Rick Ross Port of Miami

Rick Ross, like every drug dealer-turned-rapper, hustles everyday — real hard, mind you, harder than every other hustler, or so he says. Not that Ross isn’t convincing, his mouth is a faucet from which a continuous stream of cocaine terminology — yayo, blow, drug cartels and triple-beam scales — spews. But he’s not believable. Biggie and Jay-Z said they sold crack and never stooped to asinine phraseology that acts like out-of-date hypertext links to movies like Scarface, Blow and Belly. They simply told great stories. Great stories are absent on Port Of Miami. "I’m Bad” is the best he offers, and it’s the beat rather than the lyrics that grip you. On it, Ross randomly tosses out rhymes over a dangerous sample — from ’70s cop show S.W.A.T — fuelled by an affair with Shaft-era funk. Jacking beats from pop culture continues on the Cool and Dre-produced "Boss,” whose foundation is Top Gun’s "Take My Breath Away.” On the penultimate track, Lil’ Wayne shows why he’s the rapper’s favourite rapper. Whether you buy Ross’s rhetoric and cop the album should depend, ultimately, on your feelings about someone who rhymes Atlantic (the record label) with Atlantic (the Ocean). (Def Jam)