After years of hustling as the boss of MMG, Rick Ross has found himself at somewhat of a crossroads from a musical perspective. In 2014, Rozay released two albums in Mastermind and Hood Billionaire with the results being quite mixed. Despite a few highlight records from each collection, many fans found the output to be forced as well as lacking in replay value. Along with facing a variety of legal troubles, the biggest downfall of Ross’ artistry over the past few years has been the high number of generic trap songs that pale in comparison to the compellingly soulful efforts where Rozay finds himself at his best.
Coming as somewhat of a surprise release, Ross recently dropped a new project titled Black Dollar, falling somewhere between the mixtape and free album category. The project is a lengthy affair as a 17-track collection, but it arrives as a welcomed release and an interesting body of work to evaluate in comparison to Ross’ previous two LPs. Black Dollar may not have the promotional firepower of a traditional Rick Ross album release, but as a whole the project is pleasantly surprising in its cohesiveness and its high points are particularly noteworthy.
It doesn’t take long for Ross to reach an impressive pinnacle on Black Dollar. Intro track “Foreclosures” was instantly praised upon its release as a single and for good reason. Featuring the finest piece of production on the entire tape thanks to the trustworthy J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Ross finds himself in rare form considering it is 2015. Rozay unleashes his powerful delivery to discuss his recent trials and tribulations, specifically the fact that he had to hustle extra on behalf of MMG while Meek Mill was away in prison. This is the best kind of effort we can expect from Ross at this stage of his career and the fact we hear it right off the bat brings forth an added layer of excitement for the listener.
While it is tough to match any other song on Black Dollar up against “Foreclosures”, there are several other records which fuel the project with a much needed injection of authenticity for Ross. Rozay is most effective in accomplishing this greater level of quality by wisely selecting the right guests to help execute the desired results. The streets are served with anthems such as the disloyalty focused “Turn Ya Back” (ft. Gucci Mane, Meek Mill, & Whole Slab) and the lavishly booming “Money & Powder” while women take center stage on “She Wanna Fuck”, “2 Shots”, and “Take Advantage”, each of which feature heavy assists from August Alsina, Kevin Cossum, and Future respectively.
Ross doesn’t offer any mind-blowing bars or innovative subject matter on Black Dollar, but that’s never been his main attraction as an artist. Between Ross playing his role as a steady enforcer on the mic (void of lackluster attempts at trap hits) to recruiting an A list of features both vocally and behind the boards, this project offers a well-rounded and consistent listening experience. It’s fair to classify some tracks on here as average, but they hold an edge over the mediocre filler of Rozay’s last two albums and that can be chalked up as a win for fans of the MMG boss. Black Dollar will not make people fall in love with Rick Ross all over again, and critics who view his catalogue with an indifferent mindset will continue to do so. However, if you have been waiting for Rozay to regain his footing and offer up a naturally flowing project with enough standout moments to satisfy your hunger, Black Dollar proves to be the answer you are looking for.
Repeatable: “Foreclosures”, “2 Shots”
Skippable: “Beautiful Lie”, “Bel Air”
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