Rapper Rick Ross did what every Rapper wants to do when they acquire a considerable amount of success. The year of 2010 was the year of Rick Ross. He had a very successful and very well produced album in Teflon Don and two acclaimed projects in the Free EP The Albert Anastasia EP and the mixtape Ashes to Ashes. With the success of these projects, it only made sense to make a boutique label and make a crew to counter this sudden uprising of crews (Young Money, Shady 2.0).
Rozay signed Wale, Meek Mill, Pill, songstress Teedra Moses, and Rapper Stalley. The last two aren't on the album much, since they were signed more recently. The three original signees have had some success in the Rap game. All three have been on XXL's Freshmen List. It's a compilation, so I wouldn't expect much in the solid, one complete thought type of department.
1. Self Made (Wale, Meek Mill, Pill & Rick Ross)
A really solid start to this album. It features the main signees and Teedra Moses on the hook. It's a really smooth beat, and definitely a standout straight from the start.
2. Tupac Back (Meek Mill & Rick Ross)
Tupac Back is known as that song that has inspired an overwhelming amount of freestyles and remakes, such as Big Puns Back, Big L's back etc. The track starts with an intro of Pac speaking. This song definitely goes hard, and generally it's a good listen. Meek Mill rapping and Rick Ross doing the hooks on the record mesh well, and it shows in the record, but people definitely need to stop re-making this track.
3. 600 Benz (Wale & Rick Ross Feat. Jadakiss)
This track definitely sounds very similar to Tupac back. Wale's raps are dope, but I am interested in the change in subject matter. Wale has changed a little bit in his subject matter, and it's obvious some of that has to do with this new affiliation.
4. Pacman (Pill & Rick Ross)
This also sounds similar, and can get tiring because all 3 songs are virtually the same. I guess you could say that this is sort of a "enter the chamber" to each artist. They all have the same theme. Rick Ross on the hook, with a very hard hitting beat.
5. By Any Means (Wale, Meek Mill, Pill & Rick Ross)
This is a hot record, but one problem I've had so far with the album is how all of the songs cover similar topics, and feature similar sounding and styled beats. Wale's verse was good and Pill's verse was dope.
"Marching for cars, they put a hole in it
Start the applause, a rebel soul lifted
Preaching for the paper paparazzi, federales severe rallies, massacre lives
Teaching to Shabazz that's Malik on behind the grass
Corruption over cash, leave them leaking in the cask'
Ain't better, you better rebel, smell cheddar and shells
Malcolm ? platinum in Africa when he sat in a cell"
6. Fitted Cap (Wale, Meek Mill & Rick Ross Feat. J. Cole)
This is a solid record. I was sort of underwhelmed by J. Cole's verse, but Wale & Meek Mills' verses were ridiculous on this record.
It’s ironic how I drop some dough when I got them Homer Simpsons, look
Pine-green Foams, they may never see the store
Got LeBron Entourages like Maverick and Richie Paul
Bitch, I ball, ho, you lame, look at my Laneys, switchin’ lanes
Look at my 9s, look at my Blazers, look at my 4s, cut wit’ laser
Look at my whore, that is your lady, look at my flo’, makin’ y’all crazy
Makin’ y’all sick, y’all cannot tame me, Lexus drive me, Maybach pay me
I said I’m swaggin’ out in my Cool Greys, no LL, but these cool Js
And my wrist froze, but I’m cool sha’, like a bald head, I’m too paid
I’m too blazed, and I’m too high, George Kush, the whole crew high
Wrong move and that tool fly, better Kon that ass like Wu-sai
7. Rise (Wale, Pill & Teedra Moses Feat. Curren$y & CyHi Da Prynce)
I like the change in the beat. It's definitely refreshing, and features a pretty good verse from CyHi, and a nice verse from Curren$y. Curren$y also does the hook, and I personally like the track a lot more. It's much more unique.
8. That Way (Wale & Rick Ross Feat. Jeremih)
I mean... There had to be a record aimed at the ladies. Still, this record is pretty dope, and I think could be a good alternative single later in the run of this compilation. Wale does a good job on the Lex Luger produced track.
9. Ima Boss (Meek Mill & Rick Ross)
I'm a fan of this one. Back to the hard hitting beats. Meek Mill kills this one. You gotta love his boastful rhymes.
I like how Rick Ross takes a backseat to his artists, and allows them to stand out on these tracks. He does a really good job complementing his artists without taking the spotlight (Jay-Z failed at this). His verse is niceeee though!
10. Don't Let Me Go (Pill Feat. Gunplay)
This is different from a lot of the tracks. A little bit more introspective and Pill does a solid job on his verse. You can tell that there's a lot of raw talent, and he has potential to become a really good artist.
11. Pandemonium (Wale, Meek Mill & Rick Ross)
A well produced record which features Rick Ross , Meek Mill & Wale dropping verses. Meek Mill has really impressed me with his verses throughout this compilation.
"Million ways to make this money, you gon get it
on the grind 24/7 I'm with it
YSL swagger, wrist wear frigid
jumping out the Phantom like a muthafucking midget
money knocking at the front door I'm like "who is it?"
it's Benjy, tell my lil nigga "goin get it"
cause I've been counting all this dirty paper for a minute
Lamborghini dreaming thinking how I'm spend it
I'm like one's for the money, two's for the show of it
three's for the bitches that be fucking for the hoe of it
four for my niggas that be stacking and then blowing it
you would think I had a curfew the way I'm going in
look at what we rolling in, causing pandemonium
papi got them keys in, he like my custodian
I was tryna bag a brick you was Nickelodeon"
12. Play Your Part (Wale, Meek Mill & Rick Ross Feat. D.A. of Chester French)
This was one of the few tracks already on Ashes to Ashes. I'm a big fan of what D.A. from Chester French did on the hook, and the verses were nice too. The song just meshes really well. Pretty much just Play Your Part!
13. Ridin' on Dat Pole (Pill)
This song is not good. Terrible song and honestly just really redundant and sort of played out to do this type of song after Pill just did the more introspective song earlier.
14. Big Bank (Meek Mill, Pill, Rick Ross & Torch Feat. French Montana)
Ehhhh. I'll pass on this song. It's not bad, but just too repetitive and just not as good as the other similar songs.
15. Running Rebels (Wale, Meek Mill, Stalley & Teedra Moses)
This song is a very good ending. It's produced very well, and Stalley and Wale drop some really dope verses. Good ending to the album.
I think that the overall goal of this album was achieved by Maybach Music. He's formed a really solid stable of artists, and what I appreciated the most was that I didn't leave this album going "wow that was a really good Rick Ross album". Some artists (Jay-Z) don't do a good job of displaying the talent of the artists on their labels.
Out of the 3 artists featured not named Rick Ross, I'd say Meek Mill surprised me the most. He sounded so hungry on this album, and went hard on every track he was on. Wale was really good, and Pill was solid on the album too. It's a good start, but if you're looking for a classic, you will not find one here. It's a solid debut, but too many of the songs follow the whole B.M.F. theme that Rick Ross started. Can you blame him though? B.M.F. was a big record last summer, and it makes sense that every single he's releasing is in the vein of that and MC Hammer. The funniest part of that was how Ross released Super High and it didn't do to well on the charts and I personally feel that B.M.F. and MC Hammer were never supposed to be on Teflon Don. Just the success of those tracks on the radio and the net, got them on the album.
Now everyone is trying to do those Lex Luger beats. They're hard hitting and definitely get the heart rate jumping but if you hear 5 of the same songs over and over again, it can become tiring. If you listen to these songs separately then maybe they might be more appealing. Also, the subject matter was ALL THE SAME on this compilation, which is a reflection of what Rick Ross is about (or what he claims he is about). It's disappointing because I was hoping that different artists would diversify the subject matter (Wale), but Wale basically fit in with the crowd instead of rapping about different things. If you want hard hitting eats with solid rhymes, this is for you. If you want more, you will be disappointed.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Top Billin: Self Made, Ima Boss, Pandemonium, Play Your Part, Running Rebels