For every great musician that graces our eardrums, there is one (or two, or five) that did not live up to expectations. For every Jay-Z there is an AZ. For every Kendrick Lamar, there is a Trinidad James. Hip-Hop has been shoving this Miami native down our throats for years, despite his average content and below average numbers. The ninth release by Rick Ross, Rather You Than Me, will probably be another piece of evidence that he is closer to AZ than Hov.
Men lie, women lie, children lie. This girl lied on Chingy. Numbers don’t. Since 2013, Ross has only charted two singles from solo albums on the Billboard Hot 100. The Jay-Z assisted “The Devil Is A Lie” charted at #86 in 2013. “Sorry”, featuring Chris Brown, topped at #97 two years later. Every other single during that time span did not make the Hot 100. This includes the lead single from RYTM “I Think She Like Me”. In Ross’ “illustrious” career, he has had only one Top 30 single, “Aston Martin Music”, which was a remake of Drake’s “Paris Morton Music”.
His solo album numbers are not much better. He does have five #1 albums, but the sales and streams from those albums have been far below what an elite artist should produce. Of his eight albums, one has went Platinum (1 million album-equivalent units). Black Market produced a pitiful 75,000 album-equivalent units, despite it being his best piece of work since Teflon Don.
Lyrically, Ross has his moments of great storytelling and imagery. “Ghostwriter” was a brilliant tale of his writing journey in the industry. It is a story that many artists do not divulge to their audience. “Ice Cold”, “Tears of Joy” and “Nobody” are other great stories worth listening to. On the other hand, Rozay has a penchant for making numerous tracks about all of the useless, material items he indulges in. Disposable songs that will not make his greatest hits album. His flow and vocabulary have progressed very little over his decade in the game. J. Cole has progressed more than Rick Ross in about half the time.
Ross has fallen into the deplorable industry ideology that more is better. Sure, more music means more money for him, but the quality of the product goes south. Between albums, mixtapes and street singles, he comes out with roughly thirty or so tracks every fifteen months. Five might be worth a second listen. Compare that to the true greats who come out with a new album every three years, but the material is superb. Less is, and always will be, more.
Rick Ross’ upcoming ninth album is garnering some significant buzz. I hope you do not fall for the hype for what will probably be another mediocre album, but rather you than me.
Photo from RapRadar.com