Nikita Rathod delved deep into the rap don's illustrious career, highlighting the finest work as both a solo artist and as a collaborator on other big name projects.
Last updated: 15th Aug 2018. Originally published: 14th Aug 2018
Image: Rick Ross
With a career spanning well over twelve years, it’s fair to say that Rick Ross has more than proved his ability to develop a multitude of hip-hop bangers.
Though he’s faced peaks and troughs like most artists, on the whole, Ross has been fairly consistent by filling his signature rap style with wit, his lavish, gangster lifestyle and of course his boss nature. But this is just one part of his career. He’s gone onto become a successful entrepreneur and has also been a force behind the musical careers of others such as Meek Mill and Wale as founder of his own music label, Maybach Music Group (MMG).
Ross’ musical career spans nine albums, and apart from classic full length studio releases, such as Port of Miami and Deeper Than Rap, "Rozay" has had a number of successful mixtapes too.
Along with his success in music has come a number of accolades including multiple Grammy nominations, praise from hip-hop critics and profitable business ventures. Making an evident mark on rap music, it is not surprising that he caused a furor at the beginning of his career with all the labels competing to sign him.
Also harbouring the ability to also make impressive music with others, his back catalogue is full of working with some of today’s best. This includes the likes of Drake, French Montana, DJ Khaled and Kanye West to name a few. Some of his best work can been seen on his verses for other rappers, once again proving that rarely does Ross let his talent slip.
With the rapper visiting London to perform at Troxy on 19th October, Nikita Rathod has taken a look at some of the essential Rick Ross tracks you should have in your collection.
'Aston Martin Music' Teflon Don (2010)
Officially Rick Ross’ third single, “Aston Martin Music” saw the rapper put together a winning lineup on this track which includes Drake and singer Chrisette Michele on the chorus. Along with the help of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League on production, Ross’ made a sleek, sexy banger certified to help us speed down the motorway, Aston Martin or not. The video sees Rick Ross living out his childhood dreams to be wealthy and purchase an Aston Martin.
Rozay’s reliability to make hits was beginning to show by this point in his career. The release of “Aston Martin Music” as a single, helped elevate the success of Ross’ album Teflon Don. Just last year, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League revealed that the beat wasn’t meant for Ross, but for Drake who turned it down initially. Ross worked his magic on it, complementing the softness of the beat with his voice, and Drake realised he’d made a mistake which allowed the artists to come together to create a Billboard chart hit.
'Diced Pineapples' God Forgives, I Don’t (2012)
'Diced Pineapples' is another track in Ross’ discography that helped to show off Rozay’s softer side. He was accompanied once again by Drake who sings the chorus, and Maybach Music affiliate Wale who provides a poetic intro to the song.
Whilst a romantic song for hip-hop, the concept for the track didn’t originate from the inspiration of a special lady for Ross. After suffering from a seizure, he was advised by doctors to improve his diet by increasing his intake of fruit. Ross chose pineapples, “For the next three weeks, I woke up every morning and ate diced pineapples, and I put the concept together. Drizzy came in, as well as Wale, and it’s kinda like, ‘She could be my diced pineapple. This special lady, she could be what I wake up to every morning and help me get by every day” (MTV). And so Ross dreamt up this catchy summer anthem along with a video that channeled holiday vibes, filmed in Anguilla.
'Mafia Music' Deeper Than Rap (2009)
From Ross’ third album, Deeper Than Rap, “Mafia Music” highlights why the rapper is acclaimed for his ability to spit bars. With no chorus, he builds this track line upon line about his come up in the rap game, reaching high levels of wealth and all of the perks that come with it.
“Mafia Music” was also responsible for igniting Rozay’s beef with 50 Cent in 2009. In the track he raps, “I love to pay ya bills, can't wait to pay ya rent/Curtis Jackson baby mama, I ain't askin' for a cent/Burn the house down ni**a, you gotta buy another/Don't forget the gas can, jealous stupid motherfu**er.” The Miami rapper didn’t show any hesitation to make jibes at 50 for asking his child’s mother to pay rent, despite his wealth. In response, 50 Cent released, "Officer Ricky (Go Head, Try Me)" a few days after the release of “Mafia Music” which was the beginning of a back and forth between the two rappers which went on for some years.
'John' Lil Wayne featuring Rick Ross Tha Carter VI (2011)
The addition of Rick Ross to Lil Wayne’s track, “John” elevated this song into being a huge track. Released as Wayne’s second single from his Tha Carter VI album, Ross gave us an incredible presence on this song from start to finish and isn’t just an average feature on this track.
Channeling the immortality of the late John Lennon, Ross drops bars about his extravagant car collections and the Nike Jordans that he owns, adding in a “swish” for good measure and a nod to Nike. By the time of its release, fans also recognised that the song samples many lyrics from Rozay’s track, “I’m Not a Star.” Blending the rawness of Wayne and the aggression of Ross, the two created a track still remembered many years later.
'Hustlin’ Port of Miami (2006)
'Hustlin’ was officially the first single that Rick Ross dropped from his debut album Port of Miami. A strong track to begin a career on, it really set the scene for what Ricky Rozay was all about. Ross exposed us to his strong gangster/Mafioso rap style through “Hustlin’”, boasting about cocaine networks and dropping some notorious names in the drug dealing world.
Ross showed off the depth of his roots, setting the video in his home city of Miami, Florida. The visuals featured a number of high profile artists including Trina, Pitbull and DJ Khaled, an impressive feat for a debut single.
His success with “Hustlin’” transcended Miami eventually catching the attention of a number of music labels who entered into a bidding war to sign him. The winner would be Def Jam, and responsible for signing up Rozay would be the president at the time, Jay-Z. The rapper went onto to give us ten successful years of music whilst signed to the label.
'Devil in a New Dress' Kanye West featuring Rick Ross My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
As well as creating some massive hits of his own, Rick Ross has always been in demand for guest features. On the brink of hitting the peak of his career, Kanye West decided he wanted to add Rick Ross “Devil in a New Dress”, and he didn’t disappoint.
Ross provides a killer verse brimming with clever references and puns. In particular, the rapper peaked the interest of hip-hop fans when he rapped, “Had cyphers with Yeezy before his mouth wired/Before his jaw shattered climbing up the Lord's ladder” which referred to the fact that both Rick Ross and Kanye West met each other in a studio early on in their careers well before they rose to success back in 1998.
According to an interview with MTV, Ross laid the verse in 30 minutes under strict time constraints due to the upcoming release of West’s album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.