A Nap with Rick Ross’ Mastermind.
I’ve never been one who’s easy to drift into slumber. I’m not that guy who sits under a shady tree, flops his brim over his face and gets some shut-eye for a spell.–I have to work hard at sleep, often relying on benadryl, whiskey, Tylenol p.m., and backrubs from your chick to lull me into the night. And now that Rick Ross’ highly-anticipated Mastermind dropped, I no longer have to rely on aides to ease me into sleep.
Thank you, Mastermind! Pop this shit on iTunes (which I downloaded for free), and count zzz’s.
Straight from Ricky-Rose’s kind heart, Mastermind is the new hip-hop sleep-aid that has none of the carryover of popping a few Tylenol p.m. My recipe for successful shuteye now includes throwing on this underthought, rushed yawn of an album, and I’m off to dream land.
With music seemingly devolving since 2009’s Teflon Don, the Maybach Music team has slowly seemed to moved solely selling yay, instead of skimming some off the top for personal use; that teeth grinding edge that’ll keep them hard working in the studio is truant.–The tempos are down, the production is trite, the beats recycled, and the lyrics…well, I keep listening for lyrics on this album, but maybe I just downloaded the instrumental version. Boredom seems to the be the route to their routine, with none of the pop that some good blow wouldn’t fix right up.
While some key ingredients of Mastermind rouse your fancy–features from the likes of The Weeknd, Kanye, Lil Wayne, the album only does that–rouses. It’s a false alarm of fly-0ver state b-sides–the best of which are probably a tie between the all-killers-on-deck, “War Ready” featuring a solid showing by Jeezy and the sample-heavy Jay-Z feature, “The Devil is A lie.”
The Jeezy track hosts an impressive chopping-verse from the Atlanta rapper, while Jay’s track brings an expected strong showing on his outing; it’s as if, his camp was like “Aye–this is the only beat Hovy likes. We doin’ this one.”–And it was inked. While definitely more yawn inducing than the Dr. Dre produced “Three Kings” of Ross’ previous release, “The Devil is a Lie” is hoisted by Ricky attempting to step outside the realm of fat-boy, and actually switch up the flow. Ross put his verse on the treadmill and the cadence came out nice. (Oooh Killem!)
The decent tracks almost bring me to life after ingestion with their agreeable beats and guest verses that outshine the hero Ross, but fortunately for my purposes, I need yawn material from the sandman…
…which is why my favorite track is “Supreme.”
Laying right at the album’s midpoint, if you’re looking for that tempurpedic sleep experience, skip right to track 10, “Supreme,” where Katt Williams opens and closes with forgetable musings, and a studio Jodeci copycat laces a laughable chorus. This track has everything you want to sleep on: advice from a one-time comedic hero who had several very public crack meltdowns with no rebounds.–This is how you keep your diminishing persona looking large by comparison–put a leprechaun dope-fiend on the bookends of a mediocre song.
The Diddy-produced “Nobody” hosts an appropriated Biggie flow, with none of the lyrical talent, and a shrug-inducing ride-along beat. To make the yawn potion potent, Ross supposes he’s like Notorious B.I.G., with a Ready to Die-esque mentality as the chorus boasts the lazy witted line “you’re nobody, until somebody kills you.” Maybe Ricky supposes being fat and black behind a mic makes you Biggie-like, but that would also equate him with the dude on youtube that sings about cheeseburgers in his car. You’re nobody if you like this bullshit song.
But it’s really lethargic lyrical efforts that set Mastermind apart. At one point Ross raps, “Like Trayvon Martin, I’m never missing my target,”–except for with that punchline, which insinuates that the murdered youth was actually the gun-wielder (?!), or Ross is just a big fan of Florida’s infamous Stand Your Ground law. It’s arrogance on my part to assume Ross doesn’t route for the victor.
It has been proven time and again that playing to the cheap seats is effective for sales, and since Ross nearly has a release annually, we see a Double-R focussed, catering to mid-level employee rap fans. Fans who, because of their ability to recognize a Kenneth’s Williams shoutout, and connect that with The Wire, they’re wholly above grammar school intelligence, where, if I recall correctly was the place I last was when Gangster Rap was still popular.
But don’t discredit Ross as an artist–he doesn’t completely repeat himself. Absent from the album is one of his better ( and my favorite) characteristics: that dog’s growl ad-lib that laced the last several titles, because you know, you got to switch it up; give the people something fresh.
So I’m left to thank Rose’ for such a showing of humility and an ability to share some low-brow musical cupcakes. My nights are now as as restful as sleeping in a freshly made king-sized equipped with memory foam. I just pop on a dose of the most boring rap album in recent memory, open my dresser drawer, pull out onesie jammies, climb into my race-car bed with the Star Wars sheets, and doze to the tunes of his truly sincere layback-music, Mastermind.