Classic Relisten: The Albert Anastasia EP by Rick Ross
I know some very intelligent hip hop fans that can’t comprehend what makes Rick Ross so darn popular. They see the cartoonish imagery of a man wearing a gold medallion of his own face, making up mob stories and passing them all off as real and despise him. Some people might think that this is an old school vs. new school debate but I’m not sure. I think some musical projects are classics but we are scared to admit it for an assortment of reasons. The Albert Anastasia EP is exactly that.
When Dr. Dre dropped The Chronic in 1993 it made a gangster mentality so appetizingly palpable that rich kids memorized every word. Across the nation roughnecks rode to it but middle class kids were dreaming of putting hydraulics in their parent’s car. Over time those layers of fans learned new terminology and perspectives and the hardcore pre-existing fans of hip hop had to accept their newfound commonality. As beloved as that album is today it wasn’t universally so, not then.
Rick Ross did something very similar in 2010 with The Albert Anastasia EP. Blowin Money Fast was everywhere and kids were screaming Big Meech and Larry Hoover with absolutely no intention of googling who they are. The thick bigger-than-your-headphones sound of Lex Luger was at its ageless peak on MC Hammer and BMF but that’s not what makes this a classic. Forget the fact that the biggest hit song of the year came off a mixtape and what that did for the medium. Forget that the project somehow mixed the strangest guest stars in one place and worked (Ne-Yo, Kool G Rap, Birdman, John Legend, and Styles P). It’s the agelessness of Albert Anastasia that sets it apart in history.
Rick Ross has a ceaseless dedication to his flow throughout that’s hypnotizing. Half the time you know exactly what he’s going to rap next (even if you’ve never heard it before) but he somehow flips that into a positive. 300 Soldiers, MC Hammer, and Blowin Money Fast are dick grabbing mean mug sing-a-longs for everyone. The lyrics all seem to grow out of the melody; just the right words arranged to keep that avalanche of momentum carrying over. On Money Maker when he says “Where that Bugatti driver? Where that big booty diver? Where that Rocky roll I rocka? Where that new body slider?” you never feel a connection to great lyricism but you enjoy it the way people did when they first heard Elton John sing Crocodile Rock or Benny and The Jets.
So its fun; fun on a legendary level and every year I listen at least a few times. The luxury in Maybach Music isn’t just in the lifestyle it’s in the music. Doesn’t matter how you feel about Ne-yo or Yo Gotti its how their used and as a conductor Ross is flawless on The Albert Anastasia EP. How good is Rick Ross? Fans of his reading this are yelling at their screens “This isn’t even his best mixtape?!” You could prefer Ashes to Ashes or last years Rich Forever and I could not argue with you. I just love to hear the bonus track Nasty and can listen too it until I’m told I can’t anymore. I even love the rambling Diddy Intro. Over the years all its faults have fallen away and what’s left endures even better than it did when I first heard it. If anyone asks you what classic even means, that’s it.
stream or download The Albert Anastasia EP below:
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