Review: Jay Z Sends Mixed Messages On Rick Ross’ ‘Devil Is A Lie’

Features

/ December 20, 2013

It’s one of those inexplicable wonders that will fry your brain if you dwell on it for too long period of time.

Posted somewhere between such strange bedfellows as people that take FOX News as journalistic gospel and Chief Keef’s entire practical joke of career is this dose of illogical truth: Rick Ross and Jay-Z make an exceptional team. Yet early on such a pair seemed laughable. Ross, the loquacious, larger-than-life Maybach Music Group CEO, has become a consistently powerful headliner within this rinse-and-repeat era of SoundCloud despite the fact that the authenticity of his past Miami exploits as a dope-pushing bawse of all bosses has been proven to be anything but legit. On the flip side, Jay-Z has built up a Teflon reputation as the real deal; a Brooklyn-born rhyme icon that has actually experienced the dangerous spoils of hustling as a mid-level crack dealer on his way to arguably becoming hip-hop’s most towering success story.

And yet, there is an explosive, event-like chemistry that pops when the two representatives hit the booth together as heard on such ear-candy compositions as “Maybach Music,” the Dr. Dre-featured “3 Kings,” and the peak-level perfection of “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt.” Ross’ and Jay’s latest collaboration, “The Devil is a Lie,” (taken from Rosay’s upcoming album Mastermind) travels the same majestic terrain. Its dusty-yet-authoritative horns blares out like a get-this-money call to arms as Ricky opens up the track with reckless, shit-talking abandon.

“Say a nigga name and the car start/Nigga switching lane to lane like WalMart,” he announces.

No, Ross isn’t trying to inject some thought-provoking introspection into the party. This is blatant ‘hood-inflected hubris, a shameless angle that served Ross well when he nearly stole the show on Jigga’s Magna Carta … Holy Grail off of sheer energy alone.

So it’s only right that Jay-Z repays the favor on “The Devil is a Lie.” This time, Mr. Carter targets the critics who claim that he is the grand wizard of some soulless Beelzebub-worshiping, money-obsessed secret society.

“Is Hova atheist?” he queries. “I never fuck with True Religion.” Jay then goes for the blunt approach: “Gotta be illuminati if a nigga shine…Oh we gotta be the devil that’s some nigga shit.” This is one of the attributes we want to hear out of our MC’s, right? Some serious barebones shit to dissect, debate and ponder. What we don’t need, however, is Jay trolling his reasonable detractors following the fallout over his controversial business deal with Barney’s after the luxury clothing store made headlines for blatant racial profiling.

“You seen what I did to the stop and frisk/Brooklyn on the Barney’s like we own the bitch/Give the money to the hood, now we all win.” Sometimes it’s best to know when to cut your losses and take the L. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)