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Rick Ross - Mastermind

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Mastermind

Rick Ross

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Not one to evolve at any rate above a snail's pace, Miami rapper Rick Ross is gloriously stuck on gangsta rap, having found a simple yet seemingly secret formula that no other hip-hopper has been able to steal, at least not for more than a single or two. Mastermind -- Ross' annual stomp-and-swagger album, 2014 edition -- could be swapped out with 2009's Deeper Than Rap and only those burnt out on the album would know the difference, but when being stuck in a rut means you grind your wheels and all that spews out is gold, you only need to look to successful artists like the always funky James Brown, the always rockin' AC/DC, and the always stoned Devin the Dude for guidance. Always the same and always awesome is how Ross plays it, although to be fair, these clever street rhymes, the raspy and forceful delivery, plus the million-dollar beats are now allowed a little more room to roam as many Mastermind cuts pound past the five-minute mark. It makes the songs feel all the more epic, something that benefits the husky highlight "The Devil Is a Lie," a "crime pays" anthem with special guest Jay-Z, although the biggest monolith here is the Jeezy feature "War Ready," a claustrophobic battle cry that brings all the thrill and chaos of a Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or even Mortal Kombat showdown. The challenges of living outside the law are addressed from beginning to end with "Drug Dealers Dream" representing square one ("Eating out of trash, sure do make you a killer"), while the Diddy-produced "Nobody" looks at the self-reliant and lonely life of a gangsta, all alone "Having sushi down at Nobu/Strapped like an Afghan soldier, and nowhere to go to" just because folks don't like that "My desire for fine things made me a liar." Variety is added when bad-man reggae enters the picture ("Mafia Music III" with Sizzla and Mavado) or the Weeknd give Ross a rare glimpse of elegant R&B heaven (harps and the pace of a Prince ballad power the great "In Vein"), plus the album is a bit more raw than previous, so expect more fan favorites than hit singles. Otherwise, this is business as usual, and business is absolutely gangbusters. ~ David Jeffries

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Mastermind

Rick Ross

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1
Intro 00:01:01

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Robin Leonard, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Rich Is Gangsta 00:03:16

Alan Gorrie, ComposerLyricist - William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Testa, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Rivers, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Stuart, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Ben Diehl, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Byron Forest II, ComposerLyricist - Black Metaphor, Producer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Producer, Additional Producer - Stephen McDowell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Drug Dealers Dream 00:04:02

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Testa, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Rivers, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Sam Bohl, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Whole Slab, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Jerard Wiggins, ComposerLyricist - J. Manifest, Producer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Shots Fired 00:00:53

Not Applicable, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Cira Larkin, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Nobody 00:04:41

Sean "Puffy" Combs, ComposerLyricist - Steven Jordan, ComposerLyricist - Teedra Moses, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - W. Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Combs, Producer - Christopher Wallace, ComposerLyricist - Matthew Testa, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Preston, ComposerLyricist - STEVIE J., Producer - Rick Ross, MainArtist - French Montana, FeaturedArtist - Karim Kharbouch, ComposerLyricist - George Johnson Jr., ComposerLyricist - DJ Enuff, Producer, Co-Producer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ephrem Lopez, ComposerLyricist - Jean Louhisdon, ComposerLyricist - Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Producer, Additional Producer, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Stephen McDowell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jiv Pos, Producer, Co-Producer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
The Devil Is A Lie 00:05:10

Shawn Carter, ComposerLyricist - W. Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Ramon Rivas, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jay Z, FeaturedArtist - Jason Patterson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Leshawn S. Rogers, ComposerLyricist - Sam Bohl, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Berry IV, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - LeShawn Rogers, Producer, Co-Producer - Willie McNeal, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Omar Walker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Zeke Mishanec, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Mafia Music III 00:05:07

Bobby Dixon, ComposerLyricist - Robbie Lyn, ComposerLyricist - Roosevelt Harrell, ComposerLyricist - William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - David Brooks, ComposerLyricist - Stephen McGregor, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mavado, FeaturedArtist - Sizzla, FeaturedArtist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Miguel Collins, ComposerLyricist - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kirk Andre Bennett, ComposerLyricist - Robert Warren Shakespeare, ComposerLyricist - Jason Guida, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Michael Bink, Producer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
War Ready 00:07:03

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Jay Jenkins, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeezy, FeaturedArtist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Tony Rey, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Diehl, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michael L. Williams II, ComposerLyricist - Asheton Hogan, ComposerLyricist - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Will Made-It, Producer - Tracy T, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Jason Guida, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
What A Shame 00:02:14

Clifford Smith, ComposerLyricist - Corey Woods, ComposerLyricist - Dennis Coles, ComposerLyricist - Russell Jones, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Spencer, ComposerLyricist - Jason Hunter, ComposerLyricist - Gary Grice, ComposerLyricist - William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Salahadeen Wilds, ComposerLyricist - David Willis, ComposerLyricist - Ricky Smith, ComposerLyricist - Richard Randolph, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - French Montana, FeaturedArtist - Karim Kharbouch, ComposerLyricist - Robert F. "Prince Rakeem" Diggs, ComposerLyricist - Sharif Slater, ComposerLyricist - Lamont Jody Hawkins, ComposerLyricist - Saladine T. Wallace, ComposerLyricist - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Todd Robinson, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Hector Marin, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Sharif "Reefa" Slater, Producer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Supreme 00:03:38

Keith Sweat, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Scott Storch, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - MILES GREGORY, ComposerLyricist - Katt Williams, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Producer, Additional Producer - Michelle Trumpler, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Victoria Holland, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Blk & Wht 00:03:59

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Dwayne Richardson, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Testa, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - D. Rich, Producer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stephen McDowell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tadarius McCombs, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Dope Bitch Skit 00:02:53

Not Applicable, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - RK, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer - Money Marie, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer - Tak (the underboss), Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
In Vein 00:04:21

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Testa, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Jason Quenneville, ComposerLyricist - The Weeknd, Producer, FeaturedArtist - Abel Tesfaye, ComposerLyricist - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Todd Robinson, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason "DaHeala" Quenneville, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Producer, Additional Producer - Stephen McDowell, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Victoria Holland, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Sanctified 00:04:49

Mike Dean, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Sean Anderson, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Betty Wright, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Kanye West, Producer, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - Noah Goldstein, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Nathaniel Alford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Big Sean, FeaturedArtist - Dijon McFarlane, ComposerLyricist - Dijon "DJ Mustard" McFarlane, Producer, Co-Producer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dustin Capulong, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Raphael Mesquita, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Walkin' On Air 00:04:28

William Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Dwayne Richardson, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Cruz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Meek Mill, FeaturedArtist - Robert Williams, ComposerLyricist - D. Rich, Producer - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Whole Slab, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Stephen McDowell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Thug Cry 00:04:24

W. Roberts, ComposerLyricist - Opio Lindsey, ComposerLyricist - Tajai Massey, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Marasciullo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Producer - Salo, ComposerLyricist - Lil Wayne, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - Billy Cobham, ComposerLyricist - Rick Ross, MainArtist - Kenneth Bartolomei, ComposerLyricist - Damani Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Alvin Pleasant Carter, ComposerLyricist - Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kevin Dean Crowe, ComposerLyricist - Erik Reyes Ortiz, ComposerLyricist - Michael "Banger" Cahadia, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stephen McDowell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Salome Jackson, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2014 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Not one to evolve at any rate above a snail's pace, Miami rapper Rick Ross is gloriously stuck on gangsta rap, having found a simple yet seemingly secret formula that no other hip-hopper has been able to steal, at least not for more than a single or two. Mastermind -- Ross' annual stomp-and-swagger album, 2014 edition -- could be swapped out with 2009's Deeper Than Rap and only those burnt out on the album would know the difference, but when being stuck in a rut means you grind your wheels and all that spews out is gold, you only need to look to successful artists like the always funky James Brown, the always rockin' AC/DC, and the always stoned Devin the Dude for guidance. Always the same and always awesome is how Ross plays it, although to be fair, these clever street rhymes, the raspy and forceful delivery, plus the million-dollar beats are now allowed a little more room to roam as many Mastermind cuts pound past the five-minute mark. It makes the songs feel all the more epic, something that benefits the husky highlight "The Devil Is a Lie," a "crime pays" anthem with special guest Jay-Z, although the biggest monolith here is the Jeezy feature "War Ready," a claustrophobic battle cry that brings all the thrill and chaos of a Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or even Mortal Kombat showdown. The challenges of living outside the law are addressed from beginning to end with "Drug Dealers Dream" representing square one ("Eating out of trash, sure do make you a killer"), while the Diddy-produced "Nobody" looks at the self-reliant and lonely life of a gangsta, all alone "Having sushi down at Nobu/Strapped like an Afghan soldier, and nowhere to go to" just because folks don't like that "My desire for fine things made me a liar." Variety is added when bad-man reggae enters the picture ("Mafia Music III" with Sizzla and Mavado) or the Weeknd give Ross a rare glimpse of elegant R&B heaven (harps and the pace of a Prince ballad power the great "In Vein"), plus the album is a bit more raw than previous, so expect more fan favorites than hit singles. Otherwise, this is business as usual, and business is absolutely gangbusters. ~ David Jeffries

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