July 26, 2012


God Forgives, Son Raw don’t.

Soo… Rozay’s new album is going down like a 3 day old, triple-stuffed burrito. Doubts about freshness abound and you can’t help but wonder if his whole steez is past its expiry date. Even if you thought Rich Forever was great with its umpteenth B.M.F remakes, do you really have an appetite for more of the same? Ross hopes you do, but as in all appetite-related issues, he can probably stomach more than mere mortals. The problem is Rawse has clearly forgotten why people like Rawse: not because he’s a great rapper, not because he’s the thuggest rapper but because nobody sounds better over luxurious instrumentals. Take that away and he’s a fake Young Jeezy in an era where the real one can’t get a release date.

Only the staunchest Trap-a-Holics will get excited for the 4th rate B.M.F retreads from jabronies like G5 & Young Shun and it’s telling that Lex Luger is nowhere to be found on this album – at least he had the dignity to realize that his signature riddim is dead and that it’s time to move on. Meanwhile, the R&B tracks that should be Rozay’s strong-suit never quite connect: none of these come close the flawless elegance of Teflon Don or Deeper than Rap.

It’s too bad because in the midst of all this disappointment, Rawse also delivers the finest distillation of his appeal yet. Maybach Music IV and Sixteen are absolutely stunning examples of the yacht-rap Rozay made his name off of: shimmering, explosive avant-funk tracks over which Rozay gets to indulge his Isaac Hayes fantasies. There’s sax solos, guitar solos, long-form Andre 3K verses, L.A Reid, exploding pandas and an auto-tuned Ne-Yo chorus line of epic proportions: we’re talking about the rap equivalent of a Michael Bay movie or a Trump Hotel. Credit to the J.U.S.T.I.C.E league, while most rappers sound stupid over this kind of high-drama, they’ve found a unique chemistry with Ross over the past few albums and allow themselves to go wild here. If MMIV were anymore bombastic, MF DOOM might mistake it for an 80s record and sample it. Until that happens, Ross would do well to tap these guys for an entire album. No one’s buying his shit for raw rap beats.

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