Black Market Review

Black Market Review

Tramon Lucas

Miami rapper Rick Ross has been one of the most consistent artists in hip-hop over the last decade, releasing a plethora of chart-topping singles and noteworthy albums. After a dismal 2014 that saw Ross release his two worst commercial projects (Mastermind & Hood Billionaire), he proceeded to land in major legal trouble.

In the summer of 2015, Ross was arrested for alleged assault and kidnapping of a housekeeper at his Atlanta home. Out on bail with major time looming over his head, Ross got back to the music, releasing the renowned Black Dollar mixtape in September.  Pegged to be merely a precedent to Ross’ eighth studio album Black Market, the mixtape featured album-quality tracks with incredible production.

Ricky Rozay pulls out the big guns as far as production, getting a helping hand from the likes of Jahlil Beats, DJ Mustard, Scott Storch and DJ Premiere. Featured artists like John Legend, Future and Mariah Carey all have previous hits and great chemistry with Ross.

Black Market is Ross in his purest form, a mixture of boastful & conscious raps over impeccable production and well-crafted features.

Cee Lo Green lends his jubilant voice to “Smile Mama, Smile”, and ode to a son’s love for his mother produced by Jake One.

Ross’ lyrics are reminiscent of 2pac’s “Dear Mama”, in which he rips the line “You always was a black queen mama.”

Green’s high octave paired with the silky production makes this the standout track on an overall consistent project.

Free Enterprise sees another pairing with soulful vocalist John Legend, in which shines lyrically as he gives a descriptive tale of his current day-to-day life.

Lyrics like “Assassinate Trump like I’m Zimmerman, now accept these words as they came from Eminem” speak to Ross’ viewpoints.

There is little to no filler on Black Market, with the single “Sorry” featuring Chris Brown gelling well with the overall consistent sound and direction.

The most lackluster track on the project without a doubt is Color Money, an upbeat trunk-rattler that features a subpar subliminal shot at Lil Wayne and Drake.

From the Black Dollar mixtape only “Money Dance” and “Foreclosures” make the cut, but both songs sound fresh and appeal to the rotation. Featuring The Dream, Money Dance is the lyrical depiction of the life of luxury. Over Jake One’s piano, Dream and Rozay detail the high-life in a way that is more motivational than gloating.

Dream sings “Atlanta, Miami, LA, we like 2pac and Vante (Devante Swing),” to show his relationship with Ross.

Arguably the hottest rapper of 2015, Future lends Ross the catchy hook for “D.O.P.E”, because it wouldn’t be a Rick Ross album without reference to selling cocaine.

Black Market is easily Ross’ second best project following 2010’s Teflon Don. The production is a perfect balance of street, suave and club. Ross manages to make a project that pleases the label but pushes the envelope by challenging the troubles of the judicial system and racial tensions of the world. Black Market appeals to everyone from the bowels of the underworld to those in the upper class.

There is something for everybody here, which gets back to the origins of rap – consumers being able to relate to the artist.