Published Nov 24, 2014Releasing two full-length records in a span of eight months is a commendable feat for any artist, let alone Rick Ross. His explanation for the prompt return to the studio was simply because "That's what bosses do," another quotable built to fuel the man's kingpin persona. March's Mastermind was the record that found Ross in need of a reinvention, with his aforementioned image wearing thin from speculation whether his lyrical content is as autobiographical as he'd like listeners to believe. Much like its predecessor, Hood Billionaire has a tough time legitimizing Ross' persona.
Chock full of references to the drug trade, it's not all about how much money Ross has to his name this time around. He did lift his namesake from a legitimate cocaine kingpin, after all, and "Coke Like the 80s," "Neighborhood Drug Dealer" and the title track all claim that he made his millions through slinging narcotics. The Teflon Don nears the top of his braggadocio game with the help of some flashy production from Beat Billionaire ("Heavyweight") and Timbaland ("Movin' Bass"), but the posturing proves repetitive over 16 tracks. An incredible amount of defensive phone messages from Miami gang member Kenneth "Boobie" Williams and a "Hood Billionaire" vocal tag that's just about as overused as his crew's ever-intrusive "Maybach Music" don't help matters, either.
Some of the more intriguing moments on Hood Billionaire come when Ross steps out from the guise of the wealthy figurehead and waxes humble. The sparse "Phone Tap" tells a tale of drug dealing paranoia, while the Big K.R.I.T.-assisted "Brimstone" is a remorseful hymnal. These moments are still few and far between, and the rest of Ross' tales of pushing fall short of revealing whether his ascent to boss status is factual or purely fictional. (Def Jam)