Released July 31, 2012 via Maybach Music Group
God Forgives, I Don’t is the first solo Rick Ross record I’ve ever paid money for. The promotional tracks and singles didn’t necessarily hook me completely, it was the glimmers of hope I found on Rich Forever and how much improvement there was on Self Made, Vol. 2 compared the first volume. MMG’s frontman enlisted well-rounded features and hooked up with innovative producers.
You know it’s not a Rozay record unless the infamous “What is this?” gets answered with a soft sexy “Maybach Music.” And i’m liking this Maybach Music a lot more then the previous four. “Pray For Us” opens in cinematographic fashion with a memorable quote from the 2001 film Baby Boy. As we fade into “Pirates,” the theme continues with a film score-esque beat courtesy of Kenoe & Got Koke, which could easily be used for the opening of Bad Boys 3. Let’s take a minute to revel in the fact Dr. Dre and Jay-Z are on a track together, rapping on what is the epitome of a classic hip hop beat thanks to Jake One. No lies, Dre’s verse was incredibly disappointing. We don’t want to hear about your Monster headphones anymore, and I understand Ross follows it up with saying “we should listen to this track in my Maybach.” Here’s the thing, Rick doesn’t own Maybach, he admires the company. Your name is plastered all over those headphones, it’s like wearing your own band’s t-shirt during your performance. The song is revived with Jay’s verse, even a cappella, the Roc Nation leader throws down effortlessly.
“Fuck show money, I spent that on drapes.”
Moving on, I remember back in May when hip hop sites around the world blew up with headlines like ‘Rick Ross drops first official single.’ Hearing “Touch’N’You” with Usher, we all had the feeling GFID was going to feature something new, diversity. However, that being said, once an addict, always an addict. Going down to tracks 8 and 9, “Hold Me Back” and “911” are too similar. Without paying attention, you might think you were stuck in 10 minutes of that mundane sound that made Lex Luger famous. Let’s get back to the timeline we were following earlier with a Wilson Pickett sample circa 1979. Cool & Dre on the beat for “Ashamed,” but it felt slightly lacklustre compared to their usual production quality. Needless to say, the story Ross tells tugs on more heartstrings then Deeper Than Rap and Teflon Don combined.
Next up, it’s time to show some appreciation for the Grammy winning Florida super-producers, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. The trio has produced all four “Maybach Music” titled tracks, going back to 2008 (Trilla). Number IV being the best, it represents the vehicle the track is named after to perfection, smooth and luxurious. The production is of the highest quality and features sophisticated jazz-like instrumentation, Ne-Yo delivers a silky hook as per usual, and the Bawse continues on with the laid back flow. Back-to-back J-League creations take us to “Sixteen” featuring André 3000. “When sixteen ain’t enough” are the perfect words for 3-stacks, who could rhyme for 3000 bars and you’d still pay close attention. The cool hand luke flow, playful jabs and guitar solo is reminiscent of The Love Below.
Pharrell drops a classic beat for “Presidential,” but is replaced on the hook with recent Roc Nation signed singer-songwriter Elijah Blake. For the following number, “Ice Cold,” I was almost certain there was a sample, but after examining the liner notes, nothing. Producer Reefa, who’s worked with Fabolous, Game, and Gucci, uses heavy kicks and drums, with distorted underlying looping vocals.
After Rick Ross had two seizures, he was told to drink more water and eat more fruit. In an interview, he mentioned pineapples were his favourite fruit. So we get “Diced Pineapples,” a track for and about the ladies…well done Rozay. It features a well-orchestrated verse from MMG’s Wale and a soft hook from YMCMB’s Drake. The glossy-layered beat is produced by Cardiak and resembles his joint on SM, Vol. 2, “Fluorescent Ink.”
Speaking of, much like Self Made, Vol. 2, Rick Ross (and company) made vast improvements based on either reviews, maturity, inspiration, or all of the above. The main difference with God Forgives, I Don’t versus the previous albums, is diversity (as mentioned before). No one wants to hear the same beats, stories, verses, features over and over again. Not only do you lack a growth in new fans, but eventually the fans you do have lose interest. Yes Rick Ross tried some new material on for size, and it fit well.
The album sold 215,000 copies first week, followed by 56,000 last week.
What did you think of God Forgives, I Don’t?