Somehow, Hood Billionaire is Rick Ross’ second album of 2014. It’s a puzzling project, with no apparent commercial ambition and an unassuming amount of fan service. Even with help from Jay-Z and Metro Boomin, it’s Rozay’s most underwhelming release in years. It’s a signal that the MMG boss might be past the point of racking up sales on a major, which could actually be very advantageous. Billionaire is not so subtly pandering to his “mixtape” fan base, and that’s where he’ll cement his legacy. This is unmistakably a Rick Ross album. Pounding bass, rapid hi-hats, hooks that are just Ross… continue reading
At a glance, Seen It All: The Autobiography doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s album number five after a hit-and-miss number three and mostly rotten four, and Jeezy isn’t exactly known for switching up his shtick. SIA was met with longer-than-usual delays, it has a cheesy title and subtitle, and the Illuminati-influenced cover is about three years too late to be topical. Even with Boosie, the guest list could be not less surprising. But in spite of itself, Seen It All is a massive success that isn’t just a win for one of rap’s mainstays: it also stands… continue reading
It’s unlikely that Neon Icon will ever receive its due. The icon himself, RiFF RAFF, aka Jody Highroller, never has. His reputation as a white trash EDM Super Saiyan who stops partying just long enough to make joke raps is off putting to both die hard rap fans who dismiss him as a clown and casual listeners worried they may not be in on the joke. But while his enigmatic eccentricities will prevent Riff Raff from getting the credit he deserves as a skilled rapper and a great maker of pop songs, Neon Icon is one of the best rap… continue reading
At last, Future’s sophomore effort is here. What a long seven hundred and thirty nine days it’s been since his debut, Pluto, dropped to a less than stellar commercial reception. Fans have suffered through the delay and subsequent cancellation of the Super Future/Fire Marshal mixtape, album pushbacks, name changes (Honest was originally and awesomely titled “Future Hendrix”), a nearly canceled appearance on Drake’s “Would You Like a Tour,” and even “Real and True,” the miserably bad promo single everyone wishes they could forget (“Bang, bitch!”). But Future’s also become a king of pop and urban radio, gotten engaged to Ciara, and… continue reading
The spot for gangster rappers is getting smaller and smaller. This is especially true of MCs from the west coast and particularly Compton, the cradle of gangster rap. Look at the stars the West is churning out these days: Odd Future weirdos and decidedly non-gangster Kendrick Lamar. So how does YG, a guy so dedicated to gangbanging he’s still swapping out the “C” in “crazy” for a “K” on a major label debut, deal with a rapidly shrinking demand for his lyrical content? He hooks up with his old pal DJ Mustard to create the best West Coast album since… continue reading
Mastermind, previously slated for release on December 17th, 2013, is in stores this week. It’s Rick Ross’s sixth studio album, and his second in a row to miss a winter release—despite statements over the years by Ross and the MMG twitter account that the Untouchable Maybach Empire does not do push backs. If there’s anything we’ve learned, though, it’s not to doubt Ricky. He isn’t one to disappoint, and Mastermind finds his persona as grandiose and uncompromising as ever.