Rick Ross at the "Hennessy Takeover" NYE Event

Album Review: Rick Ross’ “God Forgives, I Don’t”

Rating: 8 / 10

Lyrics, music, styles, and personas don’t change for Rick Ross; they just get bigger. God Forgives, I Don’t, his 4th studio album, sees a growth in production, themes, lyrics, and features- literally, things have grown bigger. This album sounds larger than life at times, always centering around the topic of braggadocio, inspired tales. And, while this may sound like a normal topic in Hip-Hop, no one quite articulates the extravagance of flossing in a Maybach like Rick Ross.

The album has two instances of excellence: “3 Kings” and “Sixteen”. The first features Dr. Dre on the first verse for more presence than ability, coupled with Ross providing a capable slew of rhymes after him. However, Jay-Z steals the show on the third verse; he gives the most bars, boasting about his daughter’s accessories, as well as his own. Songs with so much firepower on paper sometimes fizzle out, but “Kings” certainly provides a show; and as triumphant as the song is, is how intriguing and captivating “Sixteen” proves to be. Again, Ross lays down a notable verse only to be upstaged by the illustrious Andre 3000, flowing on and on about, what sounds like brilliant, whatever-comes-to-mind references, including lusting for his neighbor, Flipper the dolphin, and Greek Gods. 3 Stacks knows no bounds here, ending with a guitar solo that can be described as nothing else but awesome.

For the most part, the record is filled with quality songs. “Maybach Music IV” continues the ongoing saga with a smoothed out, passing cut, though “Amsterdam” proves to be a better approach to a relaxed vibe, exploring themes of escapism through a hazy instrumental. “Ashamed” relies on a rich sample-based beat to carry it, while “Presidential” has an innovative, fresh bounce only Pharrell could cook up. Moving forward, “So Sophisticated” and “Hold Me Back” both boast ignorant, loud bass and brash lyrics; the former with Meek Mill, and the latter more open to criticism than the first. On the opposite side of the spectrum, “Touch’n You” with Usher is sure to be a favorite among the ladies, as will “Diced Pineapples”– with a spoken word intro and feature from Wale and hook from Drake. There is little room for error here. The production on GFID is always excellent, and propels average songs to higher levels; though, on this latest album more than ever, Ross has demonstrated improvement as a rapper and showcased that he can carry a beat all on his own.

After working himself into two seizures, I think improvement was a necessary outcome for Rick Ross. Turning his Maybach Music brand into a feared rap collective seems to have matured him as an artist. On one hand, it’s still about the cars and women, but the music is better, more soulful, his rhymes are more focused, and his beat selection has improved from great to divine. In addition, he still gets the best guest features, hand down. The ‘boss’ persona Rick Ross has created for himself is coming more and more to fruition. Missteps on God Forgives, I Don’t are few and far between, and the bravado this album evokes will make you want to light a cigar – even if you don’t smoke.

  • How much did Def Jam pay you for this review? The album is the same as all the others: Good beats, so-so lyrics. Even the Andre 3000 song is overrated. Nothing special about this. No lyrics that make you say “rewind that”.
    Now watch. They will put it out on a week where NOTHING else comes out, get the #1 spot by default (even though it will sell less than 100K the first week) and people will be talking about this like it’s Illmatic or something.
    *~Leaves before some young dumb person uses the “stop hatin’, he’s making money” excuse~*

    • Aaron Davis

      Andre’s verse is mos def worth a rewind. They way he made almost every other word rhyme is just crazy. Few MC’s can do that nowadays

      • daveofthematthews

        Even fewer MC’s can make every other word rhyme at the same time as being topical, thought provoking and focused and as much as i like the out of the box style Andre 3000 helped to create this was just a mish mash of randomness. the Beat was awesome, 3000 was just Ok / Good and Ross just typically overrated! IMO

    • Harrison Boateng

      On youtube they got a review that is far more accurate than this one and AHH keeps erasing it when I try to post. Go to youtube type in “the needle drop god forgives I don’t album review’. It is so accurate its not funny

    • Well Damn What You Got Against Em??

    • Tony G.

      I agree with u on everything but the 3 stacks verse…he’s way above a lot of emcees in this game fam…u have to listen to that verse a few times to understand how good it is..

    • co. sign 100%

  • cresreefer

    well the truth is, i came hopin that God fogive i dont will dethrone teflon don, well it didnt, everybody knows itt, but well, god forgives aint bad, well done n kip it up mmg

  • Mongo Slade

    ALL I GOTTA SAY IS WHAT DO U DO WHEN 16 (16 BARS) ain’t enuf to say what u need 2say? U listen Rozay & 3Stacks!!

  • King Cold

    Beats on point. Lyrics are wack tho. So 5/10 is more accurate

  • J-SMOOTH

    aNY DECENT NIGGA CAN SOUND GOOD OVER DOPE BEATZ. bUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THIS NIGGA IS lying. sOUNDZ LIKE THE SAME SHIT TO ME FROM THE STUFF I HAVE HEARD.

  • J-SMOOTH

    OK JUST HEARD 16 AND IT IS NOTHING SPECIAL. THE BEST SHIT OUT RIGHT NOW IS THAT NEW BIG K.R.I.T.

  • solidsnake318

    Mistake in the 2nd sentence. This is his 5th album.

  • Thomas Smith

    this is the problem with the music today and why I stay underground….He gets 8 stars for saying the same material he was spittin’ on rich forever and teflon don. and he doesn’t even live the life he speaks…last time I check if your selling kilos on Iphones don’t you go jail, or even worst fed time…..talent is one thing, but when your living a lie is another “life is good” is a way better album…..but unfortunately nobody cares about real music anymore……smh

    • Devonte Murray

      yall niggas just must not have heard all of Rick Ross’ other albums because this outshines them all. This is better than that lame ass Waka shit and that lame ass MGK shit. But I consider this a classic. Ross puts out music good enough no one matches his rap style. The 8/10 rating is great but I still give it a 9/10 because I know Ross gets better each album. “Christopher Wallace of my time.” ROOOOOZZZZAAAAAY BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!

      • If he the Christopher Wallace of your time, then we are in a bad time

      • ccwaterbound32

        to quote tommy strong off of “martin” Devonte you stupid.

  • Harrison Boateng

    The song 10 Jesus Pieces was so disappointing to me cuz it was a chance for Ross to spit some real shit on a JL beat like that. But nooope its the I got more money than you rap. I have yet to hear him story-tell a rhyme or spit some shit about his past. Even if he told us how he clocked in to work as a C.O. I do not think that would be bad either

    • You expect some “real” shit from dude (Rick Ross)? lol…you trippin’. Everything about dude is fabricated. I like his music, but dude’s a phony, straight up & down. He raps about the same shit over and over. Material shit, selling coke, and beautiful women he has (I guess) only because he’s one of the biggest “acts” in rap today. Cats be at least 35 years of age, and all they can do is come up w/ 16 tracks about the outfits they wear and what kinda car they drive? lol… Oh, and every rapper has a Maybach, w/ a chopper on the seat, while blowing “loud” (or “purp”), w/ numerous bricks of cocaine in the trunk. Talk about beating a dead horse…

  • daveofthematthews

    I have to admit and say again that the Beat for “16” is real nice, hopefully now Slaughterhouse borrow this instrumental and show how lyrics can be and should be properly delivered over this kinda track… Come on Crooked you know you wanna!!

  • all i can say is-back to nas.

  • Young Goku

    Is it me or do Dre 3 stacks sounds like Erykah Badu lowkey

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  • cb3620

    damn new york niggas are ridiculous… always hating…same shit they did to PAc… the man is bette than 5.0 give it up

  • Lamonte Johnson

    It kills me how all of a sudden its 2012 and ppl young and old (for the past 12 years) have been all of a sudden overly critical about every lyric, beat, style, team, verse, wateva that comes out of every artist mouth now adays. It’s like them comic book geeks who wait for years for movies to drop just so they can shit talk about it and not take it as what it was. I personally like the album. Its a good definition of great stuff in new times which I have to admit is rare. But truth be told it’s as rare as it’s ever been. PPL act like biggie and pac especially didnt make weak tracks pac had mad wack songs before he was crowned that nigga. The waves are no different. Biggie and Pac was just the first and almost only two niggas ever of their calabare who died at the height of their wave. Say that shit neva happened and Ross got shot 2 weeks from now. God Forgives and I don’t would be crowned a classic and ross would be the greatest to have eva did it. PPL minds to small to realize that hip hop/rap aint been round dat long. Give dis shit time and the artists a chance or else we gonna loose it and it a neva come back. Over thinkitive ass mufuckas

    • timwest1000

      Standards are what is hurting rap. People are setting standards and it will help in the future. Dudes in the gimme generation f’d rap up. WE taking it back player.

      • Lamonte Johnson

        Rap gone be what it’s gonna be yo. Everyone needa just wake up and realize the niggaz that get it in aint gone eva meet whateva standards you set in the end. I agree niggas do some fuckery shit music wise but thats always how its been especially when it comes to personal feelings so it just is what it is

  • Lamonte Johnson

    PPL attention span is to small and it’s to many extremely shitty artists for great artists to shine no matter who you are. It’s mad new age greats who a neva get the respect they deserve just cuz for whateva reason its 2012 and for the last 6 years everyones a know it all. It’s mad great new/former artists each year that put in work but might never get they due love. And I feel for them god knows I do cuz life is cruel now adays. All I’d say to ross and anyone in his shoes is man whateva you do don’t let anything anyone say or feel about you or your past present or future effect whateva it is you do as a human

  • Wil Btvglobal Ty

    3 KINGS SONG IS WACK. JUST BECAUSE JAY IS ON IT TALKING ABOUT HIS DAUGHTER DON’T MAKE IT A HOT SONG. IT’S WACK AND U KNOW IT. BEAT IS TRASH. BUT I BET U GUYS GAVE NAS NO REVIEW PAGE HUH?

  • Wil Btvglobal Ty

    3 KINGS IS WACK AND STOP JOCKING JAY. BEAT WAS WACK AND GOD FORGIVES BUT “LIFE IS GOOD”…NAS ALL DAY!

  • Tony G.

    8 out fo 10..are u fugging kidding me…though I think the production on this album was hot..there was definitely no improvement from Ross lyrically..having 3 of the greatest lyricists of our time, Jay, Nas and Stacks on ur album doesnt up ur credibility..on every other song u talked about floor seats at the Heat games….on every song, u were flipping, spending..yada yada yada..heard it all before…the so called streets may accept it…and AHH may give u a BS review…but real hip hop aint going for the okey doke…Nas album crushes this and Slaughterhouse will demolish it…step ya game up RR

  • dave learnin

    That sixteen aint enough song is very so-so and Andre 3000 had one of the worst guitar solos ive ever heard on that song.

    I cant get with the statement of “he talks about the same things on every song”. All artist do that. Even all basquiat paintings have the same style….so thats not just a a rapper thing. BUT there is somethin wrong with using the SAME EXACT FLO AND RHYME SCHEME on every song while talking about the same thing. Thats what makes this album boring. This is a step down from Teflon Don. And it dosnt help that the music he puts on his mixtapes are the same quality that he puts on his album. It makes you think “why even buy this shit”.

  • timwest1000

    is that fabolous peeking out the right bottom corner of the screen in red shades?

  • I listened to the album and this is my problem with Rap (cause this isn’t hiphop). When I am reviewing a rap album, I am listening for what the rapper is talking about on the record. Rick Ross talks about the same 4 things on every song (how much money he got, who he sexin, his niggas, how great it is to deal drugs). There no substance to his songs. I didn’t learn anything by listening to this record and it seems like if there wasn’t any special features on the album, the reviewer wouldn’t like the record either. It seems like he gave this album a 8 based on guest appearances and the job the producers did on the beats and not actually Rick Ross.

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    HIT EM UP – THEY WILL HELP YOU OUT!

  • OnlyFaDaReal

    Dis album sounds betta than alot of the stuff thats been coming out. The 8 was a good rating!! Dis is Ross best album.

  • firehawk17

    rick ross is in no way shape or form lyrical. In any capacity. In fact some of his rhymes are disconnected. they make no sense but sounds good for the sake of making words rhyme. His content is very predictable. Again if not for his production team there is no way we would be talking about this guy. Another thing he needs features to make an album. He cannot sustain an album himself. Is he an artist or entertainer who puts out big budget mix tapes called albums?.. we need to demand more from frauds so they get exposed. Im not knocking the hustle but damn these reviews aren’t being honest. Dmx was honest when asked about rick ross. He has great delivery and flow with sub par fuckin lyrics. He stole his name persona from the real Rick Ross and stole his style and Ablibs from B.I.G. we keep giving this nigga props? NOt me..

  • gijb25

    Haters are the Minority, You Opinion Never Mattered Lol
    GFID Had The Greatness I Expected.
    And I Know You Up North Cats Vibin The Nas.
    But The South Bumpin GFID and You Know The South Run The Game
    Ross Runnin yall Jus need to catch up…no pun intended