On this episode of ‘Verses’ I will put Rick Ross’s Rather You Than Me against Drake’s More Life.
Full disclosure, I am a big fan of Ferrari Fatboy and have been since he put out Port of Miami back in ’06. That being said, I have been somewhat confused by some of the moves he has made over the years and have grown a little concerned at what I see as a lack of interest lately by some of the hip hop public in regards to some of his last few releases. That being said I was excited nonetheless to hear what he would put together with this project and was eager to see what the response from the public would be.
Rather You Than Me dropped on March 17 and is Ross’s first release at his new home Epic Records, which is also home to his former boss LA Reid who is the label’s CEO. First week’s sales projections for RYTM are around 40k to 50k direct sales, and another 65k from streaming, which is about double what his last album “Black Market” did in its first week. I only bring that up because with the amount of promotion that went along with this album, everyone knew that expectations would be very high. 105k total units in one week in this current climate is far from a disappointment, but is also far from the 187k direct sales Port of Miami saw in its first week. I guess it’s a sign of the times, but Ross is unfazed by this and continues the make dope music while the industry around him struggles to figure out what to do.
The album opens up with a song featuring Raphael Saadiq called “Apple of my eye”. Ross’s calm flow goes perfectly with music as it sets the stage for where the album is about to take you. On the track Ross explains, “I told Meek I wouldn’t trust Nicki, instead of beefing with your dog you just give him some distance”· I am not going to break down every song on this album I will only say if you like Rick Ross and you like the 1990’s sample heavy melodic tunes then you will love this album. There were several times when I had to stop the music and stare into space while I soaked in what he was saying and the way he saying it. “My money long, you know I’m out your reach, only fat nigga joggin’ on the beach, Versace underwear but see the ass crack, oblivious to how rapid my cash stack”. Very simple but very vivid.
Probably the track that has everyone talking right now is “Idols Become Rivals”. Just like with “Apple of my Eye” Ross doesn’t shy away from name dropping and handles tense situations head on. On this song he takes on Baby of Cash Money and calls him out for some of his shady business practices most notably relating to Wayne. Ross goes in, “And then I met you out on Live Nation dates, Came to the realization that your watch was fake”.
Drake’s More life opens up with a track called “Free Smoke” that could make a dead man move; well at least wiggle a little bit. On it he throws subliminal shots at rival rappers and even at himself “I drunk text J. Lo, old numbers so it bounce back , Boy Wonder gotta bounce back.” Dude is nice and he knows how to pick the right beats. This album has 22 tracks and is 1 hour 22 minutes long. I commend him for not short changing his fans, and his fans have rewarded him by making sure that More Life will debut number one next week when the billboard top 200 charts are released. More Life is set to move somewhere around 500k units with about half of that coming from direct sales. In these times when top artists are literally giving albums away, 500k units is more than impressive it is historic. The very next song called “No long talk” features a rapper from London named Giggs. Giggs is also dead nice and his accent adds an element of uniqueness that hip hop has been missing lately. With a deep British accent he rhymes, “In the whip, on the left side on a death ride, MAC-10 and the spesh flies, and the TEC slide, nutty shit like something just climbed out the X-Files.”
Track 3 “Passion Fruit” brings you back to earth with a crash if you are into the emceeing thing but will most likely be played 24 times a day on pop stations all around the world. I cannot lie it is a good song but is much different than how the album starts off. The next 4 tracks sound like RnB or acid induced house records where he sings a lot. The songs are not wack, but I have to let you know if you didn’t already, that Drake raps for the “bitches” as Tupac so eloquently put it. He then gets back to rapping later in the album and resumes killing it again.
This is a complete album as it goes many different places, and if you are a gangster dude, your girl will borrow it and you won’t get it back! There is a reason why 500k people have supported him on this and that reason is it is a complete project. It is almost reminiscent of the Outkast, and Fugee albums where you would be taken on a journey with singing rapping and funny interludes. I’m not saying Drake is Andre 3k I’m just saying his albums are not just one kind of sound. His features are not forced; he fits in perfectly with whoever he rhymes with from 2 Chains to Migos to Young thug and shines brightly every time.
Now enough will all of the jibber jabber, it is time to make a decision. You know the dilemma, you have $16 to your name, that is enough for some smoke and 1 music purchase. This one is really tough because it all depends on the mood you are in and who if anybody you will be listening to this with. Ladies will love Drake but if you are into straight rapping then Ross is your guy. Since it is me making the decision I am going with Rick Ross. The singing is so radio friendly that it makes it hard to listen to for me. It is almost like he is cheating because there is no way those songs won’t get played all day everyday. I still say Ross is the closest thing to Biggie since he died, but is still 1 hit away from really taking off with the time ticking away on his impressive run. This album is top 3 out of the 9 he has released so far, his lead single “I think she like me” is hot but not a smash. Ok enough talk now go get your smoke, get Rather You Than Me, and sit back and enjoy the ride because he will take you on a journey.
My certified DOPE rating gives More Life a DOP and Rather You Than Me the same DOP rating. Not quite a classic but 2 really good albums.