Every artist has a story to tell and a battle to fight for achieving fortune and fame and The Bawse Rick Ross has its own. On his fifth album God Forgives, I Don’t, he tells the story of what he has become and from where he began his journey to success but without getting trapped in the past.
“Pray for Us” opens the album with a prayer from the movie, “Baby Boy,” in which Omar Gooding and Tyrese ask for forgiveness for future sins. The beginning seems though a little blurred, but the album goes on with “Pirates”, in which Ross reveals his colorful perspective rapping “Fascination with fortune afford me mansion and Porsches, panoramas, abortions, marijuana imported, dreams of getting cream and never to be extorted, seen so many things be preposterous not to record it.” This second track is the first story Ross tells us about his life, about the difficult moments he had to face, about success, about his roots and about the fears that are still haunting him today: “At this point in my life, I’m just trying to survive/ Homicide stay on my mind, Christopher Wallace of my time.”
The third track, “3 Kings,” brings in heavy names, such as Jay-Z and Dr. Dre. The three notorious rappers rhyme about luxury living in what the critics called it “the biggest collaboration in hip-hop.” Jay lyrically sticks to the Throne script, with mentions of his daughter of course, spouting “Millions on the wall in all my rooms/ Ni**as couldn’t fuck with my daughter’s room / Ni**as couldn’t walk in my daughter’s socks,” while Dre and Ross focus on the rags.
From now on, God Forgives looks like a mélange of varied arrangements and glossy accents that “often forgo the 808s-and-snares formula” as Idolator reviewed it. For example, on the soulful “Ashamed,” Ross spits one verse on his mother’s financial instability, on “Maybach Music IV,” he gathers his longtime collaborators J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League to open the song with their electric guitars filled synths and Ne-Yo to add a smooth finish to the song.
Andre 3000 makes an outstanding appearance on “Sixteen“, where Ross and Andre 3000 rap together for eight minutes about the path they’ve walked to get them to where they are now. On this epic track, Ross is actually lamenting the narrative constraints of the 16-bar verse, while he leaves some space for the Outkast vet to be the star of the song. As Billboard writes, on this J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced track, “Andre 3000’s rhymes outshine Ross’.”
“Amsterdam” is next, with Ross reading from a street codes dictionary, while the third single of this album, “Hold Me Back”, makes the story of another struggle. “911″ reveals Ross’s fears of unknowing God’s plan for him, so he raps “I bow my head, I pray to God/ Survival of the fittest, help me hold my chopper lord!/ If I die today, on the highway to heaven/ Can I let my top down in my 911?”
On the Beat Bully-produced single “So Sophisticated,” Meek Mill joins the record’s jaw-dropping guest list and raps together with Ross about their success.
Ross worked with the best producers, including Pharrell Williams, DJ Khaled, Rico Love and Cool & Dre, so the tracks continue the impressive list of collabs. “Presidential” is a Pharrell breezy production featuring Elijah Blake, “Ice Cold” features the crooner of MMG, Omarion, whilst “Touch’N You”, the song that peaked at No. 18 for 11 weeks on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, features the famous Usher. “Diced Pineapples” features Wale and Drake and the last song of the album, “Ten Jesus Pieces”, features the Spanish-speaking storyteller Stalley who closes the song and the album with a compelling story.