made for rap verses, not the other way around-- where else but in a rap song would you repeatedly hear "Bugatti" utilized in such a chewy manner?
That being said, we need Rick Ross, and he's one of (if not the) quintessential mindless rapper. Ross is necessary in the sphere of hip-hop, especially with the intellectuals battering down our doors with rhymes that beg to be deciphered like hieroglyphics, they can't all be tortured like Kanye, poetic like Kweli, or ambitious like his protege Wale. He guest spits on Wale's "Ambition" track but he isn't a part of its message-- he's the epitome of banging two pots together on the kitchen floor, just for the hell of it. Ross is comfortable occupying the space between your sub-woofer and your super-ego, even having no idea what that might mean other than inspiring the raising of drinks the next time you bump "Rich Forever" at a party.