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#13 Rick Ross


Lyrics 8

"When I die remember me like John Lennon, buried in Louie, I'm talking all brown linen, make all my bitches tattoo my logo on they tittys, put a statue of a ***** in the middle of the city." Going back to the beginning of his career many would have thought Ross would be a trap rapper who wasn’t at all known for lyricism, but as time’s played out Ross has surprised everybody by proving he has a sword that’s sharper than most. In recent years Ross’s bars have been more than decent, while at times even managing not to get washed on records with Hov (although Free Mason is not one of those records, but that’s really more about Jay Z). Ross has lyrics that are simple and easy to envision, and his style has made him one of the most radio friendly artists of the new generation.

Delivery 9

"Shout out to Uncle Luke, shout out my bitches too, we the 2 Live Crew, two for me, two for you." Laid back, cool, he’s living life but he’s not excited… Ross’s delivery is super smooth and it’s effective, not doing too much and not doing too little (the latter of what too many Trap MCs are guilty for), while finding a perfect balance that has put his features in high demand for both Hip Hop and R&B.

Structure/Songwriting 9

"I know Pablo, Noriega, the real Noriega he owe me a hundred favors." Ross can structure a verse perfectly, and for the most part his songs are money as well. His latest offerings have showcased great records in Smile Mama Smile, Take Advantage, She Wanna Fuck, and Money Dance (note the mixtape Black Dolla has more upside than the album it precipitated in Black Market), and before that he’s had smash hits in Hustlin, Push It, The Boss, and Aston Martin Music to name a few. Ross has the ability to make hot records, yet it’s been a minute since he’s given us a classic album.

Content/Meaning 8

I'm the source, got the plug with the uncut, Jay Z Blue Magic *****, what what, brand new S class with a meal ticket, ****** cocaine white as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren Blue Label as I'm getting high, triple beam dreaming as the cream multiplies." Ross’s music is supposed to motivate you to go out and get it, whether you take his superfluous drug references literally or not. He also references the Devil and the Illuminati often, which does add a certain mystique to his artistry I suppose. Either way his music is both good for the whip and made for the party, thus while his content may lack in depth it makes up for it by simply making you feel good, a lane that should always be open in Hip Hop.

Self Made 9

Ghost writer blunt lighter, write a rapper's song then go buy a home, lyrics they recite these words I own, every album they made I did it on my own." Ross had been under Jay Z and Def Jam from the beginning, yet over time has ultimately gotten out from under anyone’s wing in which case he’s become his own made man. The production he relies on is from a variety of sources, including J.U.S.T.I.C.E league, Cool and Dre, and Kanye West to name a few.

Image/Branding 9

"Got so may shades they thought I had a lazy eye, shorty rode me smooth as my Mercedes ride, no love cry only when babies die, and when I go that casket better cost a hundred thou." Scarface meets Kimbo Slice, Ross survived the Correctional Officer story has become Hip Hop’s ultimate kingpin, and it works. Ross seems to be well liked by (almost) all of his peers as he collaborates with basically everybody, and before anything else his motto seems to be about making money and putting out good music, while leaving all unnecessary drama to the side. He’s also the CEO and front man of Maybach Music Group, which is a firm reminder he really is a boss on the business side of things as well.

Sales 8

"I'm a don, I'm a boss, I'm a profit, I'm a G, I'm a CEO that means I profit off of me" Ross has never gone Platinum but he’s gone Gold more than a few times, and while his last album Black Market sold far less than his average (80K), his other two releases before that sold 200,000 and 400,000 leaving him still in very good standing.

Ability to Rock an Instrumental at a Radio Station 8

"She talk dirty, but her mouth clean, I'm MC Hammer, I'm about cream..." Not that he’s known for it, and not that he even does it at all, but it’s less likely that he doesn’t do it cause he can’t and more likely he doesn’t do it cause he’s a boss, and he simply doesn’t have to. That simple. But Ross has a smooth delivery nonetheless and he deserves the benefit of the doubt in this case.

Ability to Fuck Up a Rewind Button 9

"Collar on my Polo, kisses on my necklace, all my diamonds watching now my watch is getting jealous, smoking on the bomb in my autographed Lebrons, yeah she told me I'm the one that's when I only hit it once." Like any song with a hot 16 sometimes you have to play that back, and with Ross it’s no different. As good as Chris Brown’s New Flame record is in some ways the Ross verse is the best part, and everybody with an aux cord knows they’ve played that record more than once.

Longevity 10

"Grandfather deal for the Godfather, Lucian Grange from the ghetto, I follow God's orders, and he told me I was rich forever, and he showed me I was rich forever." Ross has now been relevant for the last decade, and there’s no reason to think he will shy away from the limelight anytime soon. Ross seems to love the cameras, and it’s clear he’s taken a vested interest into making sure he puts out quality music as well, a combination of showmanship and musicianship that continues to make him a force to be reckoned with.

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