Longevity is something that is continuously questioned belonging to any artist of any genre of music. For most, it is a goal, and only a certain percentage actually gets to experience the feeling of a withstanding career. So many outside influences can affect an artists’ career such as lawsuits, private-life, publicity (particularly negative), overall health, creative space to name a few. Another obstacle that artists face is the quality v. quantity conflict. As an artists you want your music to mean something and be conveyed to the fans that are either purchasing your music/product(s), going to your shows or a combination of that and more. Artists like Gucci Mane or Lil Wayne have found a way to get both (through their respective die hard fan’s eye’s) OR they just completely disregard this troublesome travesty and flood the market with whatever they feel is the median between amount and virtue. For almost the past two calendar years Hip-Hop has been quietly graced with 5 full-length projects that are not to be underestimated. With stats dating back to December 2013 Rick Ross has dropped two highly anticipated mixtapes and three albums. The third album, Black Market, releasing earlier this month, adds to his productive streak.
Renzel, as he is going by nowadays, leans heavy on the Black Mafia sound that he has capitalized off of for majority of his career for this album. The first three songs feature appearances from fan-favorite Ross team up artists like John Legend, CeeLo Green and Nas that compliments his sound & musical signature. “Smile Mama, Smile” featuring CeeLo Green, is a very emotional track like its predecessor, “Tears of Joy,” though both very personal songs this is a strict ode to mama. Ross opens up to when he woke from unconsciousness after a health failure to Promethazine (lean), and how she made him promise to stop so she could continue to see her son’s success. Upon listening (whether initial or prior) the song will instantly remind you of Tupac’s “Dear Mama.” Not only does this song resonate with Pac’s dedication to his mother, Young Renzel references “you always was a Black Queen mama…” This song transitions into “One of Us” featuring Nas. If you’re a fan of Ross, you know that a Nas feature is among his best cameos.
One song that can absolutely not be overlooked from this album is “Foreclosures.” With a J.U.S.T.I.C.E, League cameo this track is nothing less than countless other collaborations between these two parties. This track is definitely my favorite off of this album due to the amount of gems dropped on it. Ross laces young up and coming artists about the deals they are making with these labels & money grabbing lawyers and that if they were joining the MMG team, Ross won’t be screwing them over in their deal. “A real nigga, you gonna know that by the contract/ Bottom line blood, show me where them one’s at/ That paper it get funny when publishing is involved/ Mechanicals never mattered because that was your dog/ Now you hands-on, but things don’t ever seem right/ You make a call to give your lawyer the green light/ He look into it then hit you up with the bad news/ It’s so familiar he did the same with the last dudes…” In addition to all of Ross’ gems on here, this song could also double as subtle shots at 50 cent’s financial woes that he suffered from in 2015. Ross begins the song with “Learn to walk a tight rope/ Ever seen a rich nigga go broke?/ They putting liens on a nigga’s things / publicize your demise, and by all means…/“ With bars like this and one confirmed diss track already (Color Money dissing Drake and Birdman), we shouldn’t be surprised if these are real shots being sent to Curtis.
Ross has been on an amazing run with music. His whole MMG power roster (Meek Mill, Wale, Stalley, Gunplay and Omarion) has dropped albums within one year. This album just adds to his repertoire as an artist and wins for his team. Black Market wasn’t an album that creatively set itself aside from any of Ross’ past projects. It aligns with his same Black Godfather approach that he has always taken but finds a way to make his sound still be appealing to fans. If you’re a fan of Ross, Black Market won’t be a disappointment.