Time Span Between First Five Albums: Six Years.
In less than six years, he's released five albums. That’s Rick Ross discography, whose first five albums are as hot as any first five out the gate from any MC. If first impressions are indeed everything, his first album, Port of Miami, not only helped Rozay land on the map, but it also made him a rap star. He did that with the street-sizzler “Hustlin’," which spawned a memorable remix, featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy, that’s also on the LP. Less than two years later, Ross kept it pushing with 2008's Trilla, which aimed for additional commercial success with the T-Pain-assisted “The Boss.” More importantly, though, the LP marked Ross’ first album that included production from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, of which the combo helped deliver his first classic “Maybach Music” track (featuring Jay-Z). The Bawse kept making a dent in hip-hop with his third album, Deeper Than Rap (2009), which found the Miami rapper doing everything from dissing 50 Cent on “Mafia Music” to holding his own alongside Kanye West and Lil Wayne on “Maybach Music 2” and Nas on “Usual Suspects.” His fourth album, Teflon Don, spawned the street hits “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” and “MC Hammer,” while his most recent LP, God Forgives, I Don’t delivered with strong records like “3 Kings” with Hov and Dr. Dre, “Hold Me Back” and “So Sophisticated.” Can you say five-for-five?
_________________________With apologies to De La Soul, five is the magic number. It’s usually the amount of albums in a standard record deal, but few MCs ever fulfill their contractual obligations with as much aplomb as they started. Whether an artist peaks early or late, staying consistent over the duration of five albums has proven challenging no matter the era in hip-hop. XXLmag.com decided to rank the best first-five album runs in hip-hop history (First 5). A new act and their ranking will be revealed each day of the week throughout the month of October and the Top 5 will be revealed on November 5th. Get in on the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #XXLFirst5.
1. Port of Miami (2006)
Release Date: August 8, 2006
What an introduction it was for Rick Ross with Port of Miami, which instantly gave the Miami MC an undeniable street anthem via “Hustlin.’” “Who the fuck you think you fucking with, I’m the fucking boss!” is about as entertaining as a first line on a rap song that a fan will find. Jay-Z and Young Jeezy answered the demand for the banger by later jumping on the remix, further powering Ross’ rep in the streets. Tracks like “Push It”, “Blow” and “Cross That Line” also demonstrated Ross’ ability to deliver anthem reords, a few of many hits ahead of him.
2. Trilla (2008)
Release Date: March 11, 2008
Although the R. Kelly-assisted “Speedin’” single may have fallen a bit flat, “The Boss,” with T-Pain, and “Here I Am,” featuring Nelly, definitely achieved their fair share of commercial success. However, Trilla was key for employing the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, a band of producers that would become the go-to group for Ross for years to come. They crafted the first installment of “Maybach Music,” a series of songs that Ross would go on to include on his albums.
3. Deeper Than Rap (2009)
Release Date: April 21, 2009
Heavy on star-studded features and production, Deeper Than Rap showcased Rozay trading bars with the likes of Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Nas. The absolutely scathing and unforgiving “Mafia Music” featured the Bawse taking shots at 50 Cent, while “Usual Suspects” showed that Rozay could hang tough with a super-lyrical MC such as Nas. While Ross flexed his muscle alongside some of rap’s greats, he also used the album to groove out with some of R&B’s best, including John Legend (“Magnificent”), The-Dream (“All I Really Want”), Ne-Yo (“Bossy Lady”) and Robin Thicke (“Lay Back”).
4. Teflon Don (2010)
Release Date: July 20, 2010
“B.M.F.” and “MC Hammer” off Ross’s The Albert Anastasia EP were such big, undeniable street smashes that they became the biggest hits on Rozay’s Teflon Don LP and arguably the biggest records in the Bawse’s career. The album also included Ross' work with the star-studded likes of Jay-Z, Cee Lo Green, T.I., Jadakiss, Kanye West and Diddy. “Free Mason,” “I’m Not a Star,” “Tears of Joy” and “Maybach Music III” were amongst the stellar album cuts that the outstanding LP also offered.
5. God Forgives, I Don't (2012)
Release Date: July 30, 2012
With all-star production from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Cool & Dre and Pharrell Williams, Rozay went to work only like he could, delivering on records like “So Sophisticated” and the raucous “Hold Me Back.” It was also an album of dream pairings, as the Bawse nabbed Jay-Z and Dr. Dre for “3 Kings” and spit alongside Andre 3000 on “Sixteen.” And “Diced Pineapples” found Rozay rhyming eloquently with Drake and Wale on the track.