Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the most obviously fraudulent real rap star of all time

Remember rappers? Like, Rap Stars? They were cool because they rapped real well and released albums that were filled with these really good rap songs. Now they stage lame beefs or experiment with corny effects/act mad fruity or act just corny in general or are Lil Wayne.

Rick Ross is the most curious case of rap stardom in the 00's by far. He is not a great rapper (though this certainly hasn't stopped a number of dudes from crossing over) and his subject matter has pretty much never wavered from the ridiculously hyperbolic persona of a drug kingpin, a stance that got a little prickly when it was revealed that the guy who goes by "Rick Ross" (a name borrowed from a real Miami drug kingpin) was actually at one point a corrections officer. So it seems the cards were stacked against him. What does he do? Release only dope albums and kind of pretend like he has no idea what everyone's talking about (ignorance was bliss until he bit for Curtis' beef, a slight mistake in an otherwise flawless stretch). Rick Ross albums are lush, thumping, bass-rattling hymns to drug dealing, living lavishly in a way that should be well beyond any normal person's wildest dreams, women, and cars. Consistent and listenable, while maybe not mind-blowing or technically great, Ross has proven himself to be an album rapper, something that would have been unfathomable in 2005 when he broke out with "Hustlin." But dude is poised to come out with his third good album of the decade, the same number as Jay-Z in the 00's.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that this guy doesn't really know Noriega (the real Noriega) and doesn't roll around with 10 black Maybachs back to back in a lane. A lot of rappers make really questionable claims, but perhaps no other rapper in recent memory has been so wholly doubtful than Rick Ross. So how did he do it? He raps and makes jams. Period. Take a lesson Curtis.

The first track to come out off of Ross' upcoming Deeper Than Rap was shocking to many internet Ross haters, mostly because it was so raw that they couldn't deny it. Ross is a disciple of the organ and drum-fill synth-pillow sound, a school of beatmaking that gives his hoarse baritone a suitably luxurious atmosphere in which to wax leisurely. The dude plays the melodramatic kingpin as well as Vince Curatola (OHhhh!). Slow and heavy is his M.O. and making choices like this, to not fall for the typical traps that concerned studio gangster rappers usually do (again save for the 50 beef), is why he can't be dismissed as just a laughable caricature.

Two more off Deeper Than Rap, "Cigar Music" and "Shittin On Em" ft. Birdman and Busta, are equally dope. In a world where rap beefs are carried out on Youtube it's nice to just ignore the bullshit and let a rapper do what he does best, even if it is wildly questionable. Now let's step away from the RSS feed and open up some champagne and possibly dive off a bridge into the ocean.