With 9 critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful studio albums under his belt, Rick Ross has been a constant fixture in the music industry for over a decade. Here’s a look at the 10 best Rick Ross songs.
Ever since Rick Ross released his debut single Hustlin’ in 2006, he has been a force to be reckoned with. His genius was clear from the very beginning, making him the center of a three-way bidding war between Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment, Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc., and Jay-Z’s Def Jam Records. He eventually signed a deal with the latter of the three.
Since his induction into the world of hip hop music, Rick Ross has gone on to release nine chart-topping studio albums. After his first two albums released under Def Jam Records, Ross went on to establish his own record label called Maybach Music Group, under which he continued to release his latter albums.
In 2019, Rick Ross is slated to release his 10th studio album, a follow-up to his debut album, tentatively named ‘Port of Miami 2: Born to Kill’. In anticipation of his upcoming release, we have compiled a list of Rick Ross’ 10 best songs for you to reckon with his formidable legacy.
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1. Idols Become Rivals
Album: Rather You Than Me (2017)
Idols Become Rivals is one of Rick Ross’ latest singles and it serves as a chronicle of his personal rise to the upper echelons of the music industry.
The song is officially considered to be a diss track against one of his frequent former collaborators — Birdman. It details, in excruciating detail, exactly how Ross’ relationship with Birdman went sour. The strength of the song comes from its specificity as Ross clearly details Birdman’s unethical business practices and betrayal of DJ Khaled.
In addition to chronicling his personal journey and dissing Birdman, the song also served as an end to Ross’ enduring feud with Chris Rock as the comedian was given the song’s intro slot. As such, the song served a threefold purpose for Ross and was a clear indicator of his formidable influence and clout.
Album: Port of Miami (2006)
Rick Ross’ debut single, Hustlin’ was the single that launched a multi-million dollar bidding war between the hip hop industry’s three most prominent record labels. Packed with references to drug lords and kingpins, it sounds and feels like a piece of crime fiction.
Hustlin’ was the first single from Ross’ debut album ‘Port of Miami’ and skyrocketed him to fame, cementing itself in the Billboard Hot 100, a pretty impressive feat for an as-yet-unknown artist. While it didn’t achieve as great a commercial success as some of his latter music, it is certainly his most potent and culturally-relevant, which makes it deserving of the top spot in this list.
3. Box Chevy
Album: Box Chevy — Single (2013)
Box Chevy was released in early 2013 in order to stir up anticipation for his forthcoming sixth studio album MasterMind. However, when the album dropped a year later — debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 with sales exceeding 179,000 in the first week — the single was left out of the album. Perhaps because the song had already been a fixture in radios for over a year.
The song begins with a sample from a scene from ‘Lean On Me’, a 1989 Morgan Freeman movie. Box Chevy is undoubtedly one of Rick Ross’ masterpieces in terms of pure artistry, embellished with rich details that unravel with every subsequent listen.
A short while before the song was released, during Ross’ 37th birthday, he and his then-girlfriend Shateria Moragne-el had been victims of a drive-by shooting. While Rick Ross never officially said so, the song is widely considered to have been released as a reminder of Ross’ resilience in the face of adversity.
4. Hold Me Back
Album: God Forgives, I Don’t (2012)
Hold Me Back was the third single from his fifth studio album ‘God Forgives, I Don’t’. The song and video was based on the concept that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how much you have, you can still carve a name for yourself. To use Ross’ own words as told to MTV News, “as long as you stay loyal with your clique and your family, you can overcome whatever.”
A fairly traditional Struggle-to-Triumph story, Hold Me Back was a welcome reminder of Rick Ross’ roots and undoubtedly served as an inspiration to the millions of people still struggling through life. With its gnarly rhythms and one-two-punch of the lyrics, it established itself as an anthem for the young and disenfranchised.
While the single itself didn’t receive wild accolades in the form of awards, it’s believed that it was one of the primary reasons for the parent album’s nomination for the Best Rap Album category during the 2013 Grammy Awards.
5. The Devil is a Lie ft. Jay-Z
Album: Mastermind (2014)
The Devil is a Lie, featuring Jay-Z, would deserve a spot in this list solely because it brought two of the industry’s biggest titans together. This song served as the lead single for Rick Ross’ sixth studio album ‘Mastermind’, which charted at #1 in the US Billboard 200 with 179,000 units sold in the first week.
With The Devil is a Lie, Rick Ross is essentially flexing his musical muscles, putting his glory, opulence, and swagger on display. While a lesser artist might crumble under the weight of such an act of unflinching bravado, Ross successfully takes his legacy to unprecedented heights with each rapper compounding upon the other’s talents and victories.
6. 9 Piece ft. Lil Wayne
Album: Ashes to Ashes (2010)
While 9 Piece is certainly one of his most enduring singles, it was only released in a mixtape called ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and not in an official studio album. Much like the rest of the mixtape, 9 Piece is an act of flexion and shameless braggadocio, something only a true titan could get away with.
Even on lines as innocuous as “I’m smokin’ dope! I’m on my cellphone!”, Ross’ cadence is injected with certain malice and grandeur that makes this simple act seem somehow heroic, or badass, at the very least. In addition to the actual lyrics and song, the video too re-establishes Ross’ status as hip hop’s kingpin as he’s flanked by other notables like DJ Khaled, Gunplay, and French Montana.
7. Buy Back The Block ft. Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz
Album: Buy Back the Block — Single (2016)
2016’s Buy Back the Block never made it to any of his albums despite its considerable strengths. It was only promoted as a single in anticipation of his forthcoming ninth studio album, 2017s ‘Rather You Than Me’, and it featured in 2017s Super Bowl Playlist.
This song is quite a welcome divergence from the occasional opulent trajectory of Rick Ross’ narrative. Along with Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz, Rick Ross actually sets out to offer his fans some welcome and sound financial advice. The message of the song is simple. Rick Ross advises his listeners to save up all their money and invest it in properties so they may profit off of them in the long run. The money that these rappers earn allows them to metaphorically buy back the blocks they grew up at.
The song was released as a part of an initiative for the black community as Ross intended to buy back business’ in his block and flip them for the community’s betterment. Financial advise doesn’t always play well in music, but Ross is somehow able to make his cautionary financial advise sound aspirational.
8. Aston Martin Music ft. Drake & Chrisette Michele
Album: Teflon Don (2010)
Aston Martin Music is all about opulence and luxury, which is pretty evident from the title itself. The song was produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League and released as one of the leading singles from his fourth studio album ‘Teflon Don’.
Boasting some memorable rap verses and catchy rhythms, Aston Martin Music’s true legacy is bringing together the Drizzy/Renzel collaborative unit, which would go on to produce singles like No New Friends, Lord Knows, and I’m On One.
9. The Boss ft. T-Pain
Album: Trilla (2008)
The Boss arrived as the second single from Rick Ross’ second studio album ‘Trilla’. Produced by J.R. Rotem and Matt Kemp, it also samples the song ‘Paul Revere’ by Beastie Boys. It featured T-Pain, one of the decade’s most prominent rap artists.
As the title suggests, the song was a rundown of all of Rick Ross’ accolades and accomplishments following his debut album — a subject matter that would become typical of Rick Ross over the coming years but was still novel at the time. Over the years, the song has sold over 1,000,000 units and been certified Platinum.
10. Super High ft. Ne-Yo
Album: Teflon Don (2010)
Super High is an extremely smooth single featuring Ne-Yo, one of hip hop’s most extravagant crooners. It wasn’t a massive commercial success, even though it made it to the Billboard Hot 100, but it still established itself as a common fixture as 3 AM music in clubs across the country. It also spawned a number of equally successful remixes including guest verses from other notable artists like Ace Hood and Wiz Khalifa.