Rick Ross is never knowingly understated. A modern rap great, his catalogue is littered with boasts and braggadocio, an artist who wants all around him to know his worth. Yet that same catalogue also has its own hit ‘n’ miss weaknesses – always entertaining, Rick Ross can sometimes falter on quality control.
‘Richer Than I Ever Been’ is his first full length project in two years, and it’s a refreshingly punchy, coherent, and finessed return. In an era of bloated streaming-focussed projects Rick Ross instead opts for a concise 12 track statement, with guests ranging from Miami cocaine lords to modern day R&B queens.
The album opens with the voice of drug baron Willie Falcon, before ‘Little Havana’ gives way to Rick Ross’ unmistakable flow. Refusing to pull his punches, ‘Richer Than I Ever Been’ is an assertion of self-worth, with Rick Ross gathering a glittering cast, while also placing his voice front and centre.
‘Rapper Estates’ finds Rick Ross duking it out with Benny the Butcher, while ‘The Pulitzer’ revolving around that neat piano sample. ‘Outlawz’ utilises the soulful tones of Jazmine Sullivan, with 21 Savage on hand to add extra fire.
An album that dishes out fan service at every turn, not everything on this new LP connects on a creative level – the title track is repetitive, little more than Rick Ross reading out his bank statements, while aspects of the production remain too closely tied to his 00s breakout sound, and hence appear a little dated.
But perhaps that’s churlish. With features from Blxst, Yungeen Ace, Future, and Wale – amongst others – ‘Richer Than I Ever Been’ is shamelessly entertaining, the work of an artist who knows what his audience wants to hear. Punchy and effective, ‘Richer Than I Ever Been’ finds Rick Ross proving his worth all over again.
Words: Robin Murray
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