Mastermind Review

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“Mastermind, You say my name then I have to grant your wish” this the beginning of Rick ross’s verse on Meek Mill’s single “ Dope dealer” but that line would refer perfectly to the gift Ross would deliver to hip hop which is; Mastermind. The proclaimed ground breaking album has become the number-one album which would be his fifth LP to do so. An album was set to drop in December of 2013, but was pushed back so that Ross could put together the perfect collection of records. As usual Ross “keeps it G’” while delivering his lecture to the streets, all while enhancing his flow and establishing himself as a supreme lyricist. 


Of course we’ve all heard the instant classic record “Devil is a lie” featuring Jay-z, where Ross showcases his consistent yet precise flow. He and Jay-z are addressing all of the critics who spread rumors of the two being members of the illuminati and devil worshipers. “Am I down with the devil because my roof comes up missing; is that Lucifer juice in that two cup he’s sipping? “As Jay-z sarcastically puts to rest those nasty rumors and blames their wealth and success on hard work. 


The well-publicized beef between Ross and fellow hip-hop heavyweight; Jeezy was officially squashed and put to rest. The prayers to the hip-hop Gods had been answered when the two superstars hooked up to do a gritty track titled “War Ready”. The two down south legends put their egos aside for the greater good of the rap game. Rick Ross’s two slow and demonstrative verses sandwiched the up tempo and graphic verse that of Jeezy as MMG artist Tracy T yells over the hook creating a memorable record.


“You’re nobody, til somebody kills you” a hook harmonized by the infamous coke boy; French Montana. As Diddy gives a coach like lecture in between verses, “Nobody” is a track in which Rick Ross channels a vintage Notorious B.I.G. bar scheme. Throughout the Mastermind LP one would notice that Ross often sat back and let his features shine on the songs that are presented.  Was it Meek Mill who absolutely bodied his verse on “Walking on Air”? Or was it Yeezus (Kanye West) who killed his portion of “sanctified” as Big Sean blessed the hook? One thing for sure, Rick Ross would hold his weight on every track for example on the heart felt track by the name of “Blessing in Disguise”. Whereas the King of Houston, TX, another southern hip-hop legend; Scarface would open up the song with that would remind us of the true essence of hip-hop. Ross comes after in the second verse and once again accommodates to the streets all while lyrically demolishing the track for an unforgettable collaboration. 


Do thugs cry? A question asked by the Teflon Don on his song “Thug cry” where was a surprising feature by none other than Lil Wayne in which he gives the audience eight bars that were right on point. As the hook so graciously fills the void between verses, thug cry was in perfect position on the album.


If you follow hip-hop closely, you might recall Rick Ross being threatened by gang members due to discrepancies over the “Black Maritza” mixtape cover. Ross would boldly address this subject in several verses stating “Gang members claiming that I need to make payments” and follows that line saying “relatively easy, we can go to war”. Showing that he wasn’t afraid of the threats that were aimed upon him and any other life threats that were set against him, he displays various examples around the album. Samples of the 911 calls that were made after a shooting directed towards the superstar last year in Florida where Ross would escape life threatening danger. No response was greater than the lyrical diatribe that was orchestrated on “music Mafia 3” a track where he quiets the critics over a reggae sampled instrumental featuring reggae superstars Mavado and We The Best artist Sizzla. Ross fires back in his verse stating “two attempts on my life, they threatened venues, can’t you see what I am? The hustle continues”. In a sinister and crime filled verse, Ross takes it to the streets, with the hooks crying repeating “it’s gonna be a bloodshed”. 


Although Rozay is known for his drug dealer references as he paints images for the streets, he always seems to deliver at least one track for the ladies. “in vein” is that song on mastermind where The Weeknd would put his one of a kind touch upon the sexy yet grown up record.  He lets The Weeknd takeover in the beginning but right on time Ross finishes the track with explicit content. 


A fifth number 1 album well deserved for one of the hardest working figures in the rap game. From his debut album in 2006 (Port or Miami) to now Mastermind, Rick Ross has maximized his craft to propel himself to the top the industry. Along with being the head of the Maybach Music Empire, he found a way bless the world with; Mastermind.




  • Justin Carrigan, Contributor