Teflon Don couldn’t have been lightning in a bottle. Rick Ross’ fourth solo LP is too fluid of a production. The storytelling is crisp, his philosophies—whether they’re William Leanord Roberts’ or his Rozay caricature—are interesting and the track selection is done from a high-level A&R’s POV. And although God Forgives I Don’t didn’t match the pedigree of Teflon there are moments of brilliance as Rozay was still writing with purpose.
Since then he’s turned into a start-up mogul who acquires currency from various avenues. Running several brands takes time, so something has to suffer. In Ross’ case it’s his pen on Hood Billionaire, his second long play this year. He’s not meticulous, stringing thoughts together that dart out in various directions. Rarely is there a linear theme. Scratch that. There is one. Drug-dealer chic narratives told from a Don who sells coke but isn’t opposed to moving the cheap stuff either. He loves the trap, is bummed out about his phone being tapped and lastly, loves women. Especially rich ones who have dogs named after the Porsche Panamera.
It’s street cinema, we guess. Some Scarface with a dash of Menace II Society. The overdose of drug talk isn’t the entire issue here (It could be scaled back.). The product just isn’t a high-grade of cook up. There’s the occasional good china white songs. But those are surrounded by a lot of low-quality nickel bags.
VIBE broke down the track listing in GIFs so you can sample the potent material.
SONG: “Hood Billionaire”
SUMMARY: It’s great to be the man. Here Ross has sex with plenty women. So much so he can’t recall their government names, which is extraordinary or irresponsible depending on how you see things. Also noteworthy: He has a kilo at the hotel and if you owe Ross money, pay him. The alternative won’t be a good experience.
SONG: “Coke Like the 80s”
SUMMARY: Have you seen Wolf of Wall Street? You get that decade’s drug overkill then. Rick Ross is serving white on that level, which affords him fish tanks in the living room and sex in strip clubs.
SUMMARY: The song is filled with ’80s boxing name drops: Mike Tyson, Don King and Robin Givens, which fits the title. The battle here is Ross’s addiction to the trap despite his wealth. “So in love with the trap I bought a house ‘cross the street,” he says. The line about his dysfunctional family member also hits hard. “Cousin certified killer/when he died I cried a river.”
SONG : “Neighborhood Drug Dealer”
SUMMARY: No Mister Rogers shit here. Don’t plan on borrowing any sugar from Rozay. He’ll “pull up to the bridge and put that thing to your rib.” Gunplay.
SONG: “Phone Tap”
SUMMARY: One of the better songs on the album, Ross tells a story of betrayal. His right hand since 4th grade started yapping to the cops. “Had tears in my eyes as you took the oath,” says Rozay. When he’s scripting narratives like this he’s completely engaging. The story isn’t as developed as The Firm’s version, but it’s a solid record.
SONG: “Trap Luv” featuring Yo Gotti
SUMMARY: Rozay gets lyrical motivation from Yo Gotti, who raps about having one foot in the street while the other tip toes around the music industry (“I be strapped on stage, fuck the award shows/’cause I shoot this shit up and only God knows”). Ross is sharp, slick and stays on theme, showing the mind state of a desperate soul (“Niggas riding gold rims and they mama po’/And they kill their family member for that envelope”). Dope-boy dynamic duo.
SONG: “Elvis Presley BLVD”
SUMMARY: Moving that dope.
SONG: “Movin’ Bass” featuring Jay-Z
SUMMARY: After the Grammy nomination and various spoils of success, Rozay is still the same ‘ol G movin’ bass. Jay-Z on the hook.
SONG: “If They Knew” featuring K. Michelle
SUMMARY: Good girl meets bad guy. All the couture trappings are here (Chanel, Goyard, etc). But Ross isn’t tricking. She’s not side chick status. His new lady helps ease the pain of a man suffering from success.
SONG: “Qunitessential” featuring Snoop Dogg
SUMMARY: Over Pharrell-inspired chords, Ross and Snoop have a bragfest. Ross goes from mob ties to 60 women in the basement. Snoop follows with a pimp’s perspective while subtly letting it be known that he is the west coast.
SONG: “Keep Doing That (Rich Bitch)” featuring R. Kelly
SUMMARY: Classic Pied Piper. Kellz should hijack this track and throw it to the web. A little info on this woman who is financially stable, per R. Kelly’s verse: “I be feastin’ on Tinder, she taste just like peaches/Diamond-studded La Perla/that pussy’s prestigious/Yeah, she remind me of somethin’ but that shit ain’t my Jeep…”
SONG: “Nickel Rock” featuring Lil’ Boosie
SUMMARY: Dealers have to start somewhere. Remembering their rookie rock days Ross and Boosie talk about doing a lot with a little. Ross paid his mom’s electricity and light bills then copped his first pair of Jordans. Boosie got his first blowjob.
SUMMARY: Scoring like Jordan. Stunting like Baby. Andy Warhols throughout his mama’s house. And a member of the Jewish mob. They wanna see Ross’ demise but he won’t allow it. “50 Kilos im flippin, that’s money I can burn,” says Ross.
SONG: “Family Ties”
SUMMARY: Smoothed out Ross gets into a Godfather state of mind. Half brag raps, half introspection, the record feels good. There’s also a few Francis Ford Coppola name drops for good measure.
SONG: “Brimstone” featuring Big K.R.I.T.
SUMMARY: Life isn’t all seven-figure cars. Things weren’t always easy for Ross. Now that the financial burden is gone this record lets us in on different issues. This unguarded approach is what’s needed more from the MC. Him praying to a higher power to help him through his struggles scratches the surface but we need more scriptures from the real life of Rozay