To really perceive the works, legacy, and longevity of William Leonard Roberts — higher often called Rick Ross — it helps to think about the work he launched below his first rap title, Teflon Da Don. As soon as upon a time, the portly Carol Metropolis, Miami rapper popped up on Erick Sermon’s Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis below his former title, delivering a strong, if unmemorable, verse that laid the groundwork for what his on-wax persona would ultimately turn into.
The rationale this verse — the context of it in addition to the content material — is so instructive is that it tells us who Rick Ross is instantly. The truth that he’s on an Erick Sermon document illuminates a deep and abiding love and respect for the craft and historical past of hip-hop. The truth that he correctly rejiggered his polished supply to one thing extra resonant to the streets for which he wished to talk highlights his reward for transformation. And discarding the generic Teflon Da Don for the eye-catching Rick Ross reveals he is aware of the significance of committing to the bit.
He’s dedicated to the bit for nearly 15 years now — an accomplishment that will have been extraordinary across the time he obtained his begin (though his one-time mentor Sermon was getting shut on the time). However behind the gimmick is a deeply thoughtful, grasp craftsman who can’t assist however refine and sharpen his expertise and the instruments of his commerce any likelihood he will get. In one other lifetime, Rick Ross is a man who nonetheless reveals as much as each cipher, wanting to reveal his newest batch of enhancements, an MC’s MC, simply having fun with it whereas he can.
That’s why he’s been so good for thus lengthy, why he’s earned the respect and friendship of the highest artists within the enterprise, and why, regardless of how bored with the bit we will all declare to be, his profession reveals no indicators of slowing up simply but. Listed below are Rick Ross’ finest songs from his large — and nonetheless rising — catalog.
32. “Right here I Am” Feat. Avery Storm, Nelly
Admittedly, the primary time I performed this again to document my ideas about it, I used to be bowled over at Avery Storm’s refrain. It’s so twangy and his pronunciation of “her” made me burst out laughing. Was this actually what all of us listened to in my twenties? … Properly, yeah. And it rode on the time, too. If you happen to had been choosing up your woman for a date, you didn’t wish to pull up listening to R&B — you’d look gentle. However she would in all probability be turned off by all that gangsta stuff. You’d go house unhappy, that’s for certain. Songs like this supplied a comforting center floor earlier than the “gentle boy” agenda (and its accompanying “sophistiratchet” motion for the women) blurred the strains between these stifling binaries. It’d play like The Flintstones now, 14 years later, however nostalgia is a helluva drug, and I’m bopping alongside like I’m 25 once more. — Aaron Williams
31. “No one’s Favourite” Feat. Gunplay
2019’s Port Of Miami 2 was an extremely strong work that someway went unremarked upon by the rap world at massive. Maybe Rozay titling it after his debut album practically 20 years after that album was initially launched left some followers uncertain in regards to the venture. Was he going backward? Would he attempt to replace the sound that made him a Southern entice figurehead so way back? The reply to each was “no.” Though it wasn’t by leaps and bounds, the album noticed Ross embrace additional evolution. And whereas a lot of it obtained missed within the rush of tasks that marked its launch 12 months, it’s inconceivable to disregard the reunion between Rick and one in all his staunchest (and wildest) troopers, Gunplay. “No one’s Favourite” is a nihilistic standout that sarcastically turned many followers’ favourite from the sequel venture, with Ross flashing glimmers of his dirty previous and Gunplay stealing the present as at all times. — A.W.
30. “Richer Than I Ever Been”
The title observe from Ross’s newest launch oozes each easy, athletic cool, and lurking, tightly coiled menace. Over a stripped-down piano loop — which someway sounds each bit as lush as a few of the most boisterous compositions he’s rapped on — Ross delivers a hypnotic hook that harkens again to his first main hit. Katt Williams as soon as joked that “Hustlin’” might make a listener really feel like a baller even whereas stocking groceries. In that very same means, “richer than I ever been” is like an affirmation, an incantation, and a manifestation all rolled into one. You won’t have the ability to relate now, but it surely makes you’re feeling like you’ll. — A.W.
29. “Magnificent” Feat. John Legend
Confession time: This one is for the women. You understand who you’re. A relic of the time when this was a legit enterprise observe within the recording business (together with the “membership document,” the “road anthem,” and different colourful archetypes that ultimately turned redundant within the streaming period), this observe is form of a blatant overture to the portion of the listening public that prefers R&B and sluggish jams to the roughneck rap Ross normally traffics in (no pun meant). However though he turned far more proficient at incorporating these aesthetics into his normal fare on later materials, this Trilla standout was a unbelievable instance of the shape and holds up. — A.W.
28. “Not For Nothing” Feat. Anderson .Paak
The lilting slack guitar and console organ are one thing of a change for Ross — not a giant, splashy lane change, extra of a delicate trajectory shift — that someway guarantees simply as a lot highway forward of him as behind. It means that there are modes we nonetheless haven’t heard from him and that he’s keen to problem himself to search out them. Certain, the lyrical content material is well-trod territory for Rozay, however you may make something sound recent with simply minor changes. Living proof: This track, additionally employs a slick, smoky refrain from Anderson .Paak, with whom Ricky is creating some intriguing chemistry. — A.W.
27. “Gold Roses” Feat. Drake
Rick Ross and Drake make a terrific workforce (their collaborations are neck-and-neck with Ross’ Jay-Z team-ups). Ross lends a veneer of… if not “credibility,” then at the least “feasibility” to Drake’s Sopranos-style braggadocio. And Drake’s admittedly sharply pointed pen sport actually lights an identical hearth in Ross. “Gold Roses” lives extra in Drake’s wheelhouse, sonically, however Rozay’s consolation stage over the muted, trilling pattern is a testomony to his understated chameleonic tendencies. He usually turns into precisely what the track wants, however getting to listen to him out of his factor, so to talk, highlights simply how good at it he actually is. — A.W.
Manufacturing separates good rappers from nice tastemakers. The Cardiak-produced “Amsterdam” is ok tastemaking. How Ross rhymes his means across the Cortex pattern is like watching Usher Raymond rollerskate: Suave, confident, transferring in a movement that enchants. A slight however efficient addition is the Teedra Moses vocals. They whisper within the background as if part of the beat, too reserved to distract, however important to the ambiance. How effectively the “Barry Gordy of the streets” is ready to coexist between loud, brassy anthems and atmospheric, quiet storm contemplation is why his catalog can be regarded extremely for years to come back. With followers pointing to “Amsterdam” as a premium deep minimize. — Yoh Phillips
The place some rappers wrestle with their id, Ross knew that his music was to advertise choruses for nook boys, hymns for hustlers, mantras for manifesters, and sutras for road pharmacists. “911” conveys all these concepts in a single explosive observe overflowing with juggernaut power and lionhearted exuberance. Of all his entice classics, “911” sounds made to make the listener really feel bulletproof. A track that boils with the reckless vigor of a rapper audacious sufficient to name an album God Forgives, I Don’t. However that’s the reason he’s so compelling: Ross sells a personality who gambles in a world the place solely the sturdy survive and dangers get rewarded. “911” is energy and risk-taking personified. — Y.P.
24. “Maybach Music 2” Feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T-Ache
As with every sequel, expectations had been larger than the common document for “Maybach Music 2.” Swapping Jay-Z for T-Ache, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West was a superb name in 2009 when all three artists had been in stride, burning up Billboard and torching each track they touched, qualifying their look on the “Maybach Music” follow-up. Collectively they assemble just like the 2017 Golden State Warriors, an excellent workforce with sufficient primetime expertise to be a championship franchise. And though the options modified in future editions, “Maybach Music 2” solidified what the sequence would turn into: A gathering of greatness to make songs in the important thing of opulence, luxurious, and splendor. — Y.P.
23. “Rapper Estates” Feat. Benny The Butcher
A really astonishing quantity of Ross’s finest stuff is, surprisingly, on his final album, 2021’s Richer Than I Ever Been. Unrestrained by the industrial calls for of most major-label releases (Epic offers him an exciting diploma of free reign), The Boss will get to indulge his rapper’s-rappers impulses, leading to a venture packed to the brim with the kind of rhymes he’d have reeled off in his Teflon days. He’s solely gotten more adept over time, tapping one of many heavyweight bar-focused lyricists of the fashionable age in Benny The Butcher and hanging with him line for line. That is the Ross I’d wished to listen to ever since he modified his rhyme-de-plume within the mid-2000s. — A.W.
Rap allowed Rick Ross to domesticate a picture of a money-making businessman with a mogul thoughts and empire-building ambitions. “Foreclosures,” a 2015 deep minimize, provides depth to that character by critiquing monetary irresponsibility. Previous to its launch, 50 Cent filed for private chapter, a potential supply of inspiration for why “Foreclosures” is a lyrical lashing in opposition to residing past your means. Even when the motivation was a petty shot at an adversary’s misfortune, there’s timeless validity within the total message: Success is a treasured jewel that gained’t keep in your possession if it’s mismanaged. Look no additional than Sam Bankman-Fried as a contemporary instance of what occurs while you don’t act your wage. — Y.P.
21. “3 Kings” Feat. Dr. Dre, Jay-Z
“3 Kings” doesn’t try and be something greater than a session of stunting. And why ought to it? How usually do three larger-than-life lyricists get collectively to take a victory lap? “It is best to take heed to this beat by my headphones,” rapped Dr. Dre, a brag that few rappers will ever have the ability to repeat. Ross flipped the road, saying, “We must always take heed to this observe in my Maybach.” Then you will have Jay, who goes, “Play this shit when you mess around with my crown.” All three are brimming with triumphant power as they swap achievements and wax poetics over pristine Jake One manufacturing. It was a second then, when the observe first appeared in 2012 on God Forgives, I Don’t, and it even appears like a second now. — Y.P.
20. “Maybach Music V” Feat. Dej Loaf
There’s no such factor as “excessive” while you’ve been a boss for a whole decade. For Quite You Than Me in 2017, Ross had the supreme confidence that comes from understanding that his spot was cemented, his legacy as Teflon because the mafiosos he’d modeled his public persona after. So, why not do one thing really surprising? For the fifth “Maybach Music,” Ross cedes over two minutes — crucially, the primary two — to focus on a voice he liked which may not have been getting as a lot love as he believed it ought to (I are likely to agree; Dej Loaf’s final two independently launched tasks had been criminally missed). — A.W.
19. “Wealthy Is Gangsta”
Within the 1988 Blaxploitation spoof I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Harlem hero John Slade explains the group of musicians standing behind him is there to supply his “theme music.” As he places it, “each good hero ought to have some.” “Wealthy Is Gangsta” is what that band would play if that movie got here out in the present day. Persevering with the Rick Ross custom of exultant horns, exuberant drums, and chant-like soul samples, the Black Metaphor and Diddy-provided beat backdrops one other ferocious declaration of his mission assertion. Dropping because it did after his correctional officer kerfuffle, it additionally gave him an opportunity to elucidate his facet of the story: The streets obtained chilly, so he obtained a job. Hey, all of it labored out in the long run. In any case, the heroes at all times win. — A.W.
18. “The Satan Is A Lie” Feat. Jay-Z
By this level, you’ve in all probability discovered that it’s no coincidence that I claimed the majority of the Rick Ross songs with Jay-Z options on them for this checklist. Are you able to blame me? One thing about working with Rick Ross — a fellow former hustler with an timeless, nearly compulsive love for the craft of rap — brings the most effective out of Jay. The bluesy beat offers each rappers a luxurious playground through which to get their kicks, sure. But in addition: a few of my favourite verses are those the place Jay one, blasphemes, and two, delves as deep into his “watch my wordplay” bag as he can probably get. Right here? Examine and test. — A.W.
17. “Outlawz” Feat. 21 Savage, Jazmine Sullivan
One would count on Rick Ross and 21 Savage to be frequent collaborators. Each run in shut proximity to Drake, they’ve an affinity for monetary literacy, and their ears are each drawn to soul beats and entice sounds, but, for causes unknown to me, the AraabMUZIK-produced “Outlawz” is their sole crossover effort. The swelling, soulful rating constructs an appropriate assembly floor for 2 straight shooters with gospel fact to get off their chest alongside Jazmine Sullivan, who sings to the heavens on the hook. As a robust document, the place all three co-stars carried out worthy of their stature, “Outlawz” achieved what was mandatory with a lineup which will by no means occur once more, so cherish it. — Y.P.
16. “Little Havana” Feat. Willie Falcon, The-Dream
The primary flex is the Willie Falcon intro, a helluva strategy to open a document known as “Little Havana.” The second flex, if it’s value contemplating a flex, is how Ross was on his eleventh album in his fifteenth 12 months rapping with the veritas of a reflective veteran, but, he doesn’t appear worn or burnt out, however somewhat revived and resolute. “Drawback was I by no means was a prodigy,” begins the primary verse, beginning truthfully, earlier than name-dropping Roger Goodell, Meek Mill, Omarion, and L.A. Reid all through his stream of consciousness. Though brief, “Little Havana” is potent. Like listening to an entry from an audio journal recorded whereas overlooking the Miami skyline on a day when the MMG boss had so much on his thoughts with nobody to talk with. This model of isolative recollection usually makes for good rap music, particularly when executed proper. — Y.P.
15. “Diced Pineapples” Feat. Drake, Wale
As nice as Ross is at booming, boastful luxurious rap, it’s inconceivable to miss how equally expert he’s at intercourse raps — certainly, he’s in all probability one of many solely male rappers who truly appears form of good at them. Possibly it’s the Barry White-esque vocals, maybe it’s the truth that he litters his come-ons with stuff that girls may truly wish to hear (“child woman, I simply wish to see you effectively off”) somewhat than juvenile locker room discuss, but it surely’s simple. That he pairs these candy nothings with two of rap’s different best easy talkers in Drake and Wale makes this single from 2012’s God Forgives, I Don’t the right date-night playlist inclusion. — A.W.
14. “Maybach Music VI” Feat. John Legend, Lil Wayne
By the 2019 launch of “Maybach Music VI,” the Maybach Music sequence had spent over a decade upholding a regular for luxurious compositions and high-life lyricism. Very similar to its predecessors, the sixth installment added a recent web page to the magical portfolio of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced symphonies. Rick Ross, John Legend, and Lil Wayne all have impressed vocal performances that complement the beautiful dwell instrumentation quilted collectively like audible material woven from the best silk. By now, everyone knows you don’t take heed to a Maybach Music document only for bars, but in addition the beat, and “Maybach Music VI” sonically delivers magic carpet music for road rats with genies who would use one in all their three needs on a 2021 Mercedes S-Class. Or, as John sings on the hook, “It appears like we’re floatin’ up in outer area.” — Y.P.
13. “Large Tyme” Feat. Swizz Beatz
There may be an underrated high quality to rap songs the place visitor options solely do the ad-libbing. Jeezy’s background vocals on Kanye’s “Can’t Inform Me Nothing” is a prime instance, however Swizz Beatz’s animated ad-libs on “Large Tyme” deserves an honorable point out. His full of life cadence enhances the conviction-filled verses that course over the rollicking Simply Blaze beat to create a document that sends a double dose of adrenaline to the eardrums. Not many songs on this checklist could be thought of underrated, however “Large Tyme,” as a minimize discovered on the 2019 Port of Miami 2, hasn’t had the possibility to age like different classics. Give it time although, historical past will honor this boisterous banger. — Y.P.
12. Wealthy N**** Way of life” Feat. Nipsey Hussle, Teyana Taylor
Port of Miami 2, the tenth studio album by Rick Ross, was launched on August nineteenth, 2019, 5 months after the tragic passing of late Crenshaw rapper Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey seems on observe eight, “Wealthy N**** Way of life,” with a verse that references all the things from Tekashi 6ix9ine snitching, hip-hop’s dominating presence on the Billboard charts, and his courtside look in a viral Lakers video. And though the Cardiak-produced, Teyana Taylor-featured document is greater than Nip, his presence alone offers the track a stamp of timelessness. He was so alive, so conscious, so gifted, and to know this track holds one in all his final observations in rhyme, it’s only a bit extra particular than if it didn’t. — Y.P.
11. “Maintain Me Again”
Rick Ross primarily operates in two modes: Both laid-back in an opulently-appointed lounge, puffing a Cuban cigar with a three-digit glass of whiskey in hand, or marching by the streets of Carol Metropolis, with a three-week beard, wild-eyed, and waving a pistol. This one matches firmly into the latter mode, with a clamorous, gothic entice beat asserting his coming like that ominous whistle that presaged Omar strolling by the Terrace tasks with that shotgun over his shoulder. Ross, 4 years into his profession correct at this level, nonetheless sounds voracious, like he hasn’t even seen an edible meal in weeks, a lot much less the decadent treats he’d undoubtedly turn into accustomed to by then. His means to take action is what’s saved him on the prime of his sport ever since. — A.W.
10. “Free Mason” Feat. Jay-Z
A few of y’all may be too younger to recollect this, however there was a time on the web, earlier than QAnon and junk vaccine science, when all of the conspiracy theories revolved round a handful of Black recording artists, for some purpose. And practically incalculable inches have been written in regards to the whys and hows, and sure, it was simply as exhausting because it sounds right here. However it was all value it, if solely as a result of it sparked Jay-Z and Rick Ross to cook dinner up this gem, which is half a cheeky response to the nonsense that frankly didn’t warrant it and the opposite half a pure lyrical train that finds Jay splaying out his lanky limbs in a churchy, epic-sounding manufacturing by The Inkredibles and establishing simply how badly the sport wants him round. — A.W.
9. “Tears Of Pleasure” Feat. CeeLo
As a lot because it pains me to co-sign a track that misrepresents the phrases of Bobby Seale and the philosophy of the Black Panthers, conflating them with Ross’s hedonistic abandon, right here’s the factor: “Tears Of Pleasure” is sort of merely one of many best-produced, best-written, most compelling works in Ross’s intensive catalog. There’s an genuine pleading behind CeeLo’s voice on the hook and No I.D.’s beat, replete with gently weeping guitars and driving pianos straight outta the pulpit, the strain between the divine and profane is palpable. A revolutionary he isn’t, however we’ll forgive Ross somewhat sacrilege for referring to the wrestle. — A.W.
8. “Maybach Music III” Feat. Erykah Badu, Jadakiss, T.I.
They are saying “larger is best” and it’s apparent Rick Ross subscribes to this viewpoint, as every successive installment within the “Maybach Music” sequence appears to get (it’s essential to maintain these observations within the current tense at this level) extra elaborate, extra grandiose, with larger profile options and heightened crescendos. By the point Teflon Don got here out in 2010, followers thought they knew what to anticipate, so the apparent answer was to herald a full orchestra, full with some big-band drumming and an operatic mid-point breakdown, and one of many signature soul singers of the previous decade to easy out the refrain because the visitor verses — courtesy of prime Jadakiss and T.I. — obtained extra rugged. — A.W.
7. “Idols Develop into Rivals”
“Idols Develop into Rivals” was not a document anybody noticed coming. Not in case you adopted the profession of Rick Ross and understood his admiration for Birdman and Money Cash Data. However Ross is a rapper of honor; a businessman of ethics and Birdman’s historical past of unethical conduct lastly reached some extent the place he might now not flip a blind eye. The disgust, the frustration, the disapproval, all that went unsaid from years of silent acceptance comes out in a scathing but poetic evaluation of a buddy turned foe. “Idols Develop into Rivals” is masterful as an clever assault and a hall-of-fame-worthy exhibition of killing your heroes with critique, not kindness. — Y.P.
6. “Santorini Greece”
“Santorini Greece” samples Judy Bailey Quartet’s “Colors Of My Desires,” a mesmerizing supply made much more majestic by Bink! and his ingenious rearrangement of every be aware, riff, and melody to construct an beautiful beat layered in lush tones, touched by jazzy textures. The music brings a model of extravagance synonymous with non-public islands, overseas automobiles, and costly style. An ideal canvas for picturesque verses delivered with laid-back assertion. Though boastful, “Santorini Greece” is the place wealth-talking braggadocio meets race-related introspection from a Black American in a fashion solely potential for late-career Rick Ross, the poet laureate of hood billionaires. — Y.P.
5. “Maybach Music IV” Feat. Ne-Yo
As the one Maybach Music to not function any visitor verses from star-studded associates, “Maybach Music IV” might not seem like a summertime blockbuster within the liner notes, however give the sun-kissed observe a pay attention. You will see one other beautiful J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced murals. Musically, the satisfying instrumental doesn’t cease progressing, an ever-moving composition that conveys a wealthy and soulful sound deserving of the fan-favorite sequence. Assistance from Ne-Yo within the latter half makes “Maybach Music IV” appears like an developed, extra mature model of their 2010 collaboration, “Tremendous Excessive.” Giving the piece a way of creative refinement, a present of development. — Y.P.
Repeating “22” seven instances within the third verse of “Hustlin’” didn’t earn Ross any status as an distinctive emcee, however his 2006 debut single wasn’t to show technical prowess, as a substitute, the Avenue Runner-produced anthem promoted a much more important truth: Repetition invokes remembrance. With its repetitious hook, a savvy soundbed, and easy summer-time lyrics, “Hustlin’” efficiently caught to eardrums. Making a lane for a newcomer barely identified exterior of Miami. As the road document that launched his voice, title, and magnificence to an unsuspecting business, “Hustlin’” superior the younger Rozay to larger heights with out having to make use of these favors owed to him by Noreiga. Traditional. — Y.P.
3. “Aston Martin Music” Feat. Drake, Chrisette Michelle
“Aston Martin Music” is a track that might not fail. Each factor feels fastidiously curated to win over listeners, younger and previous. The LL Cool J interpolation, Drake and Chrisette Michelle sharing half the refrain, and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s balmy 90’s R&B-inspired beat discovered an intersection between easy and horny, new and nostalgic that in the end gave Ross a 3x platinum hit with over 330 million views on YouTube. To listen to it in the present day, greater than a decade later, the magic hasn’t worn off. For many who got here of age within the 2010s, the observe will return you to reminiscences of when 106 & Park nonetheless existed, when radio nonetheless broke information. A unique time, a distinct period. — Y.P.
2. “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Cash Quick)”
The sound: colossal. The verses: colossal. The angle, the power, all the things about “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Cash Quick)” towered over the entice soundscape in 2010 with an anatomy larger, extra gigantic than its sizeable contemporaries. The Lux Luther-produced atom bomb not solely separated the giants from the gladiators however additional proved that the Dade County boss wasn’t simply constructing a catalog for stadiums, he might make large information match for Roman Colosseums, match for Caesars Palace. 13 years later, the music nonetheless communicates a eager sense of wonderful demolition, invigorating destruction, and a sense finest described as an intoxicating upheaval over enemies and opposition. — Y.P.
1. “Maybach Music” Feat. Jay-Z
You by no means get a second likelihood to make a primary impression. Fortuitously for Rick Ross, when he kicked off the signature sequence of anthems named after his document label (earlier than it ever was a sequence), he knocked it out of the park. Coming off the platinum debut Port Of Miami, Ross confronted the dreaded sophomore stoop and the problem of topping the fan-favorite “Hustlin’.” He greater than achieved that with the No. 1-selling Trilla, which spawned one other top-40 hit in “The Boss”; nevertheless, the true achievement was “Maybach Music,” which established the luxurious mafioso rap sound that will come to outline a lot of his latter-career output and provides him the right, elegant picture overhaul that ensured his longevity all through the 2000s and ’10s. That Jay-Z raps one in all personal his finest late-career verses right here, re-establishing himself after his personal essential stumbles in 2006’s Kingdom Come, is simply icing on the cake. — A.W.