I know you've noticed the sequence. 50 cent kicked the door in…with both feet. Who says you have to be a good rapper to make a good rap album? When the smoke cleared, Jeezy was standing there with a snowman t-shirt and a platinum plaque. Don't be surprised if you see that fat man with the “bin Laden beard” do the same. With "Port of Miami" it seems that Rick Ross has captured the essence. His new affiliation with Def Jam has afforded him those large label luxuries such as great production and over zealous promotion. Hustlin' hit the airwaves a few months ago and took off. It seems that Ricky Ross will be able to keep the music industry buzzing around Miami a little while longer.
Rick Ross jumps right into the drug game starting with the initial seconds of the album. A reporter briefs us with the news of a drug raid then fades into Push It, which has a Scarface-like theme and an 80s sound. Cross That Line, heavy on strings, brings synth-retro production with just enough bump. Not to mention Akon brings the track alive with his unique sound (see Jeezy's Soul Survivor). So far so good until you get to I'm Bad which is all around weak. The lyrics, the beat, the concept, the hook…yeah I'd give it four thumbs down. Where My Money will probably get more play than it deserves just because you'll amuse yourself shouting “Where my money” to no one in particular. Next to Hustlin', Boss is probably the hottest song on the album. Ricky managed to rhyme the word boss with Porsche in this masterpiece but we can let that slide especially with production from Cool and Dre.
Towards the end of the album, Lil Wayne makes an appearance on I'm a G and Rick Ross says he has "more cars than a racist". Uh…whatever rhymes I guess. Needless to say all three verses were forgettable so feel free to skip to the next track (sorry you had to be a part of this Brisco).
There you have it. Another hip hop record and another opportunity to ask yourself why you enjoy albums of this nature. It's something you can ride to. It's something that bangs in the trunk. It's something that you can listen to while doing other things and not feel like you're missing out on the musical ingenuity. Never mind that the "Port of Miami" sounds like a soundtrack for the original Miami Vice. Forget that all you've heard for the past hour and change was a commercial for distributing illegal nose and pipe candy. Forget all that. Let's focus on the things we've learned. White is Ricky's favorite color. He has maybe three cars but the 745 is his pride and joy. And there must be an elf on his shoulder that repeats the last word of every line of every verse while he's recording. Rick Ross aka the king of the echo. Let's face it, if you don't have a gimmick you probably won't make it in the world of 50s and Jeezys. 50 sings hooks, Jeezy adlibs and Ricky repeats. Simple enough. All in all this was a solid product from Rick Ross. You got what you expected. No one expected a hip hop classic or groundbreaking innovation. What you got were beats that thump, catchy tunes and a baritone flow to mildly satisfy the hip hop fan.