January 19, 2012 8 comments
First the cashmere socks, then the loafers. You too can be Rich Forever.
“600 Benz” is my personal favorite from Maybach Music Group’s Self Made, Vol. 1, and Wale’s line of “keep on working, shorty, and you’ll be rich forever” has always stuck with me. There’s no particular reason for it to resonate the way it does, as the only ways I’ll be rich forever are by winning the lottery (unlikely), moving kilos (too dangerous), or poking holes in my condoms before I party at the University of San Diego (too bad their parties suck).
It’s more likely that Wale’s words resonated with his boss (BAWSE!) Rick Ross at a higher level, as Rozay will be rich forever as long as he doesn’t go MC Hammer on us and install a dishwasher in his bedroom (though don’t count it out, lemon pepper wings can get messy). Rich Forever is like an audio episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, except I doubt anybody featured from that show took a trip to the trap house once the show finished taping. The gaudy excess of Ross’ boasts is a bastard descendant of the Cash Money Millionaires’ tracks from the turn-of-the-century bling-bling era. If Baby hadn’t invented the platinum football field, surely Rick Ross would have one by now. I’m just thankful Ross avoided replicating their album covers.
‘But I don’t listen to Rick Ross nor DMX for spiritual guidance. I listen to Rick Ross because I want to hear about bricks, AK-47s, Gucci loafers and $100 socks backed by some production that makes me bob my head while wearing the screwface’
Rich Forever’s intro, “Holy Ghost” further proves that Diddy is most effective alongside a big, ugly-yet-stylish rapper. “Dear Father, please protect me from brokeness” might be the most unintentionally hilarious rap prayer this side of DMX. Ross also introduces a new Mike Jones-esque tendency to repeat his lines, which surfaces throughout Rich Forever. The Saint Denson-produced “High Definition” starts with a clip of Mike Tyson denouncing the material riches that his boxing career brought him: “This is garbage. I bled for garbage.” Of course, Rick Ross spends the next three minutes bragging about his helicopter and his oceanfront property, amongst other things only the 1% would understand. At the risk of mentioning DMX twice in a paragraph, it’s like Darkman X’s opening prayer on his albums before he spends the next 50 minutes verbally spraying the block up. But I don’t listen to Rick Ross nor DMX for spiritual guidance. I listen to Rick Ross because I want to hear about bricks, AK-47s, Gucci loafers and $100 socks backed by some production that makes me bob my head while wearing the screwface, and “High Definition” and the rest of Rich Forever are exactly that. Rick Ross knows his appeal, and delivers on what we want from him.
However, Ross’ strength comes back to haunt him. Rich Forever is 20 tracks deep. Nobody’s album/mixtape/project/retailmixtapeLP Vol. 2 should ever be 20 songs long, ESPECIALLY if the subject matter is as limited as Ross’. With that many tracks, there’s bound to be some redundancy, which struck in the form of “Last Breath,” “I Swear to God,” “Off the Boat,” and “King of Diamonds” all sounding like the same exact song. Producer Beat Billionaire makes three appearances on the mixtape, and each of his beats sound like the same Lex Luger beat, which is complicated by the fact that all Lex Luger beats sound the same (saw a fantastic retweet by @JansportJ of someone saying that Lex Luger is the “trap 9th Wonder.”)
Ross continues to sharpen himself lyrically, and his beat selection is still among the best in the game, his love of Lex Luger knockoffs notwithstanding. The mixtape alternates between Luger-esque trap beats and the heavy, pulsing production that dominated Self Made, and could have benefited from more lush production from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, who contributed only a single beat to this, the bleak “Triple Beam Dreams” with a clearly rejuvenated Nas. The guest spots by Nas and 2 Chainz are song-stealers, and Drake is on here as well on “Stay Schemin’,” which I’m sure you already know about. I’m not going in depth about that song and the shots at Common. This isn’t rap beef, it’s cow-flavored tofu. Will the MMG/CTE beef just happen already?!?!
Rich Forever flaunts Ross’ flashy, free-spending boss character that lives the tenets of coke rap: the paranoia and internal spiritual conflict of The Clipse, Jeezy’s many-hued collection of automobiles, Raekwon and Ghostface’s ruthlessness, and Pimp C’s well-chronicled disdain of law enforcement and haters. Ross has fully grown into his character, and is arguably making the hottest music in the industry right now. Each project is a must-listen. He’s a must-have guest verse. He’s Lil’ Wayne circa 2006-2007. Let’s just hope he holds off on the jeggings. UNGH!!