Regular readers know I always try to lay out an organized and comprehensive album review built around a central thesis or theme. Not today! Maybe it’s a case of adult-onset ADD, but I’ve got way too much to say about Rick Ross’ new mixalbum, the Albert Anastasia EP, to stick to an outline. So instead, you’re getting a series of scattered, semi-coherent thoughts in no particular order. Enjoy. Ever feel déjà vu? Like you’ve already been somewhere, already heard something, already done this? Why do I have the strange feeling that I’ve already written about …
DJBooth Album Review
Ever feel déjà vu? Like you’ve already been somewhere, already heard something, already done this? Why do I have the strange feeling that I’ve already written about a major rapper releasing a mixalbum in order to build some buzz before the release of his upcoming album? Oh, that’s right; T.I.’s F**k a Mixtape.
First The Ghost of Christopher Wallace and now the mixalbum intro? Why do rappers let Diddy ramble on their tracks? Is there actually someone out there who enjoys listening to Diddy’s incoherent monologues? You know, besides everyone at Bad Boy with his name on their paychecks.
I hope that girl who says "Maybach music" on every Ross song is getting paid royalties.
I don’t want to be known as the guy who hates on album titles, but Albert Anastasia? Really Ricky? Really? For the record, Albert Anastasia was a legitimately badass gangster boss from the ‘40s and ‘50s, but if I’m a rapper hell bent on sounding intimidating, I’m steering clear of “Albert Anastasia.” Do I have a better idea? As a matter of fact, I do: Al Capone, Giuseppe Masseria, Francis "Frankie Loc" Locascio, take your pick. I’ve got 100 more, all with cooler names than Albert Anastasia.
If there’s one track that sums up Albert Anastasia as a whole it’s MC Hammer. There’s absolutely nothing redeeming or intelligent about MC Hammer (besides the occasional “2 legit 2 quit“ reference), but the beat’s so damn huge, and Ross’ delivery is so strong and charismatic, I don’t even remotely care. To bring back Diddy, are you not entertained? Are you not entertained!?!?!? I have to admit, I’m very entertained.
Has there ever been a more unlikely, yet more successful, musical pairing in history than the Bawse and the sweetly singing John Legend? The two couldn’t be more different, and yet, just like on Magnificent, the combination of Legend’s piano melodies and smoky voice work perfectly with Ross’ lush rhymes on Sweet Life. No one saw this coming. No one.
Speaking of turning your brain off and turning the volume up…Blowin Money Fast is an absolute banger. Lyrically Ross seemed to develop as an emcee on his last album Deeper Than Rap, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Blowin Money. But again, honestly, I don’t care. Every so often I’m in the mood for some epically large, unapologetically shallow hip-hop, and Albert Anastasia has more than enough to keep me satisfied.
Also off MC Hammer comes one of the worst lines in hip-hop history: “I thinkin money, I bust a nut, then I’m back to thinkin money.” Whoa, slow down Shakespeare, you lost me. We shouldn’t be surprised though. This is the same man who set the world record for most f**ks in a rap line on Hustlin’: “Who the f**k you think you f**kin wit, I’m the f**kin boss.” I’m not even angry, I’m impressed.
If this mixalbum is indicative of Teflon Don’s success than Ross might want to be just a little bit worried. Personally I’ve got nothing against Teflon’s lead single Super High (which also appears on Albert Anastasia). That ‘70s soul sound is smooth as hell, but apparently the rest of America doesn’t agree. The single currently resides at #173 on the charts which, I shouldn’t have to explain, isn’t very good. In fact, it’s terrible. Teflon Don may produce a hit single yet, but it won’t be Super High.
Damn you Nasty. Damn you. It may be a little raw for true mainstream radio success, but there’s no way you can listen to Nasty and not have that bouncing beat and echoing hook from Masspike Miles stuck in your head for days. (You can consider that both an endorsement and warning). Just when I almost had Nasty out of my head I listened to it again while writing this, and it’s on repeat in my cranium again. Damn.
I’m running out of space, so I’ll have to try to wrap this up with something at least resembling a final verdict. Let me put it this way. Die Hard 4 was not a good movie. The plot’s absurd and the dialogue is ridiculous, but every time it comes on TV I watch. Why? Because watching Bruce Willis jump off a truck and onto a fighter jet is so f**king cool I could care less about the writing. The makers of Die Hard 4 knew their audience didn’t want Schindler’s List, they wanted huge explosions and non-stop action, and they delivered. See where I’m going with this? Yeah, that’s right, Albert Anastasia is Die Hard 4 and Rick Ross is a black, obese Bruce Willis. Hey, I warned you from the beginning that this one was going to be random.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 06/3/10
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Maybach Music/Def Jam
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Whip It ft. Rick Ross" (2006)
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