In exactly one month, Rick Ross will drop his sixth solo LP, Mastermind, and as each day passes, pieces of the puzzle begin to come together.
On Monday night, Ross released the slow and soulful "Oster Perpetual." It features original production, but is labeled a "freestyle" on the accompanying artwork, so chances are this new release won't appear on Mastermind's final track list. That doesn't mean that the new tune can't provide some insight to the boss's sonic space, which I like to refer to as trap and soul.
Over the course of his past few albums (Deeper Than Rap, Teflon Don and God Forgives, I Don't) Rozay has managed a well-timed two-step with a striking trap sound and deep soul revival. On his last LP, Ross balanced the rambunctious "Hold me Back" with the smooth and soothing "Maybach Music IV," and Mastermind is shaping up to feature a similar duality.
Assuming that 2013's promo single "Box Chevy" is still slated to make the album's final cut alongside the kinetic and Future-assisted "No Games," Ross will not abandon the trap sound that has become a calling card for most of the artists in his MMG stable.
The pulsating thump of "The Devil is a Lie" with Jay Z manages to straddle the line between vintage rap soul and modern bounce, but it's a safe bet that "War Ready," the Mike Will Made It-produced collaboration between Ross and Jeezy, will be rooted in the South's current sound.
At the top of 2013 Ross released a two-minute, 45-second trailer for the album (it was which was originally supposed to drop last year). The cinematic clip, which showed the rapper and a lady friend strutting through his lavish home, was set to the soulful melody of Curtis Mayfield's 1972 classic "Give Me Your Love (Love Song)." The MC has since collaborated with soul legend Bobby Womack on the new LP, though we aren't sure what they've cooked up just yet.
"This album, I most definitely tapped into the Curtis Mayfield of soul," he told MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway last year. "I actually just got off the phone with Bobby Womack less than an hour ago. He's one of my favorites. ... We just spoke on it, so we got a little connecting to do, but it's feeling good."
No matter what the current rap climate caters to, sounds like Ross will always satisfy his old-school jones. "I love making those kind of records, those 'Cigar Music' records, those 'Amsterdam' records, and that was most definitely the energy," he told us last year. "But I record so much material -- we gotta wait and see."