17 Songs, 1 Hour 10 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Beset by attacks on his character — including the revelation of his past history as a correctional officer, and a slew of defamation stunts launched by 50 Cent — Rick Ross was in danger of losing all credibility. But his detractors ire has given him focus, and Deeper Than Rap embraces a kind of sleek, low-key funk and proves to be his most consistent effort to date. Replete with wah guitar, rim cracks and rotund bass, “Magnificent,” “Yacht Club,” “Rich Off Cocaine” and “Gunplay” echo the live instrumentation of the Roots and funk-laden authority of Scarface. Of course, there are a couple songs that delve into signature Miami glitz: “Lay Back” might be a tad too saccharine, but “All I Really Want” is the ideal futuristic club jam. Ross uses most of his lyrics to reassure listeners that his public relations problems have not stopped him from living the high life, but when he decides to vent his rage in “Valley of Death,” the results are downright venomous. With Deeper Than Rap, Ross is once again rhyming with purpose, the fire in his belly stoked by controversy that could have paralyzed a lesser rapper.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Beset by attacks on his character — including the revelation of his past history as a correctional officer, and a slew of defamation stunts launched by 50 Cent — Rick Ross was in danger of losing all credibility. But his detractors ire has given him focus, and Deeper Than Rap embraces a kind of sleek, low-key funk and proves to be his most consistent effort to date. Replete with wah guitar, rim cracks and rotund bass, “Magnificent,” “Yacht Club,” “Rich Off Cocaine” and “Gunplay” echo the live instrumentation of the Roots and funk-laden authority of Scarface. Of course, there are a couple songs that delve into signature Miami glitz: “Lay Back” might be a tad too saccharine, but “All I Really Want” is the ideal futuristic club jam. Ross uses most of his lyrics to reassure listeners that his public relations problems have not stopped him from living the high life, but when he decides to vent his rage in “Valley of Death,” the results are downright venomous. With Deeper Than Rap, Ross is once again rhyming with purpose, the fire in his belly stoked by controversy that could have paralyzed a lesser rapper.

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About Rick Ross

Tattooed with pictures of AK-47s, Miami's six-foot, 300-pound rap figure known as Rick Ross embraced his city's reputation for drug trafficking on his debut single, "Hustlin'," in 2006. While Atlanta and Houston artists were establishing their cities as Southern strongholds, Ross aimed at putting Miami back in rap's national spotlight. Ross, real name William Roberts, grew up in Carol City, Florida, an impoverished northern suburb of Miami. Influenced by artists like Luther Campbell and the Notorious B.I.G., Roberts formed local rap group the Carol City Cartel and began rapping in the mid-'90s. (He took his rap name from Los Angeles drug kingpin "Freeway" Rick Ross, who ran one of the largest crack cocaine distribution networks in the country during the '80s and early '90s.) Ross had a brief stint on Suave House Records, former label of Eightball & MJG, before he ended up on Miami-based Slip 'N' Slide Records, the label home of Trick Daddy and Trina. During the early to mid-2000s, he became popular and well-known locally through touring with Trick Daddy and appearing as a guest on a few Slip 'N' Slide releases, but didn't release any solo material until 2006.

Once "Hustlin'" caught the ear of a few executives within the national industry, a bidding war ensued that included offers from Bad Boy CEO Sean "Diddy" Combs and The Inc (formerly Murder Inc) president Irv Gotti. Nonetheless, Def Jam president and veteran rapper Jay-Z signed Ross to a multi-million-dollar deal. The Miami anthem "Hustlin'" went on to receive gold status from the RIAA in May 2006 and sold over a million ringtone units before the physical release of his debut album, Port of Miami. Released in August 2006, Ross' debut was Slip 'N' Slide's first project under the Def Jam partnership, and it went to number one on the Billboard album chart. His follow-up, Trilla, was released the following year, prefaced with the Cool & Dre-produced title track. Early 2009 saw the release of Deeper Than Rap, an album greeted with numerous positive reviews in the hip-hop press. In early 2010 he released the Teflon Don album featuring the hit single "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)." The star-studded God Forgives, I Don't followed in 2012, with guest shots from Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige.

At the start of 2013, he announced details of his sixth studio album. He enlisted the help of Scott Storch and DJ Khaled as executive producers and released the pre-album single "No Games" featuring Future. The album, titled Mastermind, landed in March of 2014 with the simultaneous release of the single "War Ready" featuring Young Jeezy. Just six months later, Ross announced that he would be releasing his seventh studio album, Hood Billionaire, toward the end of 2014. The album arrived in November of that year and was preceded by the singles "Elvis Presley Blvd." and "Keep Doin' That (Rich Bitch)." In 2015, he dropped Black Dollar, a high-profile official mixtape that featured production from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Jake One. The mixtape previewed that year's official album, Black Market, which landed late in the year, along with the accompanying single "Sorry" featuring Chris Brown. Future, Mary J. Blige, and Nas also made guest appearances on the LP.

In 2016, Ross appeared with electronic producer Skrillex on the Suicide Squad film soundtrack cut "Purple Lamborghini," which went on to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media. The Maybach don returned the following year with his ninth set, Rather You Than Me, which featured lead singles "Buy Back the Block" with 2 Chainz and Gucci Mane, and "I Think She Like Me" with Ty Dolla $ign. The album peaked in the Top Three of the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Early the next year, he issued the single "Florida Boy" with T-Pain and Kodak Black. ~ Cyril Cordor

HOMETOWN
Carol City, FL
BORN
January 28, 1976

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