In late 2006, unless you were living in a cave or didn't turn on the radio the odds are you were bumpin' Rick Ross at one time or another. Ross' debut album Port Of Miami was released in August of that year and the subsequent single "Hustlin'" instantly became the song of year, catapulting the rapper's career to instant stardom. "Hustlin'" was a bona fide street anthem, and will be regarded by many as a classic. Since Port Of Miami, Rick Ross [click here for our recent interview...] has been constantly releasing material
through mixtapes, so in a sense more time to perfect his craft. For many rappers, the infamous sophomore studio effort can either be a hit or a miss - especially considering how well Ross' debut performed on the charts. Expectations may be high but it is safe to say that Trilla follows the same blueprint as Port Of Miami and doesn't disappoint.
The album begins with an intro in which Ross gives a shout out to many different people in the game from John Doe to Lil Jon. Production is by the J.US.T.I.C.E. League, who contribute 4 songs for the album. The intro is followed by the Mannie Fresh produced "All I Have In This World (Japanese Denim)", which features a hyped beat, catchy hook and Scarface sample. Many fans will be pleased by this track because it is nothing but classic Ross. "The Boss" featuring cameo king T-Pain is a song you've probably heard already via mixtapes or because of its strong radio play as a second single. It is no doubt one of the better songs on the album and is an instant banger. Produced by J.R. Rotem, the claps, drums and piano rolls are very Scott Storch-esque. Rotem is quickly making his way in the industry through various high-profile projects such as this (and the Sean Kingston album) and could soon have the game asking: Scotty Who? With Jay-Z at his side and a dope J.US.T.I.C.E. League, "Maybach Music" is the best song on this album. Infused with a classic 70's soul vibe, Ross takes the time to reflect on his recent success and fame. This track is a prime example of how Ross' riches have added to his subject matter, so that it isn't all about the dope game anymore. Ross' lyrical potential and storytelling ability clearly shine here. It seems less bragging and more truth and reflection by Ross on his self. Jay lends one of his better performances heard from the veteran in a while. Even taking it back a few years: "I'm like G Rap with better transportation". Featured on "Luxury Tax" are Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Trick Daddy. When you combine their powers together on one track you really can't go wrong. Each lends quality verses that showcase them at their best. Weezy goes especially hard with slick lines like "New coup big-top no tennis shoes/I'm never slippin', even on the side of a swimming pool".
While there are many quality joints on this album, in this day and age it's hard to get by without some filler. The DJ Khaled Interlude is unnecessary; even out of place, but is to be expected since Ross has been featured on so much of his work. The Nelly featured "Here I Am" has a second-rate piano laden beat and really seems like it should have been on somebody else's album back in 1998. "Money Make Me Cum" is just straight up annoying with the title repeated over and over as the chorus. "I'm Only Human" is clearly supposed to be the "feel-good", inspirational cut on Trilla. The beat utilizes some heavy metal guitars but sounds better suited for a Shop Boyz album.
Blending a somewhat diverse mix of hot producers who are all at the top of their game, and well chosen quality guest appearances is evidently a mold of success for The Boss. Top that off with a flow that seems to improve continuously and you've got Trilla. Although the album has its downsides with some unremarkable songs, the quality of the album musically and lyrically definitely makes up for it. If you dug Port Of Miami you will for sure be pleased with this album and the progress that Rick Ross has made.