x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Music review: Rick Ross – Mastermind

It’s not only the gigantic 19-song track list that exhausts, it’s also Ross's ambition to make each track an epic in its own right.

Rick Ross’s album Mastermind topped the American charts on its release. Maybach Music Group / Def Jam / AP Photo
Rick Ross’s album Mastermind topped the American charts on its release. Maybach Music Group / Def Jam / AP Photo

Rick Ross

Mastermind

(Def Jam)

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Six albums in and the blueprint remains the same for Rick Ross. Not that it isn’t working: Mastermind topped the American charts on its release and continues Rozay’s formula of marrying his street swagger and clever wordplay with cinematic beats. However, it’s not only the 19-song tracklist that exhausts, it’s also Ross’s ambition to make each track an epic. The Jay Z hookup, The Devil Is a Lie, clocks in at more than five minutes, with both rappers dropping missives over triumphal horns, while the seven-minute War Ready has Jeezy really sinking his teeth into its foreboding beats. The album highlight is Sanctified, an old-school Kanye West production. Using an old, soul sample by Betty Wright, West produces and delivers some witty barbs as he compares his reinvention to that of Muhammad Ali: “When Ali turn up and be Ali, you can’t ever take him back to Cassius.” For all those million-dollar beats and Ross’s charisma, there is a feeling the creativity tank could be running dry. Mastermind is solid, but another similar effort and Ross could soon join his bitter rival 50 Cent in a creative rut.

sasaeed@thenational.ae