By Arielle Butler
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–Rick Ross, Rozay, or Renzel– is back sooner than ever with new Maybach Music inspired album, Rather You Than Me.
The rap megastar released his 9th studio album at midnight. With an all-star lineup of features ( Raphael Saadiq, Chris Rock,Young Thug, Wale, Future, Yo Gotti, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Ty Dolla $ign, Nas, Meek Mill, Anthony Hamilton, Scrilla and Dej Loaf) this is not an album you breeze by and never revisit.
The opening track, “Apple of my Eye” featuring Raphael Saadiq is full of reflections and remorse over failed relationships, rough upbringing and poor decisions of the past.
“I told Meek [Mill] I wouldn’t trust Nicki [Minaj], instead of beefing with your dawg [Drake] just give him some distance” -Rick Ross, Apple of My Eye
The next track, “Santorini Greece” is a nice song to smoke an illegal Cuban cigar to while riding through Santorini Greece in a Maybach over pebble stone roads… or on a yacht off the coast of the Grecian island. (I’ve never been there before… let me imagine). Nonetheless Renzel reflects on racial injustice in America, drug-dealing and seeking better life for family.
“We in the last days, these racist agendas / Blatant double standards because I’m a nigga / Jesse Jackson on them people payroll / When you black, lips chapped cause the game cold” – Rick Ross, Santorini Greece
By far, the most explosive track on RYTM is “Idols Before Rivals” where he calls out Cash Money label head Birdman. Revelations unbeknown to the public until now sent fans and media alike in a frenzy.
Birdman is currently in a 50+ million litigation suit against Lil’Wayne over unpaid royalties and damages. Read more here.
Chris Rock opens the track with a monologue about handing with Ross, eating Wingstop and Bellaire, both brands who endorse Rick Ross and he is part owner.
Rick Ross expresses his anger and disappointment in Birdman over his treatment of Lil’ Wayne, Turk, B.G. And Mannie Fresh, all once apart of the notorious Cash Money Records from the late ’90s and 2000’s, and DJ Khaled.
Rozay calls our Birdman for wearing fake jewelry and renting cars, although on TV a luxurious lifestyle was displayed. This is when he realized fame was not all it seemed.
Ross goes on to compare Birdman to a catholic priest who are accused of rape commonly in the Roman Catholic community.
“Catholic record labels, niggas gettin’ raped, boy/ Birdman’s a priest, moans in his synagogue / Publishin’ is a sin, repent, forgive me, Lord” – Rick Ross, (Idols Become Rivals)
Renzel outlines how he provided protection for the Cash Money mogul while he lived in Miami:
“All Miami issues, Rozay handle for him Same way Big Ducky do for me in California”-Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”
He goes on to call out Birdman’s unloyalty to former artists who he considered family. Both Turk and B.G. Went to prison on two separate incidents and occasion and it has been speculated he did not check on either:
“ Knew that you would never visit BG Turk came home, take that boy a three piece”-Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”
In 2015 until present, a very public feud between “father-and-son” Birdman and Lil’ Wayne has Rozay pleading with Birdman to do right by Wayne, who has been signed to the label since age 11, thus devoting his entire life to Cash Money Records and drawing in millions.
“I pray you find the kindness in your heart for Wayne / His entire life, he gave you what there was to gain / I watched this whole debacle so I’m part to blame / Last request, can all producers please get paid?”- Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”
As the song is coming to an end, Ross speaks on a now-sour relationship between DJ Khaled, who quietly departed from Cash Money Records in 2015 and Birdman. Although unclear to the public at this time of the issue, Ross did have quite a bit to say:
“And what hurt me the most, nigga
Is how you did my brother Khaled, nigga Khaled was loyal to you, nigga
The pain I seen in my brother’s eye, nigga FaceTimin’ my nigga, nigga, he took that to the chin, nigga
That’s why my nigga blessed
That’s why my nigga Khaled blessed
You put my nigga in the hole, homie
I don’t feel you for that, my nigga
That shit hurt me, you under-dig? Uh
-Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”
“Trap, Trap, Trap” featuring Young Thug and Wale opens with a house-arrest ankle montior beeping as Renzel is sitting at a red light. I have a feeling many could relate to the distinctive ding… I didn’t know what it was.
“Dead Presidents” featuring Young Jeezy, Future and Yo Gotti produced by Maybach Music’s very own Beat Billionaire is the tale of three Trapstars rapping about the luxuries it has brought them. Ross also thanks fans who has been rocking with him from the beginning:
“If you’ve been fucking with me since Port of Miami / Its been hell of a fucking journey”-Rick Ross, “Dead Presidents”
As always, there is a line that may be deemed controversial, although it made me chuckle a bit:
“Pissing on these bitches like I’m R.Kelly”-Rick Ross, “Dead Presidents”
Now what’s a Rick Ross without a shoutout to the women who are the tastemakers to the fast life? “She on My Dick” featuring Gucci Mane where both MC’s rap about spoiling women with fancy items and changing their circumstances. Upgrade you, much?
The track is followed by the lead single of the RYTM Album ” I Think She Like Me” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
“Staring at my safe, I rather be safe than sorry.”-Rick Ross, “I Think She Me”
The best of both worlds– Rick Ross and Nas– join worlds on “Powers That Be”. Opened by Chris Rock again, the beat is a nice mashup of grungy Queens, NY and Miami South Beach in the ’80s where both MC’s talk about success and the pitfalls it comes with.
“You know how it is / New levels, new devils / The cheddar breed jealous at hella speed but it’s whatever- Nas, “Powers That Be” (Rather You Than Me)
“Game Ain’t Based on Sympathy” has none felt by the MC. He outlines childhood– eating “government cheese”, suffering after his father lost his healthcare, attending funerals weekly among a host of other things. Above all, he wants no sympathy and will no none.
Currently, Scientology is outlined as a fan fave. Ross debunks the theories of Scientology in the music industry by playing chess with labels and other figureheads. Encouranging aspriring artists to “stay in college”,He takes more shots at Birdman:
“This must have been God’s wishes/ Cause all my friends went to prison / Nothing like Bryan Williams but when they come home I kiss em”- Rick Ross “Scientology”
Throughout the album, Ross emphasizes he never imagined this life of wealth as a kid growing up. “Lamborghini Doors” featuring Meek Mill and Anthony Hamilton touch on rough times from jail times, hard times, and washing it all away with the good life.
“Started off poor with plans to own more /The writing in the stars, the life we lived for / Dreaming of things we can’t afford But now we coming up like them Lamborghini doors, ooh” -Meek Mill, “Lamborghini Doors”
The track opens as Ross recalls him visiting Meek in jail and how other inmates responded to his presence, giving him credit when at the time, the industry didn’t due to beef with Drake.
“Triple Platform” Rozay touches on the Drake and Meek Mill beef again, stating:
“Had a phone call with Drake so we could fix the madness”-Rick Ross, Triple Platform
The track opens up with a monologue saying when the gates of heaven open for him, his grandmother will rejoice saying he only got there by prayer.
Newest MMG signee, Scrilla, makes his debut on the album on the track. He reflects heavily on the “triple platinum” lifestyle and how he couldn’t imagine it, like many others featured throughout the album.
“Maybach Music V” the highly-anticipated track looked for on almost every Ross’ album, featuring Dej Loaf and Kay Rockwell (unlisted on the album) and produced by Beat Butcha and Buda and Grandz.
He reminisces on a lover from “way back” and the struggle to make it to the top.
“Food stamps like we dinin’ on islands Diced pineapples, now she’s my piña colada”-Rick Ross, “Maybach Music”
“Summer Seventeen” featuring Yo Gotti, produced by Beat Billionaire, Ross promises his whole team will be rich by summer seventeen.
“I’m out on bond so I gotta beat it / Half a million to my lawyer cause he undefeated /Shots fired; you short of breathing /Barefoot, cause them kids took your Adidas”-Rick Ross, Summer Seventeen
RYTM is an amazing album where you can compare the growth of Rick Ross from “Port of Miami” to this 9th work of art. This not an album to miss.