Rick Ross

Every day he's hustlin', but on his debut, Port of Miami, Rick Ross barely works up a sweat. Sometimes he rhymes slowly, sometimes he rhymes quickly, and sometimes he doesn't even rhyme. He likes to repeat phrases instead of thinking up new ones, and ends up doing a disservice to his fantastic Tupac-meets-teddy-bear growl. It's redundant to complain about lengthy commercial hip-hop albums (sixteen-plus tracks is the standard; get used to it) but Ross makes clear how little he has to say with a lyric like "Thinkin' 'bout Ran Rover/Damn that was fucked up/Found him in the trunk with another dude/Fucked up/The world fucked up/That's why I'm fucked up/Don't get fucked up/Fuck with me, you're fucked up." Producers such as Cool & Dre and Jazze Pha add melody and shine to standard, tinny Southern beats (which really have little to do with Miami). Ross clearly isn't trying to change the world — he's just making "whore debit" and crack-cooking sound cheerier.

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Rich Juzwiak