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Not everyone can be a Boss, but Rick Ross certainly has that undertaking under control. In the five years since he first marked his territory with “Hustlin’,” Rozay has slowly built his personal and professional empire. Ross’s success is highlighted on the October cover of XXL, where Ricky splits covers—shining solo on one, and rocking with his Maybach Music Group brethren in the other. And for anyone who thought the Miami native’s career would be over shortly after his 2006 smash, he’s been steadily proving his skeptics wrong with quality music. With each passing year and chart-topping album, Ross’s stature in the game has been growing. His consistency and improved lyrical skills have placed him among hip-hop’s elites. Yes. Face it. Rick Ross is one of the best rappers out. Now, with the new cover hitting newsstands and God Forgives, I Don’t on the way, XXL takes a look at Ross’s 50 best songs.—XXL Staff
50. “The Summer's Mine” (2010) In the midst of his subliminal jousting match with former collaborator Young Jeezy, Rick Ross dropped this track to let everyone know who ran everyone’s favorite season. There’s no direct name-calling here, but it’s pretty clear who the Boss wanted to fire.
49. “Money Maker” (The Albert Anastasia EP, 2010) The Boss snagged a Boi-1da produced track for what was the first leak off of The Albert Anastasia EP. 1da, who’s from Toronto like Drake and had produced for Lil Wayne, used a Weezy vocal sample (“And it don't make sense if it don't make that money”) for the hook.
48. “White Sand” (The Albert Anastasia EP, 2010) In line with his bread and butter of repetitive hooks, this track finds Rick Ross choosing a theme and carrying it throughout. Whether it’s White prosecutors, white Maseratis or that white stuff that Rozay is so fond of, it’s all white everything on this Albert Anastasia banger.
black mans dream
47. “Black Man’s Dream” ft. Ludacris (Ashes to Ashes, 2010) Off of Ashes to Ashes, this joint offering from Ross and fellow Southern star Ludacris finds them bragging about “making White man money” while supplying other boasts about diamond rocking, gun-toting, hater-dismissing and more.
46. "The Transporter" (2011) Before they teamed up for “Reebok Back,” Ross and Swizz Beatz got together for this song from early 2011. The track was one of a string of releases in Swizzy’s weekly “Monsta Mondays” series, and is a smoothed out jam that employs a vocal sample from The Notorious B.I.G. to kick things off.
45. “Blow” (Port of Miami, 2006) On track three from Port of Miami, Ross uses a Cool & Dre beat to flaunt how much money he makes and, consequently, how much money he can “Blow.” In the five years since the track’s release, Ricky’s definitely gone on plenty mo’ trips, gotten plenty mo’ cars, mo’ clothes and, probably, blown plenty mo’ money.
cross that line
44. “Cross That Line” ft. Akon (Port of Miami, 2006) Backed by dark strings, this Port of Miami threat-riddled joint featured a vintage Akon hook talking about coming from a life of crime, and Ross promising, “Don’t push me, nigga/I ain’t pussy, nigga.” Surprising that this wasn’t an official single, as it dropped near the height of Akon’s radio stranglehold.
43. “Veterans Day” ft. Lil Wayne & Birdman (2010) The tag team of Rick Ross and Lil Wayne shot a video for this track in early 2010, before Weezy went to jail, but Ricky didn’t liberate the recording until his homie came home in November. The organ filled cut, which also features Birdman, was left off of Teflon Don. Also, Ross calls himself “that fat mothafucka.”
42. “Speedin” ft. R. Kelly (Trilla, 2008) Trilla’s initial single finds Ross parasailing over The Runners’ searing bass lines. Within the R. Kelly collabo, the Bawse gets braggadocios, spitting, “It ain’t nothing doing 100 in the Maybach/Throwin’ money out the roof motherfuckin’ brake pads.”
41. “10 Bricks” ft. Birdman (Ashes to Ashes, 2010) With just one verse from each, Rozay and Birdman cook something up for all the dealers and hustlers. They each pull double duty as businessmen and rappers, and this was an opportunity for the allies to brag about their accomplishments.
40. “Lay Back” ft. Robin Thicke (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) Though this wasn’t a single from Rozay’s well-received Deeper Than Rap, it certainly could have been since it came fully equipped with an accessible beat and a catchy Robin Thicke sung hook. It’s also one of the relatively few standouts in Ross’s catalog that’s a joint specifically dedicated to the ladies. Minimal drug talk here.
39. "Trilla (Intro)" (Trilla, 2008) Although it was only an intro, the thunderous J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced opener to Ross’ sophomore album Trilla provided a diesel set-up. As he roll calls through a slew of names from Gunplay (of Triple Cs) to Trick Daddy (“I got love fool/We both millionaires/Let’s make some thug moves”) Ross certifies that he’s here to stay.
38. “Free Spirit” (2011) Earlier this month, Drake liberated this track that again features the winning pair of Drizzy and Ross. Already well tatted himself, Rozay pledges to his female partner that he wants to “Tat my fuckin’ name on you so I know it’s real.” This is slated to be on Drake’s Take Care, and also may appear on God Forgives, I Don’t.
mafia music 2
37. “Mafia Music 2” ft. Chrisette Michele (2010) This early single from Teflon Don didn’t end up making the final cut on the 2010 album, but it was a prelude to the musical mob talk of the album. As the song comes to a close, Ross shows his sense of humor, spitting, “We all go when we gotta go/My glock hole bigger than Nicki Minaj camel toe,” before shouting out a handful of organized crime bosses.
36. “Fire Hazard” (The Albert Anastasia EP, 2010) One of the many stan-out cuts from Ross’s excellent 2010 EP, The Albert Anastasia EP, “Fire Hazard” finds the Bawse commanding a trombone-heavy beat produced by the Runners. On the menacing track, Rozay warns competitors not to be fooled by his newfound success. “Never Hollywood even though I got it good, I ain’t gotta goon but fuck it somebody gotta do it.”
maybach music 2.5
35. “Maybach Music 2.5” ft. Pusha T, Fabolous, Birdman, T-Pain & DJ Khaled (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) The remix to “Maybach Music 2”—and thus using the same J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League beat and T-Pain hook—“2.5” brought Pusha T, Fabolous and Birdman on board and also included a new verse from the Boss himself. Push and Ricky shot a video for their parts.
all the money in the world
34. “All The Money in the World” (Teflon Don, 2010) Ross enlisted Raphael Saadiq to help him close Teflon Don with a bang. On the song, Ricky gets surprisingly revealing, emotional and personal—he talks about crying, missing his father, his mother’s health and more.
here i am
33. “Here I Am” ft. Nelly and Avery Storm (Trilla, 2008) Ross’s second Top 50 entry on the Billboard Hot 100, finds him laying plush rhymes alongside Nelly and Avery Storm, who delivers the hook.
32. “Pandemonium” ft. Meek Mill & Wale (Self Made, Vol. 1, 2011) One of Self Made, Vol. 1’s strongest offerings, this Meek Mill and Wale collaboration was an early indicator that Maybach Music Group would be causing pandemonium throughout the summer. Ricky held down one of the three verses, as well as the chorus.
all i really want
31. "All I Really Want" ft. The-Dream Rick Ross recruited the vocal stylings of The-Dream for this female-centric joint. With suave, convincing bars like, “Who can hit it mo’ faster? I’m talkin’ authentic orgasms,” it’s safe to assume this tune won him some points in the bedroom.
shittin on em
30. “Shittin’ on Em” ft. Birdman and Busta Rhymes (2009) This easy going, orchestral joint leaked in 2009 but never made it on an official Rick Ross project. Still, Ricky decided to enlist two established vets who had been shittin’ on the game for quite some time for this one.
29. “The Boss” ft. T-Pain (Trilla, 2008) Ross certifies his “Boss” moniker on the J.R. Rotem produced heater. Scoring his first Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Rozay balances his dope boy demeanor with the song’s bubbly, radio-friendly production.
maybach music 3
28. “Maybach Music III” (Teflon Don, 2010) Though this is the weakest of the “Maybach Music” trilogy of cuts (which isn’t a shot—that’s some tough company), the symphonic, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced creation offered a nice surprise as Erykah Badu sung the hook that bridged together verses from Ross, T.I. and Jadakiss.
play your part
27. “Play Your Part” ft. Meek Mill, Wale & DA of Chester French (Self Made, Vol. 1, 2011) A lighter, R&B infused track first featured on a project full of street anthems, this Ashes to Ashes track was the first to feature the Maybach Music Group head honcho’s new team, as Meek Mill and Wale showcased their skills. The cut was also included on Self Made, Vol. 1.
26. “Push It” (Port of Miami, 2006) Featuring a sample of Paul Engemann’s 1983 tune “Scarface (Push it to the Limit),” Ross fittingly serves up his coke-manifesto over J.R Rotem’s production. The second single off 2006’s Port Of Miami would peak on the Billboard Hot 100 at no. 57.
“Gotti Family” (The Albert Anastasia EP, 2010) Over a catchy sample of The Isley Brothers’ classic soul tune, “Work To Do,” Ross and Yo Gotti re-appropriate the song’s chorus as a metaphor for selling coke. Staying true to the mafia theme of the song, the Teflon Don oddly even shouts out “fuckin’ Mooleys,” the derogatory Italian slang term for Blacks, in the beginning of the track.
24. “John Doe” (Ashes to Ashes, 2010) The heavy-bass block warmer off Ross’ 2010 Ashes to Ashes mixtape is an irresistible anthem where Ross polishes his D-Boy swagger. Though he loves features and often brings friends along for the ride, Ross held court on his own for this one.
23. “Hustlin’ (Remix)” ft. Jay-Z and Young Jeezy (Port of Miami, 2006) As if the original wasn’t enough of an introduction, Ross enlisted the duties of then Def Jam boss Jay-Z and trapstar Young Jeezy to hop on the remix to his 2006 bonafide block anthem. Too bad, things would end up sour between the Bawse and Jeezy five years later.
in cold blood
22. “In Cold Blood” (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) Ross sequenced this track to close his stellar Deeper Than Rap. The slow-building song proved to be another notch on the timeline of Ross’s feud with 50 Cent. “50 you better watch it,” the rotund rhymer kicks. The official music video was an extended funeral, probably for Fif.
21. "Yacht Club" (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) Ross’ knack for securing great production is proven on this swanky Caribbean-laden cut off the critically acclaimed Deeper Than Rap. Featuring MMG’s Magazeen, the piano-laced backdrop allows Ross to paint vivid pictures of the good life while sending shots toward clothing line, Greedy Genius. “I’m a greedy genius, no reference to the ugly clothes.”
im not a star
20. “I’m Not a Star” (Teflon Don, 2010) Before it became reinvigorated as Lil Wayne’s “John,” “I’m Not A Star” was a proper opener Teflon Don. The short, anthemic jam established Ross’ approach to the album with a crisp sound, outlandish boasts and gritty wordplay. And what he claims in that title—yeah, it’s not true.
19. “Made Men” (2011) Just weeks after releasing his mixtape Ashes to Ashes, Rozay came through with this track to start 2011 off right. Released in conjunction with the announcement of the title of his upcoming album, God Forgives, I Don’t, there’s no word if it will still make the project. Like they have done multiple times, Ross and Drake prove they can make some magic together.
18. "Luxury Tax" ft. Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Trick Daddy (Trilla, 2008) On this exceptional posse cut within his catalog, Ross secures his own version of Jay-Z’s revered “Reservoir Dogs,” lining up some of the South’s finest to get taxing over the blazing J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production. Wayne’s chorus would foresee future events for the Boss including his past beef with Trick Daddy and current subliminal squabble with Jeezy. “This is classic, some shit you might not see again.”
17. “Cigar Music” ft. Masspike Miles (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) On this Bink! produced track that was initially intended for Deeper Than Rap (and ended up being an iTunes bonus), Ross purports plenty of boss-back shit talk. This was an early release in his trend of calling songs “[Insert word] Music.” He also decides to call himself the “down South Nas.”
rich off cocaine
16. “Rich Off Cocaine” (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) This Deeper Than Rap, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced banger once again paired Ross with singer Avery Storm. Whether or not Ricky was really rich off cocaine, this strong album cut was another notch that secured the Bawse riches off rap.
15. “Super High” ft. Ne-Yo (Teflon Don, 2010) This lead single to Teflon Don (and an inclusion on the previously released The Albert Anastasia EP) helped get the buzz going for the summer album. Although it didn’t come close to the success of the next singles from the project, it was a choice appetizer.
14. "Mafia Music” (2009) Ross keeps his lyrical guns loaded on the first delivery from 2009’s Deeper Than Rap. Dropping a four-minute concoction of hard-hitting bars and clever wordplay—sending some shots toward 50 Cent—Ricky ultimately hard-bodies the hookless opener. “That boy had it hard, no facade it's the truth/So now when I menage and get massaged it's the proof.”
aston martin music
13. “Aston Martin Music” ft. Drake and Chrisette Michele (Teflon Don, 2010) The breezy cut off Teflon Don results in an irresistible smash. Although the Toronto rapper only appears on the album version’s hook, this would go on to produce a couple of other Ross and Drake collaborations.
12. "Free Mason" ft. Jay-Z (Teflon Don, 2010) Rozay again holds his own alongside Jigga on the perfectly laid-back vibe crafted by the Inkredibles. Featuring R&B crooner John Legend on the hook, the Boss and Hov deliver a gem as they both acknowledge their success and tell illuminati-speculators to go to hell, respectively.
11. “9 Piece” ft. T.I. (Ashes to Ashes, 2010) The beastly bass lines behind this dope boy ode provides the perfect appetizer for Rozay’s upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t LP. Once enemies, Ross and Tip offer up a hard-hitting collaboration—which originally appeared on the Ashes To Ashes mixtape—to hold fans over.
10. “Magnificent” ft. John Legend (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) An opulent backdrop by the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League gives way for Ross to deliver lavish rhymes on the first single off Deeper Than Rap. The swagger-equipped track was the album’s first official single.
maybach music 2
9. “Maybach Music 2” ft. Kanye West, T-Pain and Lil Wayne (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League returns for the first sequel in the “Maybach Music” series, this time featuring Weezy, Yeezy, and T-Pain, who supplies the hook. Despite the star-studded features, Rozay holds his own delivering lines, “I’m a boss and I’m riding like a small vault/Niggas make your wheels and ride ’til they fall off.”
life fast die young
8. “Live Fast Die Young” ft. Kanye West (Teflon Don. 2010) Though this cut wasn’t the first on Kanye’s 2010 comeback tour (that distinction goes to “Power”), this collab was instrumental in re-establishing his spot. He made an epic beat, snapped for his minute long verse, and even spit that fans told him “Yeezy, always knew you’d be on top again.” Oh, and Ross definitely held his own, too.
valley of death
7. “Valley of Death” (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) This soul-sampling penultimate track from Deeper Than Rap was originally intended for Jay-Z, according to co-producer DJ Toomp. Instead, Ricky took it and made it his own, using his raspy flow to kick bars about the come up, dismiss C.O. accusations, and fire shots at rival 50 Cent.
tears of joy
6. "Tears Of Joy" ft. Cee Lo (Teflon Don, 2010) Ross’ moment of clarity is found over No I.D.’s soulful-production on Teflon Don, where he looks in the mirror acknowledging his rights and wrongs. “Everybody know that I’m a lotta people’s threat/Biggie Smalls in the flesh livin’ life after my death.” With Cee-Lo crooning on the hook, the introspective track is one of the many highlights within the 2010 album.
5. "Usual Suspects" ft. Nas (Deeper Than Rap, 2009) Featuring Nasir Jones, the summery production on “Usual Suspects” allows the Bawse to cook up a lyrical offering filled with sparring lines like, “If you follow physics nigga, money never float/Meaning every day I’m living, try to stay afloat.”
4. "MC Hammer" ft. Gucci Mane (Teflon Don, 2010) Originally appearing on his 2010 mixtape The Albert Anastasia EP—the prequel to Teflon Don—Ross delivers another summer scorcher of a track. Powered by Lex Luger’s raging synths and bass-heavy production, the Bawse roars through, boasting lines like, “Limousines, I did that/Two Door Coupes, boy I live that…”
3. "Maybach Music" ft. Jay-Z (Trilla, 2008) The plush J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production provides the proper stage for Ross and Jay to lyrically flaunt their big dog status. Despite Jay’s sly witted show-stealing verse (“True story, my closet is like two stories”), Ross defiantly holds his own spewing, “They pinchin’ pennies, while I’m muscling for meals/And the muscle be that muzzle, when I stuff it in your grill.”
2. "Hustlin" (Port of Miami, 2006) The track that introduced Rick Ross to the world, “Hustlin” put forth a mantra that the Bawse still seems to follow five years later. From viral videos to official leaks to scene-stealing features, whether in rain, hail, sleet, snow or beautiful Miami sun, everyday, this man is hustlin’.
1. “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” ft. Styles P (Teflon Don, 2010) The brooding street anthem off Teflon Don, quickly solidified Rozay’s stance as one of the game’s heavyweights. Featuring turbulent drum patterns and sinister synths from Lex Luger, the incarcerated gangster’s ode gave way for the Teflon Don to vanquish the criticism of his former life before rap (“Talking plenty capers, nothing’s been authenticated…”) while dishing up a huge summer smash.
Filed Under: Akon, Ashes to Ashes, Avery Storm, Birdman, Busta Rhymes, Chrisette Michele, Deeper Than Rap, DJ Khaled, Drake, Fabolous, Jay-Z, John Legend, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Masspike Miles, Maybach Music Group, Meek Mill, nas, Nelly, port of miami, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Styles P, T-Pain, Teflon Don, The Albert Anastasia EP, Trick Daddy, Wale, Young Jeezy