Teflon Don (Not John Gotti)
If I say “Teflon Don” and you immediately think of John Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family of New York, then you aren’t far off. Though Gotti died in 2002, his nickname lives on through Rick Ross (the Boss). Ross releases his 2010 album Teflon Don under Maybach Music Group and Def Jam Recordings (no surprise there) and has garnered some popularity with his singles “Super High” (featuring Ne-Yo), “B.M.F (Blowin’ Money Fast)” and “Live Fast, Die Young”, so it’s likely you’ve heard one of these singles or at least have heard of the release of the album.
When I think of Rick Ross, I think of a big black man with a deep voice, smoking a large cigar and rapping from a leather couch. His music has always followed this kind of style. His deep, gritty voice with his medium flow speed combine to create a very unique sound, one which I can really get behind. Teflon Don is no exception to this formula, staying away from super-hype sounding tracks, instead sticking to nice, clean beats and flows working well over these beats. Despite Ross’ gritty delivery, the album is surprisingly cleanly cut, which I expect from Def Jam
Teflon Don starts out with a very strong mix of tracks including “I’m Not A Star” (featuring J.U.S.T.I.C.E League) and “Free Mason” (featuring Jay-Z and John Legend). You’ll find that every one of his songs includes a collaboration, which is nice if you like unique verse styles, but takes away from Rick Ross’ chance to craft any meaningful synergy between tracks. The tracks are solid, though I will admit that Ross is certainly not a lyrical genius in any sense. His collaborating artists often outshine him lyrically, but that can be overlooked with his classic character shining throughout the album. My choice for the weakest track on the album has to be “MC Hammer” (featuring Gucci Mane). The track simply doesn’t do it for me, with a weak beat (relative to the rest of the album) and boring rhymes and an even more boring subject (MC Hammer? The poor man has been a running joke since his bankruptcy almost 14 years ago). Gucci also doesn’t add anything substantial to the track
The album is definitely a strong release, however. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head with Rick Ross’ voice and easy-to-listen-to beats. His lyrics, though generally fairly weak, can sometimes surprise you with their cleverness and can elicit a smile at their pop-culture references. If not in my Top 10 releases of ’10, it’s certainly in my Top 15. It’s a strong effort by Ross and his collaborators, and it shows well. A definite pick up this year for any rap-enthusiasts.
“I’m Not A Star” – Rick Ross Featuring J.U.S.T.I.C.E League
“Free Mason” – Rick Ross Featuring Jay-Z and John Legend