Sincerely, it happened like this – I got this CD in the mail on Tuesday, popped it in the deck, figuring “fuck it, why not?”…and you know that feeling you get when you’re expecting nothing and you keep getting something? That’s how this album moved.
Sure, there’s a few things bringin it down, namely the proliferation of features & the concept of the skits. But, they don’t do enough to make me even begin to downgrade Ross’ performance on the album. Nor do they do anything to devalue the beats, which had either woo’ed me or had a definite mid 90’s Suave House sound, both bass and synth heavy.
Composed of earlier material from when he was first discovered in 2000, the content is the same Ross we know now & in spots it’s dated but perhaps a little more aggressively honest with his words & grounded. Tracks like “Hold Me Down” are kept free of the floss and gloss talk, focusing more on his relationship with his people locked down, and then “Strapped” presents us with that rapper fresh off the streets, still slightly ‘noid. The songs that stand out the most have to be “Dear Lord” featuring Scarface, “Prove Me Wrong” with Devin and the bouncy “Street Love” with Next. The former is especially moving as Ross exposes more of himself as an artist able to vary his flow as the beat tempo changes paces and ‘Face…you’ll have to listen. “B.L.O.W.” with the Clipse doing their usual patty-cake verses (“he called ki’s God’s pillows…”) is a strong proving point as to why Ross was discovered. He holds his own easily on all the features with bigger names, running line for line, easily doing so with Pusha & the topic being illegal business.
Overall, thumbs up. On a mundane Tuesday, there was a nice something to ride to that’s made it for a few days in the whip. Don’t get it twisted. There are a few tired tracks but the ones that standout do so like giants. It won’t change the world, nor will it receive rave reviews or attention. But sometimes, it’s those sleeper albums that work the best for us as listeners.
Oh yeah…I can’t give you the full album since I got it from the promo company, but I can throw you a few worth bones.
Rick Ross – Rise To Power (Sampler)
1. Get That Bread
3. Hold Me Down
Will.I.Am Ft. Busta Rhymes – I Got It From My Mama [Remix]
Hell Rell Ft. Lil Fame & Styles P. – Hardest Out
Freeway – Flashing Lights Freestyle
Slick Pulla (USDA) – It’s Slick (prod. by Mannie Fresh)
J-Hood – I’ma Get A Deal With Who?
Young Chris Ft. Lil Wayne – How We Roll
Alchemist Ft. Prodigy & Nina Sky – Key To The City