The Score: "On 'God Forgives, I Don't' - [Rick Ross'] One Of The Top Bosses Not Just In Hip-Hop But In Music Period"

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 12:52PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Buy Now
  • God Forgives, I Don't
  • Rick Ross
  • July 31, 2012
Idolator 3/5
LA Times 3/4
AMNY 3/5
Rolling Stone 4/5
Versed 3.5/5

It's been roughly two years since Rick Ross' last album, Teflon Don, invaded store shelves but today (July 31), after building a Maybach Music Group empire and maintaining his stance as one of hip-hop's elite, the "Boss" is back to rule the charts with God Forgives, I Don't.

For his fifth solo album, Ross makes it known he is here to reign supreme in hip-hop.

Throughout his career, Rick Ross has declared himself a "bawse." On his latest album, "God Forgives, I Don't," the Miami rapper continues to live up to his catchphrase, proving he's one of the top bosses not just in hip-hop, but in music period. His fifth solo album in six years is loaded with undeniable quality tunes, making his new offering his most well-balanced piece of work to date. It's clear that the burly, bearded Ross - who normally dons black shades - has made strides as a lyricist and storyteller. His husky voice is full of bravado with eloquence that is easy to digest. He stays in his familiar lane, rapping about grimy street life, his large stash of cash, luxury cars, women and his rise from rags to riches. (Huffington Post)

While Ross is a star in his own right, he made sure to pack the new album with a flurry of hip-hop heavyweights.

The features on God Forgives are entertaining, if unfocused. On "Sixteen", Andre 3000 is at his very best, insisting he's got more to say than sixteen bars will allow: "How's he God if he lets Lucifer let loose on us?/ That noose on us won't loosen up, but loose enough to juice us up/Make us think we do so much and do it big/Like they don't let us win, I can't pretend/But I do admit, it feel good when the hood pseudo-celebrate/Hence, why every time we dine we eat until our belly aches." It's rap virtuouso. Then, inexplicably, at Rozay's urging, the man who will play Jimi Hendrix in a biopic plays a guitar solo. It consists of about six notes. It is unbearable. "3 Kings" is similarly rote. On it, Dr. Dre seems to believe he needs to get the word out about his headphones. And thanks to Jay-Z, we're clear on the fact that well, we just can't relate to his daughter's room. It's cool to hear Hov so enamored by baby Blue Ivy, but his spot on "3 Kings" is a long road from "Glory". "Diced Pineapples" is the obligatory Drake appearance; on "Touch N' You" Rozay falls in love with a little help from Usher. (Ebony)

The "Boss" places just as much emphasis on his star-studded guest features as with his elite line-up of producers.

There are human-size details throughout: His wish to see "each one of my kids born," on "Amsterdam"; his mom's minimum-wage salary, on "Ashamed." Ross' favorite scale, though, is still Big & Tall - he remains rap's reigning maximalist. On "Maybach Music IV," where J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League set louche electric guitars atop hotel-spa synths, he raps, "Get a blowjob, have a seizure on the Lear" - a reference to two seizures he had in 2011. (One was on a Delta flight, which doesn't have quite the same ring.) Ross is a restless eccentric masquerading as a no-frills traditionalist, and his best boasts go overboard to the point of incoherence. Over blissful chants on the Pharrell-produced "Presidential," he brags about "walking on Jewish marble." (Balling at a synagogue?) On "911," mashing together materialism and fatalism, he fantasizes about driving his Porsche to heaven. (Rolling Stone)

The new LP serves as Ross' fifth studio album in only six years.

Happily, Ross declines to downsize on "God Forgives, I Don't," which arrives following a lengthy delay, presumably attributable to the rapper's health troubles. The new disc extends an over-the-top hot streak that began with 2009's "Deeper Than Rap" and includes "Teflon Don," from 2010; it's rooted in the same lush production sound and name-checks just as many ultra-high-end luxury brands -- even the Lear jet on which the second of his seizures struck. (Los Angeles Times)

Although scattered with accolades, some critics pointed out Ross' lack of originality and content at some points of the new solo effort.

While there might be some degree of variety throughout the album, it's completely restricted to what would be at home on pop focused radio stations. It's definitely enjoyable, but outside of "Sixteen" it doesn't do anything too interesting or original. It's mostly paint-by-numbers hip hop/pop designed for the masses (which isn't a bad thing), and it doesn't take many risks (which might be). It's probably a must buy for any Ross fan, or anyone who's into the MMG sound already. However, with the list of albums that have dropped recently, and those about to be released, it's tough to say this is going to be one of the top albums of the year, as the hype surrounding it would make some believe. It's definitely worth at least one listen even if you aren't a MMG or Ross die hard, but it probably isn't going to be going down in hip hop history by any means. (The Versed)
Ross' straightforward rhymes won't send anyone racing for the repeat button, unlike some of his top-flight guests, especially André 3000, whose supple, intricate verses on "Sixteen" are unmatched on the album. Though his writing has improved, Ross is still captivated by fragments of ideas (like "911," about dropping the top on his Porsche in the hereafter), and stepping back is perhaps his greatest skill. Ross has transformed himself into the tubby lodestone of modern rap, building a strong stable of artists under his Maybach banner and drawing Jay-Z, Usher, Dr. Dre, Nas (ominous here on "Triple Beam Dreams") and Mary J. Blige into his orbit. (AMNY)

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