Rick Ross – Mastermind
By Engineer James
Gradually moving into the “elder statesman” office of our hip hop culture, Rick Ross’s sixth album shows why he’s still in the forefront of the music world.
Mastermind takes on a surprisingly broad musical approach. Ross, as a complete artist, has always attempted to balance his work with the right amount of materialism versus idealism. He has never been called one of the elite MCs because of his lyrical acumen, but he might be considered an elite artist for his consistency and perseverance, not to mention his ability to release a recital of anthems here and there.
In an industry enamored with a “hit record,” Ross opted to create within Mastermind a solid work of art by catering to the wide span of hip hop lovers in each sub-genre.
Infusing gangsta rap (“Rich is Gangsta”) with a classic Hot Boys feel (“Blk & Wht”), a New York vibe (“Nobody”) with a Dirty South mood (“War Ready”), and even the R&B (“In Vein”) with the reggae “Mafia Music III,” he succeed to visit every state on the hip hop globe.
Ross’s attempt is commendable, but it also leaves the album unfocused and scattered as a whole, lacking a clear purpose or story. Out of the 16 tracks (minus three skits), we can easily pick eight songs to call our favorites, but none of them connect to one another. I love Lobster, I love cereal, and I love grapes, but there’s no way I would eat them all at the same time. Not a huge problem, but it is noticeable.
“Nobody,” “The Devil Is A Lie,” and “Rich Is Gangsta” complement his actual story regardless of critical reviews, past beefs, and/or corporate scrutiny.
Overall, Mastermind is a good album and I do enjoy it, but it’s not great or classic. Those words are used too loosely. – (7/10)
Engineer James also contributes to Seattle music blog Reaching Notoriety.