Posted by , Dec 11, 2015 at 07:39pm
EDITOR RATING
75%
Golden: 4Broken: 0
Unanimous
AUDIENCE RATING
58%
298 votes
Editor reviews (tap to expand)
75%
Patrick Lyons
A new chapter
Rozay presents an new aging strategy much more graceful than his last two albums, reigning in the more outlandish aspects of his persona but retaining the charisma.
912
76%
Danny Schwartz
I like this Maybach Music
A bit more scattered than his rock-solid prelude mixtape "Black Dollar," "Black Market" leaves no corner of Rozay's blustering braggadocio unexplored. It's hard to imagine Ross releasing better project at this stage of his career. My only prescription is more Storch.
1615
79%
Angus Walker
Highly underrated
I say highly underrated after seeing its unfortunate first-week numbers, but "Black Market" is Ross' best album in a long time. It tells the story of a man of great ambition who was forced to realize his dreams on the "Black Market." He probably could've sold more had he chosen the path of many of his veteran peers, enlisting production from young trap stars, but instead, he set out to build a career statement. "Black Market" is no classic, but a few listens should remind fans that he's been among the most important (and entertaining) figures in mainstream rap over the past decade.
4615
70%
Rose Lilah
Luxury raps and street habits
Rick Ross reigns things in for "Back Market," going down a more traditional path. I've never been a staunch Rozay believer, but I can appreciate the hustle and the voice. Sidenote: Ross should narrate an audio book.
1315
User  Rating:
meh
58% (298)
Rate it!
audience rating
142 VERY HOTTTTT
24 HOTTTTT
22 MEH
13 NOT FEELING IT
97 MAKE IT STOP
User Rating:
58% (298)
Rick Ross adds a dash of realism to his kingpin fantasy raps on "Black Market."

Rick Ross has made a career off directly opposing the idea of rap as reality, painting gangster tales with strokes so broad and bold that the final product seemed exaggerated even before we learned of his past as a corrections officer. This approach was novel for a while, producing the brilliantly mafioso'd Deeper Than Rap and the unrepentant, trap-popularizing swagger of Teflon Don, but when we arrived at two more full-lengths last year, Rozay seemed winded. Everyone's in danger of running out of subject matter, even when it's fictitious. 

After laying low and giving a few of his Maybach Music Group signees a leg-up earlier this year, the once-boisterous Miami native found new life in the luxuriant, laid-back style he'd only briefly touched upon before. The Black Dollar tape was more conducive to chin-stroking and stogie-smoking than turning up, and in the end, much more enjoyable than Mastermind and Hood Billionaire. Perhaps capitalizing on the positive reception, or else unfolding a more long-term plan, Ross has quickly followed it up with an album that's very much on the same page. Black Market, like the tape, presents itself as a fine scotch to the preceding albums' Jack Daniels (just look at that fucking fedora on the deluxe cover), but this time even more so, bringing in parent-friendly singers John Legend, Cee-Lo Green, Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige. With a pair of adult-contempo (at least by Ross' standards) tracks opening things up, the album intially seems like it'll be more tasteful and mature than his 2014 albums, but then we get to "Dope Dick" and that all but evaporates. 

"Maturation" isn't really the right word to describe what's happening here-- Ross is by no means the measured, venerated Marlon Brando of "The Godfather" to his former self's DeNiro in "Godfather 2." Instead, Black Market comes across the gritty cable drama response to the opulent and cartoonish mob films of the '70s and '80s. In other words, Ross depicts himself as Tony Soprano rather than Tony Montana. Mountains of coke and chainsaw murders are replaced by financial stress ("Forclosures") and realistic depictions of conflict (as Ross focuses more on his rap game rivals than imagined ones in cartels). In the place of Big Meech fantasies are grown-ass man problems, albeit with the crude humor and competitive nature of a crime-lifer still intact. The grotesque sex songs, "Peace Sign" as well as "Dope Dick," even bring to mind all those times we had to witness a wife beater-clad Tony huffing and puffing on top of women who were well out of his league. 

Ross never matches the grace he displays on Rockie Fresh's recent "Thank You," a glimmering, nostalgic slice of life that almost renders all of his recent solo work comical, but for once in his career, he shows self-awareness. "Silk Road," a highlight that could almost stand in for "100 Black Coffins" in "Django Unchained," finds Ross offering an honest summation of his heavily stylized career: "I entertain n*ggas under poverty lines / So I paint these pretty pictures as part of my rhymes." Of course, this pertains to more than his epic frescos of mafia dreams, and his aspirational, luxury brand bars are stepped up as well, with vivid descriptions of say, bamboo-handled Birkin bags, offering poetic displays of top-tier shopping experiences. 

At this point, the MMG heavyweight doesn't seem like he's capable of delivering full-lengths as consistently thrilling and entertaining as his mid-career high points, but going forward, Black Market stands as a much better model for success than either of his 2014 projects. By firing shots at his former collaborator Drake on "Color Money" and "Ghostwriter," he stays current, but tempers any sort of modernist trend-chasing with a refinement that he's sorely lacked for years. His timeline can almost be plotted by the producers he favors, beginning with lush J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League fare, moving onto Lex Luger's high-octane compositions, and now settling into a comfortable rhythm atop Jake One, DJ Premier and Jahlil Beats tracks. Despite his gangster persona, Rozay doesn't seem like he wants to go out in a auditory blaze of try-hard automatic weapon fire; instead, Black Market suggests that it's more likely that he'll sit down to a gourmet meal, flip on a classic, and fade to black. 

Review: Rick Ross' "Black Market"

 
75%

Editor rating

Golden: 4 Broken: 0
Unanimous

Audience rating

298 votes
58 %

Editor Rating

75%
Patrick Lyons A new chapter
Rozay presents an new aging strategy much more graceful than his last two albums, reigning in the more outlandish aspects of his persona but retaining the charisma.
912
76%
Danny Schwartz I like this Maybach Music
A bit more scattered than his rock-solid prelude mixtape "Black Dollar," "Black Market" leaves no corner of Rozay's blustering braggadocio unexplored. It's hard to imagine Ross releasing better project at this stage of his career. My only prescription is more Storch.
1615
79%
Angus Walker Highly underrated
I say highly underrated after seeing its unfortunate first-week numbers, but "Black Market" is Ross' best album in a long time. It tells the story of a man of great ambition who was forced to realize his dreams on the "Black Market." He probably could've sold more had he chosen the path of many of his veteran peers, enlisting production from young trap stars, but instead, he set out to build a career statement. "Black Market" is no classic, but a few listens should remind fans that he's been among the most important (and entertaining) figures in mainstream rap over the past decade.
4615
70%
Rose Lilah Luxury raps and street habits
Rick Ross reigns things in for "Back Market," going down a more traditional path. I've never been a staunch Rozay believer, but I can appreciate the hustle and the voice. Sidenote: Ross should narrate an audio book.
1315

Audience Rating

How do you rate this album/mixtape?
User  Rating:
audience rating
142 VERY HOTTTTT
24 HOTTTTT
22 MEH
13 NOT FEELING IT
97 MAKE IT STOP
 

Rick Ross adds a dash of realism to his kingpin fantasy raps on "Black Market."


Rick Ross has made a career off directly opposing the idea of rap as reality, painting gangster tales with strokes so broad and bold that the final product seemed exaggerated even before we learned of his past as a corrections officer. This approach was novel for a while, producing the brilliantly mafioso'd Deeper Than Rap and the unrepentant, trap-popularizing swagger of Teflon Don, but when we arrived at two more full-lengths last year, Rozay seemed winded. Everyone's in danger of running out of subject matter, even when it's fictitious. 

After laying low and giving a few of his Maybach Music Group signees a leg-up earlier this year, the once-boisterous Miami native found new life in the luxuriant, laid-back style he'd only briefly touched upon before. The Black Dollar tape was more conducive to chin-stroking and stogie-smoking than turning up, and in the end, much more enjoyable than Mastermind and Hood Billionaire. Perhaps capitalizing on the positive reception, or else unfolding a more long-term plan, Ross has quickly followed it up with an album that's very much on the same page. Black Market, like the tape, presents itself as a fine scotch to the preceding albums' Jack Daniels (just look at that fucking fedora on the deluxe cover), but this time even more so, bringing in parent-friendly singers John Legend, Cee-Lo Green, Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige. With a pair of adult-contempo (at least by Ross' standards) tracks opening things up, the album intially seems like it'll be more tasteful and mature than his 2014 albums, but then we get to "Dope Dick" and that all but evaporates. 

"Maturation" isn't really the right word to describe what's happening here-- Ross is by no means the measured, venerated Marlon Brando of "The Godfather" to his former self's DeNiro in "Godfather 2." Instead, Black Market comes across the gritty cable drama response to the opulent and cartoonish mob films of the '70s and '80s. In other words, Ross depicts himself as Tony Soprano rather than Tony Montana. Mountains of coke and chainsaw murders are replaced by financial stress ("Forclosures") and realistic depictions of conflict (as Ross focuses more on his rap game rivals than imagined ones in cartels). In the place of Big Meech fantasies are grown-ass man problems, albeit with the crude humor and competitive nature of a crime-lifer still intact. The grotesque sex songs, "Peace Sign" as well as "Dope Dick," even bring to mind all those times we had to witness a wife beater-clad Tony huffing and puffing on top of women who were well out of his league. 

Ross never matches the grace he displays on Rockie Fresh's recent "Thank You," a glimmering, nostalgic slice of life that almost renders all of his recent solo work comical, but for once in his career, he shows self-awareness. "Silk Road," a highlight that could almost stand in for "100 Black Coffins" in "Django Unchained," finds Ross offering an honest summation of his heavily stylized career: "I entertain n*ggas under poverty lines / So I paint these pretty pictures as part of my rhymes." Of course, this pertains to more than his epic frescos of mafia dreams, and his aspirational, luxury brand bars are stepped up as well, with vivid descriptions of say, bamboo-handled Birkin bags, offering poetic displays of top-tier shopping experiences. 

At this point, the MMG heavyweight doesn't seem like he's capable of delivering full-lengths as consistently thrilling and entertaining as his mid-career high points, but going forward, Black Market stands as a much better model for success than either of his 2014 projects. By firing shots at his former collaborator Drake on "Color Money" and "Ghostwriter," he stays current, but tempers any sort of modernist trend-chasing with a refinement that he's sorely lacked for years. His timeline can almost be plotted by the producers he favors, beginning with lush J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League fare, moving onto Lex Luger's high-octane compositions, and now settling into a comfortable rhythm atop Jake One, DJ Premier and Jahlil Beats tracks. Despite his gangster persona, Rozay doesn't seem like he wants to go out in a auditory blaze of try-hard automatic weapon fire; instead, Black Market suggests that it's more likely that he'll sit down to a gourmet meal, flip on a classic, and fade to black. 

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