Remember when Rick Ross crashed his whip in a drive-by shooting, then Reebok dropped him and the heat from his “U.O.E.N.O.” verse controversy appeared as if The Fat Man’s Maybach had its “check engine” light cut on? Yeah, no.
MMG’s head honcho relied on the same tactic of zoning in on music he’s always employed when, proverbially speaking, “shit hit the fan.” He did so in 2008 when news of his correctional officer past exploded. And he did so a year later when 50 Cent evaporated every trick in his wicked and storied arsenal to send Ross’ music, image and growing empire to career purgatory alongside Ja Rule. In a sense, Ross’ ability to never break character has amounted as his signature gift and curse during his matriculation to rap’s penthouse suite.
Meanwhile, moves continued to be made and similar to 2012, MMG’s gearing up for a hectic summer of releases from Wale, Stalley, Meek Mill, Omarion, hopefully Gunplay, Rockie Fresh, the label as a whole with Self Made 3 and possibly Rozay’s Mastermind heading into fall. The counter to Ross’ obvious and numerous personal hindrances has always been work ethic and the ability to craft a solid tune when he absolutely needed one.
Enter “Oil Money Gang.”
Credit Ross and his ear for production; a longstanding and widely accepted strong suit. But it’s J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League deserving of equal, if not more, for their consistent aptitude of lacing him with music that sounds perfectly catered to cocktail hours on yachts off the coast of Dubai. It wasn’t even so much as to what he was saying, but rather how arrogantly and confidently Ross weaved throughout lyrics like:
It’s amazing to be alive when niggas wants you to die
Mad at every check you deposit, I see it all in they eyes
I’ma stunt harder, I’ma shop more
Black bell boy, Persian rugs at the door
Giving niggas jobs, living like the mob
A scotch in the soda anastasia.com
People talking ’bout me, say I got a body
Or are they mad at me that the house got a lobby?
Reading the lyrics pales in comparison to how they came off on wax. It was dipping fresh crab meat into melted butter and Old Bay. It was popping the cork on a vintage, chilled bottle of champagne. It was flipping the “delusions of grandeur” Ross detractors headline their disdain with and creating a rap Fantasy Island-like tale seen in verses of yesteryear. The verdict remains in the air if “Oil Money” is a single or simply a look into what SM3 will offer come August 6, not that it even much matters in the grand scheme. Nevertheless, it is Ross at his most potent, original and, most importantly, entertaining.
Not to go without saying either, Jadakiss benefited, too. It’s still weird seeing Al-Qaeda Jada abandon the baldie; especially now with his hairline eerily reminiscent to that of Paul George. With recent projects that’ve largely come and gone with the wind, ‘Kiss made the most of the assist from Ross. It was a reminder while Jada’s “top five dead or alive” prophecy was a reach, buddy can still – in his own words – “rip a nigga beat like I bought it.” And of course, with any and everything MMG, marketing is vital. The video crash lands before the song can even be uploaded to Hulkshare detailing the lavishness described in the audio montage.
Introspection isn’t Rick Ross’ calling card, despite having the ability to prove otherwise at moments. On the flip side, trunk-heavy anthems have been a selling point for Ricky; “BMF” obviously remaining the most relevant example of this.
But luxury rap? Luxury rap is Ross’ lane. Not many rappers can turn Hampburger Helper into filet mignon, a wood-tip Black and Mild into a Cuban cigar or a Toyota Camry into a six-figure condo on wheels faster than Ross.