To the casual listener, Rick Ross' "Hold Me Back," off his upcoming God Forgives, I Don't LP, sounds like a lot of repetitive and bass-y rap jams that promote one-man hustles while at the same time denouncing haters.
It's typical rhetoric that has become synonymous with so many 2012 rap jams, but a more careful listen to Rozay's penetrating single reveals a deeper and more personal message, one that he intends to illustrate with the track's video, which will premiere on Sunday, July 29, on MTV 2's "Sucker Free" countdown.
"We went to New Orleans to capture that essence," the Maybach Music boss told MTV News when he sat down with us for our Hip-Hop Music Preview. "I feel like New Orleans been through it a lot, more than the majority of others, and they're still strong, they're still standing, they still got that pride. So you know, we went out to New Orleans, no permits, just pulled up in the Calliope projects and jumped out."
"These n---as won't hold me back, these hoes won't hold me back," Rozay raps over and over again on the song's hook.
In the song's verse, Ross chronicles a street come-up amid adversity. "I look in my fridge, my sh-- looking scarce/ I got a few kids, we need some sh-- on the shelf/ I get a knock at the door, they say my rent overdue/ That's why my n---as sell dope and don't know what else to do," he spits furiously. "I won't let you hold me back, you can't hold me back."
Earlier this month MMG released a behind-the-scenes doc for the "Hold Me Back" video, which shows Ross arriving at the infamous Calliope Projects, from where Master P hails. The shoot doubled as a promotion piece to support Rozay's upcoming LP and a celebration of the people. Ross, Wale, Stalley, Gunplay and other members of MMG posed for pictures and held outdoor cookouts as they shot in various locations throughout the city, which has still yet to recover fully from 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
"It's like it's so many obstacles that'll be set out here in front of you just to hold you back. Regardless of what it is you do in life, regardless of your career," Ross told MTV News. "We can't allow that to stop us from living our dreams or getting out our dreams and accomplishing our goals."