Is it just me or does it seem like Rick Ross is always going out of his way to let you know just how well he's doing? I bet this is what getting a Christmas letter from Donald Trump feels like, but all the time. Anyway, this one isn't going to change lives or influence future generations but it is perfectly acceptable for a chilly Monday in February which, coincidentally, is exactly where we are right now. Enjoy.
I love rap and I think it's really good right now. I mean, to the extent that we can assess a type of art in the present tense, which I think is not very much, because of the not-being-able-to-see-a-forest-for-the-trees thing. We get a better gauge with ten or twenty years' perspective. But between El-P and Killer Mike, and A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown, and Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, and Meek Mill and Gunplay and the enormous Maybach Music beats, and the thing where Kanye West just keeps making undeniably excellent, important music: eight straight strong years, six straight great albums. (I don't know of any other rap artist [...]
Six Alternates For Time's "Person Of The Year," Five Good Rap Videos, And One Great Heavy Metal Video
People that would definitely not be named "Person of the Year" by Philadelphia rappers Black Deniro and Freeway: 1) The "Twitter Thug" 2) The "Fake Baller" 3) The "Bougie Chick" 4) The "Phone Gangster" 5) The "Goon Rat" 6) The "Sneaky Groupie"
Rick Ross And Meek Mill, "Tupac Back," And All The Other Rappers' Versions Of Rap's Song Of The Spring
Here's the biggest rap music beat of the spring. It was made by Atlanta producer Mike Will and his Eardrummers team, for Miami rap don Rick Ross and his Philadelphian protege, Meek Mill. (Very bold of a rapper to call himself "Meek," I think. It comes from his given name, Robert Rahmeek Williams. Whatever the case, I like it.) The beat is great in the same stomping-gothic-monster way as the one Lex Luger made for Ross's "BMF" last summer. And, as was the case with "BMF" last summer, and is the case will all great rap beats nowadays, lots of other rappers are recording rhymes over [...]
This song is great in the way that many of Maybach Music Group songs are great, which is to say: a behemoth beat made of 808 bass, piano and church bells, Rick Ross's baritone sounding good while saying nothing interesting, and Meek Mill's higher register sounding urgent and ever better while saying sharp, slick, clever rhymes. When Ross says that he has "that Justin Bieber," I'm pretty sure he means that he is selling cocaine. (Cocaine being white like Justin Bieber.) But it's fun to think of other stuff he might be talking about. A funny haircut? Perfect teeth? Or maybe Justin Bieber himself, bound and gagged in the [...]
What do you think Rick Ross's favorite Fiona Apple song is? When you picture him in the audience at last week's show at the Hollywood Palladium, where he was filmed pulling up in his Porsche for his new video, what song do you imagine him singing along with, standing on his seat in the front row, clasping his hands in front of his chest, just totally into it? "Criminal" is a good bet. Or "Paper Bag," or "Anything We Want"—that's my favorite one on her new album. But I think "Extraordinary Machine" is actually more his style. That phrasing—I could actually see that being a song title [...]
It's strange to see Rick Ross eating a bowl of Super Sugar Crisp in this new video for his protege Meek Mill. Because we recently learned that Ross usually wakes up to a bowl of lobster bisque. What this has to with his being a narcissist, as he says, is less clear. And considering how much milk he spills into beard, he's probably better off sticking with the cereal anyway. Both Ross and Meek Mill have terrific voices. (Yo Gotti does, too.) Their lyrics often leave me flat, but as long as Maybach Music Group producers keep using those big gonging church bells to the thrilling effect that [...]
Here's the good-looking cliffhanger of a new video Erykah Badu made with Rick Ross, who everyone for some reason loves right now. I don't much. "BMF" is great. Really great. But like Ross's first big hit, "Hustlin'" from 2005, it's mostly the beat. Made by rising Virginian producer Lex Lugar, it's big and open in a way that suits the heavyset rapper's blustery style. But most everything else I've heard leaves me pretty cold.
Here is a good new rap song from Pusha T of the Virginian duo Clipse, and more recently, Kanye West's Good Music collective. It has a guest verse from Rick Ross on it, which I think neither adds nor detracts from its quality. The best part is the beat, made by Kanye and 24-year-old Atlantan producer Southside—despite the fact that it might remind you of Europe's "The Final Countdown."
"Powerful, indignant, protective: that’s how a bear feels, and that’s how Mr. Ross sounds, as if nothing could possibly derail him, and everyone who walks with him will be safe." —Awl pal John Caramanica writes with Doolittlian insight into the ursine emotional state ("indignant"?!) in his review of Rick Ross's new mixtape, Rich Forever. And here is Ross sounding like a bear while rapping with guest star Nas. Also, the album cover to the left is not the cover of Rich Forever, but that of the 1998 album Doin Thangs from Houston rapper Big Bear. Who sounds less like a bear than Rick Ross, but Rick [...]
"Andy, how do you deal with haters and competition in your field? A: Just brush them off my shoulders. That’s usually how I do it. What about you, Rick? R: In my field, we shit on them. If you’re a hater we make you scared to show your face. It’s called success. Kills ’em every time. [Makes gunshot sound.] A: Can you say I did the gunshot sound in the article too?" —Complex's Joe La Puma interviews rapper Rick Ross and comedian Andy Samberg for the magazine's summer issue. Which has a cover image spoofing Lou Feck's 1978 poster for Jaws 2—a terrific idea, even if it[...]