By: Amanda Anderson
Rick Ross, the self proclaimed “Boss” is back with his fourth studio album entitled Teflon Don. Fresh from a public beef with rapper 50 Cent, Ross obviously noted that his next album would have to pretty dope if he didn’t want to suffer the same fate as Ja Rule and all the others who suffered career suicide at the hands of the G-Unit ring leader. Filled with mostly heavy collabs and legendary features from some of the best in the industry, Rick Ross has managed to put together a Hip-Hop album that has a little something for everyone to bob their head to, and draw in those that may not have been big fans of the retired corrections officer who is leaving a dent in Hip-Hop that doesn’t require street cred.
The album begins with a lack luster track produced by the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, entitled “Not A Star.” Luke warm and extremely forgettable, this is the only track that Ross has without a feature, and although his lyrics have improved tremendously, this one track demonstrates that Ross, 4 albums in, still may not be able to carry his own album. Regardless, the rest of the album flows stupid, and you’ll happily forget this track when you hear the others.
“Free Mason,” is hands down one of the best tracks on the album, and features the Hip-Hop great, Jay-Z, and the soulful John Legend. On the track, Jay-Z addresses masonic rumors, and inquiries regarding his religious affiliations. Ironically, this is one of the best collaborations Hip-Hop has seen in a while, and one of the sickest verses Jay-Z has come up with in dare I say…years. It’s obvious all the Illuminati talk has began to affect Jay to some degree, and it created a monster on the track. Not to mention, Legend’s vocals are simply powerful and this track is Ross at his lyrical best. The JFK references by Ross demonstrate that he has matured lyrically.
“Tears of Joy,” which features former Goodie Mob front man Ceelo, is so soulful that it should easily be a favorite for most. Tough lyrics from Ross and a heartfelt delivery from Ceelo create one of the best songs on the entire album.
Maybach fans will fall in love with “Maybach Music III,” which features T.I., Jadakiss, and Erykah Badu. I’m not sure if it was dope producing from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League or Erykah Badu on the chorus, but this track is genius. Easy to love, this cut is the perfect blend of Jazz and hood. In addition, T.I. and Jadakiss easily prove why they are some of the best Hip-Hop has had in a long time.
A collaboration with Kanye West will either be a favorite or a bust, and for me, it was a bust. Entitled “Live Fast, Die Young,” the materialistic inspired track could have been so much more. When I heard that Kanye produced this joint, I expected a classic. Hell I expected legendary, and instead, I got a track that will die young amongst the rest of the deceased album fillers. The only thing that saves this Track is a great comeback verse from Kanye’, but everything else from the chorus to the beat, sounds rehashed and done before.
Other album favorites will be the certified club banger “No. 1” which features Trey Songz and Diddy (yes, Diddy), Dirty South inspired “MC Hammer” which features Gucci Mane, Hood Anthem “Blowin’ Money Fast,” which features Styles P, and the brilliant “Ashton Martin Music,” which features Chrisette Michele and Drake. While the former may be my personal favorite from the album, I can’t help but feel like I was robbed by the Hip-Hop bandits since there was no rap verse from Drake.
The album ends on a wonderful note, with a stellar collaboration between Ross and music great Raphael Saadiq. “All The Money In The World,” symbolizes the formula that made Teflon Don a solid album, and one that is only a few steps away from a classic. From the second track to the last, Ross paired with some of music’s best, ranging from the spotlight’s favorites, to the most underrated in the business. His ability to partner with some of the most soulful and lyrically insane makes this album one of the best we’ve seen this year. Even 50 Cent can’t hate on that.
Overall, I give Teflon Don an A-. Ross still may not be able to carry an album by himself, but he knows how to work with the best producers, and collaborate with some of the best in the business. And his ability to do this throughout the entire album works in his favor and saves his album from an epic fail. You’ll love this album, and forget that the Boss is nothing more than a former corrections officer who followed his dreams to becoming a Hip-Hop heavyweight.