Album Review: Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t

Album Review: Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't

Music is one of the most influential and powerful tools known to man. The intangible aura that comes with being a highly appreciated artist allows them to hold an entire generation in their hands if they can captivate the masses. The slang, the style, and even the mannerisms of certain artists can be imitated and duplicated by their fans, in addition to the overwhelming support that follows. Usually it’s divided in this day and age, between a few different outlets. Music videos, radio play, and of course the world wide web all play crucial roles in building a strong fan base, but one thing an artist needs to truly take full advantage of in order to succeed, is timing.

Rick Ross has utilized all forms of promotion and expression in order to place himself at the front of the mainstream Hip Hop universe. Calling himself “The Boss” and living up to his name, he created Maybach Music Group and built his brand at a steady pace. Armed with an irresistible tag to go with the label, he created a team of ambitious and talented artists that bring various sounds and qualities to his group while completely flooding the streets with content. The effort doesn’t go unrecognized as the support and praise has come from fans and other artists alike, but it also comes with expectations.

Following the release of his 5th album Teflon Don, Ross began his campaign towards his 6th piece titled God Forgives, I Don’t with single after single before pushing the project back, much to the dismay of fans and critics worldwide. The doubt began to sink in for many, wondering if Ross had finally reached a point where his sound would become stale, after finally having the game in the palm of his hands. To maintain his presence while he worked on his next title, he released “Rich Forever”, A mixtape that was received well but left the question of whether or not the project was “too good”, that it left nothing for GFID to pull listeners with. With all of the speculation and comparisons to his rivals looming, Ross was left with a lot to dismiss which he did, as God Forgives, I Don’t was the best release Ross has had on any project yet. Now with a release that was nothing to be ashamed of, Is Ross’ latest project one that serves as a testament to his hold on Hip Hop?

Album Review: Rick Ross   God Forgives, I Dont

I guess there ain’t no nice way to tell you n*ggas it’s Game Over huh…?

A minute long clip of prayer that leads to “Pirates” a track with a sound that’s not unfamiliar to Ross’ bars. Ross claims he’s “just trying to stay afloat” and this track is calm, as Ross speaks on goals through a set of cryptic verses.

I only love her when her ass fat, we should listen to this track in my Maybach…

The epic “3 Kings” looks like a blockbuster collaboration when you see it on paper but it just feels like it’s a track that is just thrown together, similar to it’s video. Dr. Dre and Ross come together for the piece and Jay’s verse feels a bit cheap on the track despite the fact that he steals the entire show. It feels slightly like it wasn’t exactly done for the project but nonetheless the verses are great from all three despite the fact that Jay-Z steps into the spotlight last and leaves you with no choice but to acknowledge his greatness.

Got on my darkest shades, this man is made…

Soul and power emanates from the classy “Ashamed” produced by Cool & Dre. One of Ross’ biggest flaws was his content in his lyrics and we can see a difference between past projects and this. This feels more real and it’s appreciated on a beat that leaves more weight on lyrics than it does itself.

Counting new money, peeling out a venue, new Maybach after it was discontinued…

Hats off to the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, a trio of phenomenal producers who together are responsible for every installment of Maybach Music we have been blessed with thus far. The best part about this series is that between the instrumental and Ross himself, there’s a chemistry here that makes each M.Music chapter manage to be just as good as the others in one way or another. Ross has created a level of eagerness with these segments and MMIV refuses to fail, even with the lack of features in terms of fellow rappers. Ross has nothing but quality bars as he continues to show his growth while Ne-Yo croons in moments where he is absent. The switch in the beat (the various switches, actually) all feel superior to the previous installments with the only thing really hindering the track is the awkward involvement of record executive L.A. Reid who has only a few words to say before the track effortlessly switches into another gem of a record on this project…

When sixteen ain’t enough…

There’s a certain level of anticipation that comes with seeing “Featuring Andre 3000″ on anything. Following the split from Outkast, 3K has been rarely seen, allowing himself to succeed on features that come few and far between but with “Sixteen”, Ross puts 3 stacks in an ingenious scenario where he has no choice but to deliver a lengthy verse, one that holds more than 16 bars. Ross coasts with the track, delivering a solid verse but Andre 3000 meets and exceeds the standard for the record and still manages to impress, completely taking over the latter end of the track with not only a verse, but with his guitar work. All this put together with another great showing from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, and you have one of the better tracks, if not the best on this album.

Real n*gga til the day that I’m deceased, even then I hope I’m living through these beats…

Cruising music at it’s finest sums up the passionate “Amsterdam”, a chill moment of reflection and honesty from Ross’ perspective as MMG’s first lady Teedra Moses compliments the instrumental with her voice, adding a crucial layer of sound that feels necessary to the beat.

These n*ggas won’t hold me back (x10000)…

Ross’s ear in music is worthy of high regard but the repetitive “Hold Me Back” is next, and feels unoriginal, despite Ross’ growth as an artist over his previous projects. Utilizing a specific, overdone sound, Ross brings something in the lane of the typical “hard” beat for the masses to enjoy but despite the fact that the familiar beat is catchy, the rest of the track is just decent as best.

I bow my head, I pray to God…

“911” comes along next and serves as a substancial step above the previous track. Carrying along the hard hitting vibe, 911 isn’t necessarily thick with content but it’s enjoyable and serves as one of the bangers on the project that has a high level of intensity.

I’m so Sophisticated…

“So Sophisticated” sits somewhere above “Hold Me Back” and under “911” in terms of overall quality as a track but Meek’s show stealing verse is the refreshing highlight of the song without a doubt. His appearance literally makes the track.

It’s a wonderful feeling…

The mediocre “Presidential” feels like an average Rick Ross track from back in his older days, giving off a vibe that makes it feel like it was a left over. Elijah Blake’s work on the hook is decent yet short and the track overall just feels subpar.

I’m just a n*gga with an attitude, earning revenue through different avenues…

Hard hitting with the assist of MMG newcomer Omarion, Rick Ross continues to prove the addition was well worth it as they craft a fantastic cut entitled “Ice Cold.” Maybach O blends perfectly with the track itself, pushing it to a new level with a powerful hook and Ross’ lyrics continue to make this feel large in scale. Easily one of the better tracks on the project.

I’m not them other boys, She know I shine the most…

Usher and Rick Ross certainly find a certain level of comfort in working with each other as they have worked together for each other’s projects and Ross’ track comes in the form of “Touch’n You” which feels decent yet confused. Ross moves along the track at a decent pace speaking about his woman of choice while Usher serves up a lazy hook. It doesn’t feel too original but it serves it’s purpose of a cool track for the ladies.

Call me Crazy, sh*t at least you’re calling…

Opening with a poetic delivery and ending with the same type of lyricism from MMG soldier Wale, Rick Ross and Drake come together for the sultry “Diced Pineapples.” Ross’ work here couldn’t be better but Wale glows more than anything with a fitting verse, not to mention Drake’s enchanting hook that solidifies the track as a hit. A track that stands well on its own.

Things I did in the dark, will they ever see the light…?

“Ten Jesus Pieces” is one of those beats that is only as good as the artist’s work on the project and that said, this track is decent but contributes to the project well overall. One of the lesser known MMG artists on his way up, Stalley on this is a great choice as his lyrical presence is felt, and as a whole considering this is the last track on the regular edition of the project, this is a great way to end the album as a whole.

The final two tracks (only available on the deluxe edition) come from the Rich Forever mixtape. “Triple Beam Dreams” is a fantastic track featuring Nas, and “Rich Forever” featuring John Legend is ultimately the perfect way to end Ross’ project, both tracks receiving tweaks in the form of sound. The new versions aren’t dramatically different but both carry the same feel and quality in terms of message and lyricism, channeling Ross’ desire to be a legend.

Rick Ross only aspires to succeed. His route to this level has been a long one and he still has a long way to go but God Forgives, I Don’t is a marvelous release on his road to greatness. The beats are more hits than anything else, the lyrics have improved from previous albums, and almost every feature (mainly MMG related) feels necessary and compliments each track. It runs a bit long and there are a few tracks that could’ve been left off, but this still feels like Ross manages to reach the level of expectation that the game holds for him overall.

The single choices have been less than amazing, but this project as a whole is great and Ross is good for Hip Hop. The only thing he can do is continue to better himself in what he does and challenge himself to produce records that are of a higher quality than what we have received from him thus far. This is a sensational project that deserves it’s sales, but can he do better? We can only wait and see.

Album Review: Rick Ross   God Forgives, I Dont

Album Review: Rick Ross   God Forgives, I DontOVERALL: 8.5/10

Timeless Tracks: 3 Kings (Honestly and truly for the Jay-Z verse alone), Sixteen, Ice Cold, MMIV, Rich Forever

Buy Rick RossGod Forgives, I Don’t here.

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  • Charles

    your site blows, if you write something thta is way too long and boring no one is gonna read it.