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Rick Ross, Rich Forever

Rick Ross is definitely in his zone. In the past three years, the Bawse has dropped a steady string of strong full-length solo releases (Deeper Than Rap, Teflon Don), crew LPs (Triple C’s’s Custom Cars & Cycles, Maybach Music Group’s Self Made, Vol. 1) and mixtapes (The Albert Anastasia EP, Ashes to Ashes). His latest mixtape, Rich Forever— hosted by DJ Scream and XXL‘s own Shaheem Reid— is a teaser to hold Rozay fans down in anticipation for his next LP, God Forgives, I Don’t and Self Made, Vol. 2, and aims to propel the rotund rapper’s buzz to an all time high.

Ross sets the tone on the Diddy-assisted opener, “Holy Ghost.” “Being dead broke is the root of all evil/Get money my nigga, do good with your people,” he rhymes over haunting keys, as Puff provides ad-libs. The Bawse teams up with 2 Chainz and Wale on the stuntastic “Fuck Em,” which features yet another one of Rozay’s addictive rap-along hooks. On “Triple Beam Dreams,” Nas delivers a conflicted verse reminiscent of his mid-‘90s form, while Ross delivers threatening bars. “Snatching niggas out of they shoes than wear they jackets to school,” he raps.

The tape closes with “Stay Schemin” featuring Drake and French Montana. Drizzy takes center stage on the track—responding to Common with a few subliminal jabs, but it’s his take on Kobe Bryant’s ongoing divorce that is most memorable. “Kobe about lose 150 Ms/Kobe my nigga I hate it had to be him/Bitch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym,” he offers.

Despite strong guest appearances—Rozay only raps alone for five tracks on the mixtape—it’s undeniably the Rick Ross Show. The MMG boss continues to excel as a lyricist—consistently dropping hashtag-ready lines from track to track. He’s inspirational on the John Legend-assisted title track, comes through on the chick-friendly, “Mine Games” featuring Kelly Rowland and delivers a club-ready song with Future on “Ring Ring.” And he makes it all sound so effortless.

With Rich Forever, Ross continues to cement his position as one of hip-hop’s best artists. The tape surely sets the table for God Forgives, I Don’t to be the career-album rap fans and critics are expecting from Rozay. And if Ross is simply giving away music of this caliber, Lord knows he’ll be taking it up a few notches with his next commercial release. Hunngh!—Carl Chery (@cchery)

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