Like any true boss, Rick Ross shows you exactly what he wants you to see. Getting the MMG CEO to open up about his personal life in interviews is hard, but in his music Ross leaves us subtle references.
When we were just getting to know Ross on his 2008 sophomore LP Trilla, he told us about his absentee father and fighting custody battles to see his own son on "Human." Then when he was marred in C.O. controversy, Rozay offered a bit of an explanation on "Valley of Death" from Deeper Than Rap.
There are takeaways from every Rick Ross LP, and Mastermind is no exception. Here is what we learned from Ross' latest.
1. Ross Got Might Have Gotten $50 Million For MMG
In December 2012 Ross moved his MMG label from Warner Bros. to Atlantic Records and while there was never a dollar amount attached to the deal, on "Rich is Gangsta" Rozay may drop key hints. "Told Warner Bros. that the game's over," he raps before ad-libbing: "For me to move forward from here on I need 50."
2. He May Have Doubled That Already
On "Supreme" Ross raps: "My new deal with Def Jam, just set me for life."The, on "What a Shame" he tells us: "Def Jam see me as a threat now, 100 mil any less is a letdown."
So did the Boss get his $100 million pay day? Judging from his lyrics it sure looks that way.
3. Ross' Best Friend Just Beat A Pretty Serious Case
Diehard Ross fans know all about Jabbar, Ross' buddy who told us he got hit with a 25-year prison sentence on his 2012 track "Pirates." Without going into specific detail, Rozay celebrates his friend's release on "Rich is Gangsta," shouting, "Fresh up out the Fed system, welcome home Jabbar."
4. "War Ready" Would've Made Shakir Stewart Proud
As great as it was for hip-hop to watch Jeezy and Ross bury the hatchet, it would've meant the world to former Def Jam executive Shakir Stewart who died in 2008. Stewart served as a mentor to both rappers and the Snowman makes sure to shout him out in this highly-anticipated track
5. Diddy Just Wants The Best Out Of You
Upon first listen, Diddy's ad-libs on "Nobody" may sound bullying, but the Bad Boy CEO only raises his voice out of love. "I'm trying push you to supreme being, you don't wanna embrace your destiny," he says, chastising an unknown associate.
6. Ross Really Loves Old-School Hip-Hop
Ross always tosses nods to rappers who came before him. With his last LP, Rozay honored Eric B. on "Ten Jesus Pieces" and on Mastermind Ross shouts out Dana Dane, Slick Rick and Mac Dre; while sampling from the Notorious B.I.G., Ol' Dirty Bastard, Souls of Mischief and Camp Lo.
7. Rozay Would've Sounded Great Over J Dilla Beats
Sure Ross fits nicely in that trap rap box, but throughout his career the Miami rap juggernaut has situated himself over a diverse soundbed of beats thanks to producers like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Jake One, Kanye West, Pharrell and Cool & Dre. It isn't inconceivable that he'd collaborate with J Dilla if the beloved beat smith hadn't passed away in 2006.
"All I ever wanted was to make scrilla/ Have a recording session with J. Dilla," he rhymes on "Walkin On Air."