CD Review: Rick Ross -- 'God Forgives, I Don't'
'God Forgives, I Don't'
From his solo debut ('06s "Port of Miami"), Rick Ross seemed destined for caricature - a larger-than-large figure spouting beefy anthems of Florida excess.
But like a punch line made funny through repetition, he has stood tall, taken his lumps and gold-plated them. In an era when doubts and neuroses take center stage on cuts by Drake and the Weeknd, Ross has embraced his role as rap's most fabulous fabulist, pumping out bass-heavy tracks built to make you feel eight-feet wide, each "Ruh!" a raspy call to power.
His fifth studio album, "God Forgives, I Don't," is stacked with brawny, Paul Bunyan-sized sagas saturated in rap's hoariest hustler mythologies. Ripe with details about kilos and killers, these are city fables, no different from the pickup truck parables of equally wealthy country stars.
Ross' straightforward rhymes won't send anyone racing for the repeat button, unlike some of his top-flight guests, especially André 3000, whose supple, intricate verses on "Sixteen" are unmatched on the album. Though his writing has improved, Ross is still captivated by fragments of ideas (like "911," about dropping the top on his Porsche in the hereafter), and stepping back is perhaps his greatest skill. Ross has transformed himself into the tubby lodestone of modern rap, building a strong stable of artists under his Maybach banner and drawing Jay-Z, Usher, Dr. Dre, Nas (ominous here on "Triple Beam Dreams") and Mary J. Blige into his orbit.
The slick "God Forgives" could do with some slimming down, but it simply wouldn't be Rick Ross without tipping the scales.