Review: Rick Ross – “God Forgives, I Don’t”

August 6, 2012 5 comments

In the trailer for Machete, which is loosely based upon my life, the priest played by Cheech Marin tells some poor sap, “God has mercy, I don’t,” before blowing the guy’s head off with a shotgun. While I refuse to implicate my priest in a murder investigation, that’s a pretty badass thing to say before breaking a Commandment. It’s not exactly Ezekiel 25:17, but it’s G enough for Rick Ross to co-opt for his latest album, God Forgives, I Don’t.

God Forgives, I Don’t is more of the same, lyrically and sonically, from Ross, so if you prefer your rappers to have the same problems you do, this isn’t for you, unless you have stash houses in the trap and the Alphabet Boys on your tail. Formulaically similar to the spectacular Teflon Don and the solid but seemingly never-ending Rich Forever, the album doesn’t break much new ground. Remember how “MC Hammer” and “B.M.F.” were the same damn song, just with different guest verses? That happens again on this album with “Hold Me Back” and “911,” right down to the Lex Luger beats.

*Checks production credits*

Hmmm. Apparently, Lex Luger didn’t produce “Hold Me Back” and “911.” Could have fooled me. If you’ve seen Lex Luger in the same room with Young Shun and G5Kid, please let me know.

The recycling doesn’t stop there, as “Hold Me Back” essentially jacks the hook from “Actin’ Up” off the second MMG album. I was vibing with “911” until Ross boasts “She let me smell the pussy!” which I believe Ross stole from a foul past roommate of mine.

Traditionally, Ross’ strongest tracks have been hyped-up, energy-driven bangers like the aforementioned, but the songs that don’t sound like they’ve been pulled from the MMG recycle bin, from the lush “3 Kings” through the dreamy “Amsterdam,” form the strongest part of the album. Tracks 3-7 are where Ross and the producers are actually making a concerted effort to present a musically coherent product, and it works wonderfully. Ross, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre’s ghostwriter coast through “3 Kings,” giving way to Ross expressing his remorse in the Wilson Pickett-sampled “Ashamed.”

Enter J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, the production team that inexplicably doesn’t have a full-length collaborative album with Rozay yet. The only other collabo album I’d look forward to more is 2 Chainz with Kanye West. Their latest “Maybach Music” collaboration with Ross beautifully transitions into the talk of the Rap Internet – “Sixteen,” with the current king of the guest verse, Andre 3000. Predictably, Andre slaughters it. But instead of going the George Costanza route and leaving on a high note, he sticks around and does a guitar solo. You know, because he’s playing Jimi Hendrix in a movie that Hendrix’s estate refused permission to use Jimi’s music. Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash covers, this ain’t. It’s closer to Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career.

Speaking of rap that will make you cringe, Wale treats the intro to “Diced Pineapples” like Open Mic Night at the organic, fair trade coffee shop in the hip-yep-gentrified part of town. Drake comes through with a Facebook status-ready hook (“Call me crazy – shit, at least you’re calling”) and Ross and Wale make a tribute to going downtown. Somewhere, Danny Brown is playing this on repeat.

The two biggest knocks against God Forgives, I Don’t are it’s too long and too familiar. The album could have ended at 12 with “Ice Cold” and we’d have a nice, tidy project. And despite the recycled sound of a few tracks, they’re not abominations of sound or anything. It’s just that “911,” “Hold Me Back,” and “So Sophisticated” would be at home on any MMG album or mixtape from Deeper Than Rap onward.

And this is where the fickleness of music fans comes in: we complain when artists make the same music all the time, and we complain when they deviate from the sound that made them hot in the first place. Obviously the quality of the music plays a huge factor, and the familiar tracks on God Forgives, I Don’t aren’t better than any of their predecessors. Give me “MC Hammer” and “B.M.F.” any day. But do the tracks suck? No. The album’s getting more play than anything else in my iPod right now because it’s summertime and I’m riding around with my windows down. Rozay has been making the best summertime music since Deeper Than Rap came out, and God Forgives, I Don’t keeps the streak going for another year.

7/10


God Forgives, I Don’t Lyrics:

Rick Ross – 911 Lyrics
Rick Ross – Amsterdam Lyrics
Rick Ross – Sixteen Lyrics
Rick Ross – Ashamed Lyrics
Rick Ross – Diced Pineapples Lyrics
Rick Ross – 3 Kings Lyrics
Rick Ross – Presidential Lyrics
Rick Ross – Hold Me Back Lyrics
Rick Ross – Rich Forever Lyrics
Rick Ross – So Sophisticated Lyrics
Rick Ross – Triple Beam Dreams Lyrics
Rick Ross – Maybach Music IV Lyrics
Rick Ross – Ice Cold Lyrics
Rick Ross – Pirates Lyrics
Rick Ross – Pray For Us Lyrics
Rick Ross – Ten Jesus Pieces Lyrics
Rick Ross – Touch’N You Lyrics