By Rob Markman with reporting by Sway Calloway
Rick Ross' anticipated sixth album God Forgives, I Don't has been over a year in the making, and the MMG CEO gave MTV News a track-by-track breakdown of the upcoming LP, in addition to insight on the record processing, crafting the cover, and more.
From the album's menacing title to its meaningful cover, from its future rap hits to its well-laid concepts, the Bawse sat down with MTV News at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington D.C. for our Hip-Hop Music Preview, breaking down, in his own words, his long-awaited God Forgives, I Don't.
The Title: God Forgives, I Don't
"I knew approaching this album, I wanted to approach titling it a lot different from previous albums. I wanted it to be strong and impactful. The first half is God Forgives: It's a lot of us need forgiveness. I Don't represented the street aspect of life. I feel we have both sides that we deal with in life. I gave 'em one of those feelings that it was a motion picture, a masterpiece, five-star."
The Album Cover
"We actually used a church to shoot some photos in. I remember sitting in the church just waiting for the photographer, and I remember sitting in there praying, just being thankful. I knew I wanted to have 10 Jesus pieces on. Of course, one Jesus piece was always fly, but I just wanted 10. I just wanted to go to that next level."
The Recording Process
"I keep my circle extremely small when it comes to me recording my music. I put the music together before I even put the words to the music, because I feel it's easier for me to write the words and make it fit the music versus me finding music that can fit my words."
The Cinematic Influence
"This may be 'Inglourious Basterds,' man. We gonna peel your scalp back on this one. Quentin Tarantino, that's one of the vibes I was in when I titled the album. I wanted to approach it like a film."
"Hold Me Back": "That's the struggle, the angle I wanted to take on that record once again from somebody who may not have much, but that don't determine where you end up in the game. From struggle to triumph, as long as you stay loyal with your clique and your family, you can overcome whatever. That's how I feel."
"Amsterdam": "It's based around the red light district, but I kinda flipped it where being a boss you gotta get approval for a green light. I'm one of those people you can't green light. As long I've been in this game, there's been a lot of talk, but ain't nobody stepped on these 11 and a half's. The reason being: This is the red light district, you can't move on this side."
"Diced Pineapples": "When I got out of the hospital — you know, I had a seizure last year — when I was leaving, the doctor told me, 'You gotta eat some more fruit, drink you some water, eat fruit and just relax for a little while.' My fruit of choice was pineapples. For the next three weeks, I woke up every morning and ate diced pineapples, and I put the concept together. Drizzy came in, as well as Wale, and it's kinda like, 'She could be my diced pineapple. This special lady, she could be what I wake up to every morning and help me get by every day."
The Five-Word Description
"Classic, untouchable, boss, success, revenge. If you doubted us being here three years ago, five years ago, you don't understand hip-hop, you don't understand the power of rap music."
Check in with MTV News all this week for our Hip-Hop Music Preview, when rap's biggest names give you an in-depth look at some of the year's most anticipated albums. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MTVHipHopPreview!