Rick Ross certainly knows how to make a gathering feel exclusive.
Last night (Oct. 29), the MMG HNIC invited a select crop of industry heads down to Manhattan’s Spotted Pig restaurant, where we were led through a second-floor door labeled EMPLOYEES ONLY and climbed a back staircase to finally arrive in a cozy bar area where servers passed out cocktails, cheese slices and delicious quartered burgers.
The standing dinner was held to preview some tracks from Ross’ hotly anticipated new album Mastermind, which is about seven weeks from release. Ross arrived around 10:30 p.m. without his customary shades masking his eyes (the room was already dim). He was in a upbeat mood, chatting and snapping photos, as the Miami Heat closed a 107-95 rout of the Chicago Bulls on a mounted flat screen.
But LeBron’s crew was tuned out as soon as the Mastermind tunes started rocking.
No, Ross didn’t play his new collaboration with Jay-Z, “The Devil Is A Lie.” But instead it was a record inspired by another Brooklyn rap legend that captivated the room of about 35 listeners.
Ross said that he feels Biggie could relate to this record, before the 911 call audio reporting the shooting at his Rolls Royce in January begins to play. Big was infamously gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997 while seated in the passenger side of a GMC Suburban SUV.
Next, the instrumental from The Notorious B.I.G.’s “You’re Nobody (Until Somebody Kills You)” drops and Ross began to address the attempt on his own life, his vocals eerily sounding a bit like Christopher Wallace’s. French Montana does his best impression of Future Vandross as he sings on the chorus on the song, of which Rozay didn’t reveal the name.
Ross, sporting a black Diamond Supply Co. sweatsuit, Philadelphia Flyers cap and gold Jesus piece, skimmed through about six songs that mildly varied in content.
He revealed that he recorded “Francis Ford Coppola,” named for the iconic director of The Godfather, in Dubai, seeking that cinematic feel that has defined much of MMG’s work.
Meanwhile, “Ultimate Price” analyzed the true cost to be the bawse. Another record put Ross’ success into perspective, claiming that he’s living a drug dealer’s dream.
Ross says he’s still finalizing the tracklist for Mastermind, which is currently being led by the single “No Games,” which features Future.
Mastermind hits stores and iTunes on Dec. 17. —John Kennedy