Rick Ross, 'God Forgives, I Don't': Track-By-Track Review
Everyone has their own story of struggle. There's no denying Rick Ross has one. He's proven so since his first debut album, "Port of Miami," which is laced with rhymes of his dope-boy days. But Ross' fifth studio album, "God Forgives, I Don't," tells a cinematic rags-to-riches tale of Ross, focusing more on the perks of success than digging deeper into the past's toil. The problem is that the struggle is not only a more compelling story, but a story that contradicts the lifestyle he purports to live.
"God Forgives, I Don't" only touches the surface of Ross' fight to win. On "Ashamed," Ross spits one verse on his mother's financial instability, and sprinkled through out the album, Ross references the two seizures he faced late last year with lines as "Get a blowjob, have a seizure on the Lear" on "Maybach Music IV."
Ross saves himself from redundancy with triumphant soundscapes, the majority of which are produced by long-time collaborators that guarantee a hit, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and terse wordplay interwoven between the countless boastful rhymes.
Which "God Forgives, I Don't" track will lead Rick Ross to the top of the charts? Here's our Twitter-length track-by-track review of each song.
1. "Pray for Us": Ross opens the album with a prayer from the movie, "Baby Boy," in which Omar Gooding and Tyrese ask for forgiveness for future sins.
2. "Pirates": Ross tells the tall tale of what he's become from where he's begun, directed at those in competition. The memorable moments come when Ross reveals his fears: "At this point in my life, I'm just trying to survive/ Homicide stay on my mind, Christopher Wallace of my time."
3. "3 Kings," feat. Jay-Z and Dr. Dre: Three notorious rappers rhyme about luxury living on the Jake One co-produced single. But while Dre and Ross focus on the rags, Jay outshines them with stunting solely on the riches. "Millions on the wall in all my rooms/ Ni**as couldn't fuck with my daughter's room / Ni**as couldn't walk in my daughter's socks," Jay raps, without much effort at that ("You ain't gotta keep this Khaled, it's just a freestyle.").
4. "Ashamed": Ross reminisces on the heavy days of hustling laid over a Wilson Pickett "Shameless" sample.
5. "Maybach Music IV," feat. Ne-Yo: J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League -- longtime collaborators of Ross -- open "Maybach Music IV" as boastful as the content, with electric guitars filled synths. Ne-Yo's vocals, in the latter part of the cut, add a smooth finish.
6. "Sixteen," feat. Andre 3000: On another J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced track, "Sixteen," Ross and Andre 3000 go in for eight minutes, reminiscing on the path they've walked to get them to where they are now. Andre 3000's rhymes outshine Ross', as his depiction goes deeper.
7. "Amsterdam": Ross reads from his scroll of street codes over a Cortex "Prelude A (30 Round)" sample interwoven in slow-tempo Cardiak beat.
8. "Hold Me Back": Ross' third "God Forgives, I Don't" single is yet another story of struggle, except this time around the G5Kid-produced track is laced a repetitive chorus reminiscent to Meek Mill's "Actin' Up."
9. "911": Ross falls off the edge of boastfulness when interweaving rhymes of materialism with God's fate. "I bow my head, I pray to God/ Survival of the fittest, help me hold my chopper lord!/ If I die today, on the highway to heaven/ Can I let my top down in my 911?" Ross rhymes on the hook of the Young Shun track.
10. "So Sophisticated" feat. Meek Mill: Meek joins Ross in parading the perks of their success on The Beat Bully-produced single.
11. "Presidential," feat. Elijah Blake: Pharrell's breezy production heightens Ross' easy living rhymes, which are summed up by the hook courtesy of Elijah Blake.
12. "Ice Cold," feat. Omarion: Ross brings in the crooner of MMG to soften the ride-or-die love being admired.
13. "Touch'N You" feat. Usher: Ross and Usher seduce on the overtly-sensual Rico Love slow jam. With 11 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Touch'N You" peaked at No. 18.
14. "Diced Pineapples," feat. Wale and Drake: After Wale butters up the ladies, Ross' rhymes about the taste and touch of his own leading lady, which is that of his fruit of choice at the time of writing the track.
15. "Ten Jesus Pieces," feat. Stalley: J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League closes "God Forgives, I Don't" with yet another triumphant beat, but this time around, the one that shines is the Spanish speaking storyteller that closes the song with a story more compelling than Ross'.