At some point in almost every rapper’s career, he or she releases an album that feels subpar compared to previous efforts. In the months leading up to Rick Ross’ latest release, Mastermind, we thought his sixth project might very well turn out to be that album for him. Its first two promotional singles, “Box Chevy” and “No Games,” didn’t chart well. The release date was changed several times. And Mastermind didn’t feel like it’d be as successful as some of Ross’ earlier works.
So imagine our surprise when we pressed play on Mastermind and—surprise—discovered that it’s not a disappointment. In fact, you could argue that it’s one of the better albums Ross has released in recent years. That’s not to say it’s a classic or the best album Ross has ever produced (that honor still belongs to Deeper Than Rap). But it’s much better than we thought it would be. Here are 6 reasons why Rick Ross wins again with Mastermind.