Album Review: God Forgives, I Don’t by Rick Ross

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?

7 comments

  1. I’ve never been a Rick Ross fan but there are a few times when I like his flow and the way he says some things, but how many times can I really sit and listen to the same thing being said over and over and over and over again – Maybach Music??? I’m surprised he wasn’t sued for copyright infringement with the use of the name…

    I’m at odds with whether or not I like Ross at all… When I like a Ross song I don’t know if it’s because I’ve heard it so many times or if I liked it from the first listen. Thumbs down from me… but it’s not just Ross… it’s that whole camp. Wale is overrated, Meek is straight up WACK!!!! The other dude, forget his name, but he sounds like Willie D, which isn’t a bad thing ( I like Willie D), then there’s Omarion… LMAO.

    1. Fair enough my man, and I appreciate your honest opinion. I can see how MMG can get on people’s nerves. My biggest appreciation, is that they’re getting better. And yes Gunplay and Willie D are quite similar. My favorite member is definitely Stalley. If you haven’t already, check out his mixtape, Savage Journey To The American Dream. He kind of reminds me of a Talib/Mos lyrically. It’s refreshing.

      1. I’ve yet to check out Stalley so I’ll give him a listen. One thing that I did notice (and forgot to mention) is the Dr. Dre thing. Every review is trashing Dre for his verse but in his defense, Dre isn’t a rapper. The verse sounds like Rick Ross wrote it, and he didn’t mention the headphones by name… Not only that but that beat is hot and I happened to listen to it with some Beats on and well, the line fits!

      2. This is true, as of late, he’s a better producer than rapper. I think I just get sick of hearing about the headphones, Game mentions them 2-3 times per track and has them featured in every music video it feels like. I didn’t think of it, but Ross most likely did write the verse, thanks for pointing that out.

  2. I definitely liked your closing statement, and you right we both do kinda share the same thought. One thing about your article I do like is that you go really in-depth. I be wanting to do that so bad on my reviews, but peoples attention spans be so short.

    1. Thanks for giving it a good read. I know exactly what you mean. I write in the hopes that people will read in depth, but even if I get a couple, I’m content.

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