Rick Ross – Rich Forever | Mixtape Review

Not even a month into the new year and already a slogan has been coined which is set to run throughout the year – ‘You Only Live Once’; better known as YOLO. At the forefront of this campaign is the Maybach Music Group boss, Def Jam honcho and one of the most talked about names in Hip Hop today, Rick Ross. Even without dropping his much anticipated God Forgives, I Don’t album last year, the bawse’s impact in 2011 was clear for all to see. Quotable verses, beef and a collaborative album with his MMG brethren were all on the menu for the physically imposing don and after a brief health scare halted his run, 2012 finds Ross pick up where he left his Teflon campaign – offering the streets unreserved, unapologetic gangsta tales for no admission fee.

Stomping maniacally from the drop, ‘Holy Ghost’ opens up with more monster music, relaying rhymes of his power moves, illegal trades all to a religious tone. Diddy prances around on the first of two tracks he’s featured on – spewing the usual rhetoric, but rather adds more to the track than taking any of its merits.

Considering Rich Forever has surfaced due to the postponement of his anticipated album, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the MMG frontman to offer up something of similar equivalence to the shelved project. Ross for the most part offers up a solid arrangement of track, which in fairness, makes for suitable mixtape material instead of album matter. Sticking to the formula of thunderous bass blasting productions and distinguished barks of the Miami don, Rich Forever chooses to bask in his previous successful musical blueprints. Tracks such as ‘High Definition’ and ‘MMG Forever’ rumble menacingly, with Rozay’s criminal minded charm standing tall in his performances.

Although Lex Luger is on hand to produce only one of the cuts on the free offering, production from the likes of DRich, Saint Denson and Beat Billionaire seem to take influence from the super producer, which creates a sense of deja vu when listening to certain tracks. The title track featuring John Legend follows a similar pattern to previous Rick Ross material and the rapper even chooses to conduct the same rhyme scheme – making the listening experience feel dated rather than new. Even the Kelly Rowland-handled ‘Mine Games‘ lacks the spark of the his’n’hers concept which the likes of ‘Aston Martin Music’ and ‘Super High’ managed to achieve.

With an artist like Ross, (whose offerings will arguably never go left of the gangsta motif), the key isn’t to create something new, but to better previous efforts and on a number of occasions he does so. The grand affair which is ‘Keys To The Crib’ may seem familiar in structure, but the power and aura of the Inkredibles-constructed instrumental gives Rozay and the featured Styles P the license to create another epic moment. Even when being lyrically and conceptually left behind by Nas on the dark, cinematic ‘Triple Beam Dreams’ the Bawse still puts up a dogged fight to assure his status as a performer isn’t tarnished.

Although its again the case that Ross goes solo on very few tracks, the collaborative efforts do create the standout moments of Rich Forever – something which is passable for a successful mixtape but will come into question when the next Ross installment comes about. Pharrell Williams provides only vocals on the Boi-1da produced ‘MMG The World Is Ours’ which also features Stalley and Meek Mill and controversy rears its ever present head on the shady ‘Stay Schemin,’ when Ross and French Montana‘s uncut rhymes will be overlooked for Drake‘s darts, which are aimed at Chicago rhyme legend Common.

Even if one withdrew from the hysteria created for the release on that Friday night, it cannot be denied that Rick Ross’ 20-track project is a solid and eventful listen which pulls the listener into the ‘world’ of shadowy dealings and megalomaniac riches. Warner Music’s cash cow comes with a number of quotes and motifs for future tattoo scribes and Facebook statuses and whilst many will point frantically at the hollow interior of Rozay’s verses, ultimately its the much maligned unison of beats and hype which steers this musical vehicle.

Just as the Albert Anastasia EP provided much of the meat for the Teflon Don LP, expect a quarter of the successful cuts of Rich Forever to surface on the impending God Forgives … venture. But thanks to its unwillingness to compromise quality due to its absent price, Rich Forever will ring out through all speakers, possessing a fire strong enough to outshine some future LPs – his very own included.

DOWNLOAD: Rick Ross – Rich Forever

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