Deeper Than Rap
The number one expectation when listening to a Rick Ross album lies with the production, and in this aspect, Deeper Than Rap does not disappoint. The majority of the sound here is very rich without sounding overproduced and shiny. Whether listening to the minimalistic claps over heavy organs in "Mafia Music" or the swanky yet defiant keys and horns in "Yacht Club," there's little to complain in the musical department. Still, there's definitely some fluff, particularly when Ross relies on R&B tracks. The "All I Really Want" is far too shiny and the same can be said of "Lay Back." To its credit, the former has an infectious hook courtesy of The-Dream, while the latter may be the worst of Robin Thicke's [click to read] career.
Immediately evident, even more so than the stellar production, is Ross' vastly improved emceeing. Big Daddy Kane [click to read] he ain't, but no longer is Ross simply talking over tracks. While his flows aren't complicated or astonishing in the least, they are clean and he rides the beat well. Perhaps it's a testament to how bad his prior technical abilities were rather than his current ones are; either way, he's definitely gotten better. One need look no further than "Mafia Music" [click to read] where Ross confidently rhymes, "That boy had it hard, no facade it's the truth/So now when I ménage and get massaged it's the proof/Proof's in the pudding and that baking soda takin'/Paper dat I'm makin' gotta take them photos naked/Listenin' to niggas like whistlin' at Wendy Williams/I flip my middle finger, I'm chillin on twenty million/The rumors turn me on I'm masturbating at the top/These hoes so excited so they catchin' every drop/I'm dodging debacles like pot holes in Jamaica/We cut down the weed, bury the paper on them acres/Martin had a dream, Bob got high/I still do both but somehow I got by."
While Rick Ross can't keep the topic of cocaine interesting for nearly as long as artists like The Clipse [click to read], Raekwon [click to read] or Jay-Z [click to read], and songs like "Rich Off Cocaine" are painfully monotonous, nothing is worse than his insistence to rap about sex for a sizable portion of the album. While it would be unfair to accuse Rick Ross of trying to appeal to everyone, his reach definitely surpasses his grasp on these tracks. On "All I Really Want," Ross delivers laughable lines like "Who can hit it more faster/I'm talking authentic orgasms.../She said life is a journey/I need mine just like my attorney." And what's the point of "Face?" It's "Getting' Some Head" part two. The only purpose songs like these serve are to make the otherwise commonplace subject matter of drugs and violence more interesting.
While Rick Ross' third outing could benefit from fewer R&B tracks, there's no denying his choice in production or his improved writing. Solid guest spots from Nas, John Legend and Kanye also contribute to what ends up being an extremely solid album. Similar to fellow rappers The Game [click to read] and Young Jeezy [click to read], Ross continues to develop a reputation for being able to put together a complete product - despite repetitive subject matter. So no, there's not much depth to Deeper than Rap, but that doesn't supersede its impressive execution.