Ricky Rozay, or Renzel as he is apparently calling himself now is already with a follow up to the album he dropped late last year, just like clockwork. While the Boss of MMG has been dealing with a lot of issues, whether it be house arrest, lawsuits and potential trials, or his label signees having issues with associates from around the industry and themselves, he still found the time to record last week's Renzel Remixes mixtape (which is a similar take as the lil Wayne No Ceilings mixtape), a mixtape that dropped in the summer, and a new album. While it has been a lot of music, it hasn't had a lot of staying power because something else is always around the corner. With all that said, let's talk about the new album from Rick Ross , "Black Market".
One thing you can never take away from Ross is his ability to have an infallible flow and the album starts in his normal way with the cinematic sound of the production on "Free Enterprise" which features John Legend on the hook. Ross paints great pictures of luxury and an opulent lifestyle and it fits on the idea of the title of this track. Mariah Carey features on "Can't Let Go" which also samples her hit "Can't Let Go" and actually is a pretty standout track which has a slightly different feel with the sample usage.
the Mary J. Blige assisted "Very Best" is Ross' forte, swagger rap about what a huge level he is on compared to other guys in the game and in life who 'hate' on him. For me, it's alright but nothing great although I think this is what Rozay fans are looking for and will consider evidence of his greatness. The second single was the Chris Brown feature "Sorry" where Ross talks about changing his ways to be with one woman. This coincides well with his recent engagement to vixen Lira Galore. "Everything Dope" has a catchy bass line and there are definite Future fans who will love this song in the club, strip or regular, and whenever the turn up is occurring. My feelings about Future and auto tune are well known so I'll leave it at that.
I'm not a fan of the DJ Premiere produced "Black Opium". The song isn't really about anything, the beat seems a bit awkward to me and the scratches weren't too great to me. "Crocodile Python" is alright, vintage Ross. Now "Color Money" has been getting a lot of publicity because of the bars directed at Drake and Baby. The track is a throwback to Miami bass music in a way, it isn't as layered and cinematic as what is on the rest of the album and I don't care for most of it honestly. "Silk Road" is a head nodder. Nas is the guest feature on "One of Us" and it's cool but the song I expect to have more depth than just the description of being another rap/street character cliche. "Smile Mama, Smile" with Cee-Lo is just what you would think by the total. Ross tells his mother not to worry and to smile because he has made it. The deluxe version has 3 more tracks one of which was the street single, "Foreclosures". It also features "Carol City" and "Money Dance" with The Dream.
Look, Ross is never one who puts out something bad, he is too good and consistent to do so, but my problem is nothing ever stands out either. The music all sounds the same, the flow is the same, the voice and inflections the same. I get it, you find a formula and want to stick to it, but you have to take some risk and show some sort of growth in either sounds or concepts. Ross always raps money and extravagance. His metaphors and descriptions are decent and especially strong in the latter writing criteria, but they are still a step removed from a real emotional connection that I get from an artist like Pusha T. Some of it can be the mixing, but it's just too perfect, too monotone and the same. It's like his persona as the boss has been taken too literally. If there were more moments like "Color Money" where he seemed to step outside of that a little bit it would be better but I'm not sure if he can allow himself that opportunity especially since his fans will find this good enough. For me he needs to do something to make an album stand out and be necessary to have and not just fit in line with the rest of his work.