Review: Rick Ross Dips Deeper Into Consciousness on 'Rather You Than Me'

Our take on the Miami rapper's ninth album

Credit: Matthew Eisman/Getty

Rick Ross' ninth album finds the Miami kingpin in a reflective mood. Musically, he's drifting through a mid-career malaise. The beats he uses are the same worn poles of yacht-rap luxury and trap bangers that he's relied on since his 2010 watermark Teflon Don. Lyrically, he's still capable of speaking truth to power with remarkable clarity. His unexpected shots at Cash Money Records paterfamilias Birdman on "Idols Become Rivals," and how he compares him to a pedophile priest, may have the Internet chattering. But more impressive is how he balances his accusations of Birdman's licentious treatment towards his artists within an analysis about the fake watches, leased Benzes and overpaid video vixens that populate rap's glamorous façade. Elsewhere, Ross shouts out Mutulu Shakur on "Santorini Reece," then adds, "White man love me when I get my bling on/But you hate me buying real estate and foreign land." He stuffs his rhymes with stray notes about his tough upbringing, and remembers on "Game Ain't Based on Sympathy" about growing up on welfare: "I thank God my kids ain't gotta see that cheese," he says. Rozay's newfound social conscience is welcome growth from the days when he bragged about knowing the real Manuel Noriega, but he's only woke to a certain point: Rather You Than Me also includes the self-explanatory "She on My Dick," and on "I Think She Like Me" he drawls, "If a pussy dry, call her Beetlejuice."