In rap (and music), different artists have different things about them that sets them apart from the rest. In Future’s case it’s his raspy, lean-soaked voice. Drake’s is his moody, atmospheric production. For Rick Ross, it’s his overall presence. Confident, boastful and full of life, Rozay’s been a larger-than-life figure in hip hop for over a decade. On Rather You Than Me, his decadent luxury raps paint a picture of a man who not only has it all, but more importantly, understands where he’s at.
Opening track “Apple of My Eye” kicks off with saxophones and soft crooning, and Ross’ reflection over his success and life’s trials and tribulations work well with them. There are a few tracks that have Ross in a conscious mood, and his storytelling and delivery are strong. “Game Ain’t Based On Sympathy” has Ross giving his take on the gang violence in Chicago while “Santorini Greece” has Rozay denounce the double standards against African Americans. It’s somewhat surprising to hear the Miami rapper, who’s calling card is anthemic club jams, speak out on sensitive subjects, but he pulls it off.
Introspectiveness aside, this is still Rick Ross, so there’s more than a few bangers. Promotional single “Trap Trap Trap” is Ross at his braggadocious best, calling on Young Thug and Wale to join in on the fun. “Dead Presidents” recruits Future, Yo Gotti and Jeezy for an old school trap posse cut. Meek Mill lends his inspirational rags-to-riches trademark to the hook of “Lamborghini Doors.” “Idols Become Rivals” has Ross taking shots at Cash Money boss Birdman,refusing to mince words. “Catholic record labels, niggas gettin’ raped boy/Birdman’s a priest, moans in his synagogue.”
While Ross really doesn’t push the envelope artistically per se, it doesn’t matter. He knows his lane and knows it well, choosing to stick to what he’s good at rather than taking an unnecessary risk. His overall presence on Rather You Than Me is once again excellent, portraying the 41-year-old as a wise veteran amongst a landscape of barely-20-year-old upstarts. Yung Renzel doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
7.6 – 10