Rick Ross returns with new album Richer Than I Ever Been. HipHopDX breaks down the Miami rapper’s latest album.
As Rick Ross the businessman enjoys greater and greater esteem, one might expect Rick Ross the artist to lose the Teflon Don growling edge that made him such a force. And it’s true…to an extent. Ross has finally moved out of the maximalist Bling era and his new album, Richer Than I Ever Been, reveals where he fits into Hip Hop’s current landscape, a capable veteran who can still rap but isn’t looking to exceed his previous work.
Age has allowed Ross to embody the don character that he assumed straight out of the gate. He’s now as important to Miami as he’s always claimed, his boasts no longer elicit eyerolls. He’s no longer the only herald of his own legend status. Richer Than I Ever Been is the culmination of over a decade of growth for the Miami rapper, featuring Rozay sitting somewhat lazily atop his throne, surrounded by the best beats and features his mountain of wealth can buy.
Contrary to the expectations set by the title, Richer Than I Ever Been is not an overindulgent brag-fest. There are, of course, extravagant boasts (If there weren’t, it wouldn’t be a Rick Ross album). But the moments of humble reflection and admissions of responsibility blow through as gusts of fresh air. Listening to Ross set new goals along with gloating about getting everything he ever wanted is genuinely inspiring.
Along with a refreshingly multidimensional Ross, the new album is ripe with exceptional instrumentals. “Warm Words in a Cold World,” with its ephemeral riffs and disembodied horns, coalesces into one of the most fascinating beats of all last year. “Rapper Estates” is a textbook Griselda sample-based anthem that Ross and Benny The Butcher absolutely eviscerate. The opener, “Little Havana,” features a gorgeous, full-bodied bassline that delivers Rick Ross to the promised land.
As a boss, he needs lackeys singing his praises in order to unlock the full effect of his character. When he has a feature to herald his arrival, Ross is at his undisputed best. On “Made it Out Alive,” Ross delivers a lyrical clinic as Blxst croons away. Other strong displays come from “Hella Smoke,” with Wiz Khalifa and “Outlawz,” alongside Jazmine Sullivan and 21 Savage, the latter of which sounds like it would have been a shoe-in for The Harder They Fall soundtrack had it come out in time.
But when he doesn’t have a collaborator to push his pen game, Ross falls flat. The four solo songs on the project are all in the bottom half. “The Pulitzer,” with the luminary line “At the club we party until we get sweaty” is a tragic waste of an excellent beat. “Marathon” is simply bad on all fronts, with lazy rapping and poor beats bogging down the already quite bloated album. “Imperial High” and “Richer Than I Ever Been” both sound better and more focused than either of the aforementioned duds, but they both lack urgency and desperately need a feature artist for Ross to bounce ideas off of.
Overall, this is a strong offering for a rapper who’s quite aware he no longer needs to prove himself. The beats are fresh, the features showcase an educated balance of the new and the old and Rick Ross reproves that his gruff, iconic voice is a good match for nearly any instrumental his army of producers and engineers can cook up, If slightly unexciting, Richer Than I Ever Been is a testament to the lasting talent of the MMG commandant, even if he doesn’t break new ground.
Rick Ross new album sound like Rick Ross doing a parody of a Rick Ross album.
— Shareef (@DTerrysdavis1) December 19, 2021
Rick ross album solid, its a rick ross album tracks that hit and then a bunch of skips in the middle and then more tracks that hit
— Scott Perry Fan Account (@MFZOOM12) December 14, 2021
That Rick Ross ‘Richer than I ever been’ ??? pic.twitter.com/8WU2cdoUyi
— Mbalie_ ??Jan 14 (@Mbalie_) December 14, 2021