Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deeper than Rap - Album Review

Most of you have been patiently waiting my thoughts on Deeper than Rap, Rick Ross’s third studio album. I’ve remained silent because I really wanted to get the best opinion together and I didn’t want to get upset at anyone who wasn’t feeling the album as much as I was and still am. I think the album has all pertinent tracks and no waste tracks, as some hip hop albums have a tendency to do. Whether or not you like the track or not, it’s still a quality track for the overall track listing.

From a production standpoint this album sounds a lot like the Blueprint. When I first heard the album I could just see the Jay-Z influence into the project. Lots of live instruments, of course you can tell that there was some studio beat makers, but there are a ton of tracks that you could so see Rick Ross vibing out with a live band.

From a political standpoint the way he’s handled the 50 beef is commendable. Did he escape the 50 Cent beef unscathed? No. However, his career isn’t over by any sense of the term. And so 50 hasn’t and didn’t win. I’ve always felt 50 was a joke. I think the way Rick Ross stayed poised and dismissed 50’s attacks at times as useless and foolish was a great way to handle it. If you listen to the album in about 3 or 4 tracks on the album he addresses the 50 beef directly in one-liners or sly 16’s, he does not seem to be obsessed with 50, as much as 50 has been obsessed with him. I also thought it would be very important to note the people that Rick Ross surrounds himself with alienates 50 in a way that regardless of the support he gets from Eminem and Dr. Dre, he really could never get rid of Rick Ross. Let’s see, Jay-Z, Nas, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye, Fat Joe, and Game just to name a few. People may not think these names are that important, but they all have staying power and are quick to side with Ross before 50 Cent. I mean, who does 50 Cent have on his side? No one. Per usual.

Lyrically, you can see the gross improvement in his talent. If you have ever heard Port of Miami you can tell that Ross had some lyrical talent, but lacked the total package of someone who would be respected lyrically. He just really had great beats and an ear for the streets. The delta between Port of Miami and Trilla parallels with the delta between College Dropout and Late Registration. Likewise, the delta between Trilla and Deeper than Rap parallels Late Registration to Graduation. I am clear.

To a Rick Ross fan this will be a classic album, to the regular hip hop fan, they probably never took the time to listen, so it will not be. I mean it really bothers me how some people are quick to dismiss rap artists. I think Jay-Z said it best, “Do you fools listen to music, or do you just skim through it?” I still remember how many of my close friends though Weezy was trash until I would trap them in my car and play Tha Carter II, non-stop. After they took a good listen they agreed, the kid was uber-talented.

I gave this album a 3.5/5. To give a holistic idea of my scale, a perfect album would receive a 5. The perfect albums are not debatable. I’ll give you a few examples; The Score, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Illmatic, All Eyez on Me, Blueprint and Ready to Die are perfect albums, exhibiting no weaknesses. An example of a 4/5 would be; American Gangster, Paper Trail, Graduation, etc. Rick Ross will make it to studio album four and if this album is an indication of what’s to come then I’d say he’s in a good position to have a few more albums.

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