Over Rick Ross' new album, Mastermind, Jay spits, "Is it truth or fiction?" In truth, it's a question that has followed Ross' drug trafficking persona since his debut. However, the gravelly voiced boss of all bosses has always hidden under a veil of theatrics, and his sixth album is no different. For a brief instant, there's a glimmer of hope in the Notorious B.I.G.-sampling "Nobody," on which Ross recounts with brutal honesty that "My desire for fine things made me a liar." Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before he dips into his usual bevy of in demand producers and high profile artists.
That's not a bad thing: From the soft metronome that rocks back and forth like a newton's cradle over the Weeknd-assisted "In Vein" to Kanye "Yung Cassius Clay" West asserting his aggressive tendencies (or lack thereof) on "Sanctified," each record — as per usual for a Rick Ross album — is highlighted by guest spots, probably because, when left to his own devices, Ross is hit or miss.
This is evident on "BLK & WHT," where his attempts to document the ills of selling drugs are coupled with a mistimed Trayvon Martin reference that will offend for all the wrong reasons. Filler tracks like "Walking on Air" and the pointless "Dope Bitch Skit" only add to the feeling that he doesn't have anything interesting left to say.
Much like Ross' affinity for mink coats, Mastermind is grandiose in its presentation, but it still only shows the surface of the man behind it.
Read an interview with Rick Ross about the making of Mastermindhere. (Def Jam)