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Mixtape Review: Rick Ross’ “Rich Forever”

Rick Ross at the "Hennessy Takeover" NYE Event

Rating: 8/10

After delaying his forthcoming album, God Forgives, I Don’t, due to health issues, Rick Ross has kicked off 2012 with the release of his heavily anticipated new mixtape, Rich Forever. However, the 19-track mixtape feels like more an album due to the high quality production and multitude of top-notch guest appearances, the likes of Drake, Nas, Wale, Meek Mill, and John Legend, among others.

An early standout is the title track, “Rich Forever,” featuring John Legend. Ross takes a more serious approach on the song, rapping over piano and dramatic strings about his come-up in the game (“Def Jam on my heels, should I sign to it? / Million dollar advance for me to rhyme fluent”) before changing it up as the drums come in and sharing the motto (“You only live once, I’m screaming YOLO in the VI”). John Legend does the song justice on the chorus by making it very clear that he and Ross plan on living the title of the song to the fullest.

The very next song, “Triple Beam Dreams,” begins with a spectacular verse from Nas, in which he raps about growing up with dreams of getting rich and being inspired by what he saw (“I remember watching Scarface the first time / Look at that big house, that Porsche paid for by crime”). This track keeps the serious tone of “Rich Forever” over an airy synth and drums, as Ross and Nas rap about formerly being poor and hustlin’ their way to the top. Ross proves his point on the hook shouting out the Miami Heat president, Pat Riley (“Early 90s reminiscing when I had a pager / Triple beam dreams, now Pat Riley my neighbor”).

Drake and French Montana join Rozay on “Stay Schemin’”, where Drake blesses us with a lengthy verse potentially firing back at Common with his opening line (“It bothers me when the gods/ get to acting like the broads”). Throughout the verse, Drake ends up outshining both Ross and French Montana with on this track, making reference to Kobe’s divorce (“B*tch you wasn’t me with me shooting in the gym!”) and letting it be known that his OVO crew is unpredictable (“Might look light, but we heavy though / You think Drake will pull some sh*t like that? You never know!”).

Overall, Rich Forever is good enough to be an album, which ends up raising the bar as well as fan expectations for Ross’s delayed and much-anticipated upcoming LP. The entire process of releasing the Rich Forever tape generated a huge amount of buzz for the album as Ross had likely planned. Now, all he has to do is fulfill even higher expectations on God Forgives, I Don’t and continue to lead the way for his Maybach Music Group in 2012.

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