Somewhere on the theoretical spectrum of ridiculousness, roughly situated between Pusha T calling himself the “L. Ron Hubbard of the Cupboard” and Lil Wayne claiming that “everyday Christmas, I’m egg nogged out,” lies Rick Ross, he of ultimate excess.
When it comes to luxury, Rick Ross isn’t merely part of the equation — he makes the equation, each boast leading to more attention, all new attention leading to an exponentially more extravagant life. For Ross, there’s an eternally correct answer to sustaining said equation: Blow Money Fast.
So let’s talk about his latest release, Rather You Than Me, which is sufficiently nice. There are fireworks, sure. They begin with the first track, “Apple of My Eye.” Ironically enough, the apple of Ross’s eye is himself — not his significant other, or his child, but himself, for doing it big. Especially for thinking introspectively about doing it big. He stays true to himself by shining a light on, well, himself. In other words, the track is quintessentially Rick Ross.
Quintessential Rick Ross also means quintessentially phenomenal production. “Santorini Greece” works thanks to a comfortably-paced drum, dreamy piano and pitched vocal riffs. It transports back, all the way back, to 2010. Rick Ross ideally needs a grand entrance, a red carpet of sorts, and once upon a time, on Kanye West’s “Devil in a New Dress,” he got just that. After over a minute of similarly dreamy riffs, in came Rozay. Rozay is a French champagne. French champagne is rather objectively dope. The math adds up: He is inherently extra in the best possible way, and “Santorini Greece” is another entertaining embodiment of it.
Maybe Ross needed a Chris Rock intro on “Idols Become Rivals” and “Powers That Be” to prove he doesn’t take himself too seriously. When he opts for compelling substance — if you absolutely need that sort of thing from him — it comes in the form of “Game Ain’t Based On Sympathy” and “Scientology.” There’s gorgeous jazzy instrumentation in the former track.
Even so, it’s undebatable that the hits, nay, unapologetic bangers, have been the lifeblood of Ross’s career; this is crucial to acknowledging Ross’s accomplishment. He’s a visionary because he survives and thrives on hits, and it works, if only because his hits really fucking bang, time and time again.
Indeed, a discography highlighted by bona fide bangers — years later we bump “Hustlin’,” “B.M.F.,” “Stay Schemin’,” “Sanctified” and the like — has proven to be timeless. The best of Rather You Than Me adds to the case.
Three years from now we very well could be bumping “Trap Trap Trap” (“Only fuck if she exclusive / Her favorite rapper Lil Boosie / To tell the truth I didn’t ask / When it come to bitches I’m Gucci”), what with its almost reckless features from both Young Thug and Wale. The single, along with the trappy “Dead Presidents” and hook-friendly “She On My Dick,” certainly feels like it has staying power.
Rather You Than Me, as an entire album, exists in a fantastical world that feels fairly exclusive to those other than him and his crew. All are invited to experience what it’s like as long as the guests don’t try to rationalize, well, any part of it. With this in mind, it’s not too difficult to find a funny sort of sanctification still surrounding Rozay.