For me peak Rick Ross was around the time Teflon Don and Rich Forever, nothing he’s released since then has really captured my attention like his earlier work. He seemed to hit the same creative wall that so many artists like him have hit before. The sound and stylings that were so fresh and novel at the time started to sound outdated and tired compared to the changing soundscape around him. It’s a problem that plagues every artist who have ever reached the metaphorical top and it’s one that only a few have managed to solve. I never thought that Ross would ever be able to reach those heights again, but after hearing a few singles from Rather You Than Me, I was hopeful that he could come close.
“We in the last days, these racist agendas Blatant double standards because I’m a nigga Jesse Jackson on them people payroll (fuck him) When you black, lips chapped ’cause the game cold I’m givin’ niggas jobs when I sing songs (let’s go) White man love me when I get my bling on (nigga) But you hate me buyin’ real estate in foreign land (what)”
Rather You Than Me pretty much follows the same formula he’s been employing for the past 5 albums or so. A plethora of luxurious rap beats broken up by a few sprinklings of trap bangers. It’s a formula that worked very well for him early on his career, but one that’s become a bit stale and predictable. With that being said, he still does have one of the best ears for production in the game, in particular when it comes to the more decadent productions. “Santorini Greece”, “Scientology”, and “Game Ain’t Based On Sympathy” are all full of the rich strings and plush horns we’ve come to expect from a Ross song. While “Trap Trap Trap”, “Dead Presidents”, and “She On My Dick” are the aforementioned trap sprinklings he went with on the album. They’re not outright bad, but they are some of the least interesting offerings off the tape and they all feel a bit tired, never coming close to the level of some of his earlier trap classics like “B.M.F.”
“Sacrificin’ half our life for your new music cult You would give us self esteem and motivate our drive But was in our pockets by the time we count to five 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?”
Lyrically this is some of his best work since Teflon Don, he really offers up some memorable verses and this is probably the most reflective I’ve ever heard him. “Idols Become Rivals” will probably be the song that gets the most attention from people, and rightfully so because he eviscerates Baby and the situation with Lil Wayne; but there’s a number of songs off the album that had me the most excited I’ve been for a Ross verse in quite some time. He sounds re-energized and with a renewed focus on substance over style, Rather You Than Me turned out to be one of his best projects in some years.
Have you heard Rather You Than Me? What’d you think about it? Was it a return to form for him? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
At times, Rather You Than Me falls victim to sounding too formulaic and predictable, especially in some of it's production choices, but a strong lyrical showing with a renewed focus on substance over style make this one of Ross' best projects in years.