CORPORATE LINE: Sometimes, if you put your hand on the rails, you can feel the train coming. It’s in the air, on the tip of everyone’s tongue. All there is to do is patiently wait. Every once in a while an artist comes along with the force of a natural element and the only thing you can do is get aboard or get out of the way. So, from the good people who brought you the Roc-A-Fella dynasty, the Snowstorm and the College Dropout, we’d like to introduce you to the overnight sensation twelve years in the making: Rick Ross.
You can’t go into a club, get into a car or walk down the block without hearing the clarion call keyboards of Ross’s earthquake of a debut single, “Hustlin’.” It’s the early front-runner for street anthem of the year. On one song alone, Ross has laid it all out there for you to see and hear. Over keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place scoring the last scene of Scarface Ross posits himself as the Alpha Hustler. The hustler as superhero. But, unbelievably, it’s only a taste.
On Ross’s debut LP, Port Of Miami, you are immediately immersed in a fully fleshed out world. As a member of the Slip-N-Slide (Trick Daddy, Trina) crew Rick Ross is part of a bubbling Miami scene that is sure to be making noise on Atlanta and Houston levels this year. But Ross’s Miami is unlike any one you’re gonna see on a postcard. Rick Ross’s Miami is one where drug deals and dropped bodies happen in the shadows of Art Deco hotels and plush nightclubs. It’s the luxury and the tragedy. It’s an American Dream and an American Nightmare.
“I see this album in the tradition of Reasonable Doubt and Ready To Die,” says Ross. “It’s made to be a classic. It’s made to make everyone stop and re-think the whole game.”
That may sound like a heavy task, but Ross is up to the job. To snatch a phrase from KRS-1, many people know Rick Ross, yet he’s known by few. Ross has been waiting his entire life to make Port Of Miami. He’s been honing his craft as a behind the scenes man, ghostwriting (our lips our sealed on that one), and generally making himself a staple of the Miami hip-hop scene. But his sound isn’t one confined to the bounce and bass that made the city famous.
“I rep Miami, the 305. But my sound goes beyond the city. You can hear everything from UGK to Jay-Z in my music. It’s universal street music. There’s no area code on it.”
In hip-hop, in 2006, you have to be as big as the culture you represent. You have to be more than music, more than mixtapes, more than a fad. You have to be a movement. Rick Ross, in the tradition of Ice Cube and Jay-Z, is a rebel hustler. He’s a renegade who gives you an inside look at how it really goes down in America’s paradise. He gives a voice to those who have none. This summer, you’re going to hear him loud and clear. Hop on board, or get out of the way.
“Push It” – Ross mixes hot lyrics with an even hotter hook.
“Blow” f/Dre – The harmony by Dre mixed in with Ross’ boastful rhymes about selling dope to make money sticks with Miami’s historic reputation.
“Cross That Line” f/Akon – This could have been Scarface’s death anthem.
“Pots and Pans” f/J. Rock – Ross once again takes on the same topics and brings new life to them.
“Hustlin’” – Boasting too much about cocaine brings the song down and gets monotonous.
“Where My Money (I Need That)” – A thugged out track with Ross going out to get money owed to him.
FRANKLY: Port of Miami is proof positive that Rick Ross will be a force in hip-hop.
+ CC Morris