Since his hit single “Hustlin’” came out in 2006, Rick Ross‘ iconic shades and beard have undeniably affected hip-hop. Teflon Don, his latest release, stands on three legs: Ross’ image, the album’s impressive production value, and its supporting cast of featured artists.
Ross is a force of nature— he wears a gaudy pendant of his own image, his last three albums opened in Billboard’s top spot, and he even recruited Sean Combs to hype Teflon Don on Twitter. Hell, photos from the Teflon Don release party even showed Ross arriving to a club via helicopter. Despite the 2008 controversy behind Ross’ stint as a corrections officer, I’d say his public image remains intact.
Ross’ improves his wordplay on Teflon Don, which helps the listener forget the utter lack of depth in his lyrics. He just doesn’t have much to say. With Ross, you simply take what you hear at face value. Yes, he has money. Yes, he thinks he’s awesome. And yes, he loves his sunglasses.
Tight production really pulls Teflon Don together, with tracks by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, NO ID, and The Inkredibles standing out. And it certainly helps that the likes of Jay-Z, Jadakiss, and Erykah Badu appear on ten of the album’s 11 tracks. (Jay, for example, claims “Free Mason” as his own with this killer verse: “Bitch, I said I was amazin’, not that I’m a Mason.”)
Sure, Rick Ross gets criticized for his less-than-proficient lyricism, but I can’t help but enjoy Teflon Don. Look at the album cover and tell me you don’t want to listen to this. Look at the featured artists and try not to be intrigued. Rick Ross is the definition of commercial rap, and he clearly understands the business of hip-hop. (Or at least his managers at Def Jam do.)
If anything, Teflon Don shows that anyone with a phat Rolodex can put out a fun release.
Vox‘s Choices: “Aston Martin Music” (feat. Drake & Chrisette Michelle), “Super High” (feat. Ne-Yo), “Free Mason” (feat. Jay-Z)