Rick Ross’ fans dock in Miami

Hip-hop’s rapper Rick Ross is back in ’08 with his new offering “Trilla,” featuring production by Mannie Fresh, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, The Runners and Beat Novacaine just to name a few.

Ross debuted in the music industry in 2006 with his album “Port of Miami.” He held the radio waves hostage with his popular singles “Hustlin” and “Cross that Line” featuring Akon.

The sound of “Intro” is a very strong start for the album. The production is very aggressive and gives off Ross’ usual confidence. Ross sets the fiery tone of the album with lines like, “I’m paranoid/ it’s too much paraphernalia/public prosecutors got me preparin’ for failure, one would consider.”

Giving us more tales of power and profit through his lyrics in this album, Ross’ first single, “Speedin,’ ” featuring R&B singer R. Kelly, discusses success as a star and plans of reaching the top of the industry.

With Ross’ latest single “The Boss” featuring a hook from the synthesizer-sensation and R&B vocalist T-Pain, Ross not only explains his success, but why he deserves the title of “Boss” over warbling drums and strings. With lines like ” …10 black Maybachs back to back in the lane/ I’ma make it rain/ and I’ma make it back/ you are just a lame/ lil’ homey that’s a fact,” he makes one feel like he or she is rich.

Bass, organs and hand-claps dominate the track “We Shinin,’ ” as Ross rhymes about the rich life over the soulful moans of band Tower of Power’s song called “Love Bug.”

The prominent track on this album where Ross explains his ascent to wealth both legally and illegally is called “This is the Life.” It features popular R&B singer Trey Songz. Supported by an organ baseline and heavy, deliberate drums, the instruments on this track fit correctly with Ross’ voice. Songz’s way of not dominating the track as many singers do on other rap songs is definitely a plus.

This album receives a B minus due to the excellent production yet lack of lyrical substance. Even though the production is up to par and Ross has authority on the mic, man can’t live on swagger alone.

Throughout the album, Ross and his lyrics are not the best. Finally there was relief on “Maybach Music” where Jay-Z gives the best verse on the album, “…the curtains are drawn perfectly like a Picasso/ Rembrandt and Rothko/I’m a major player/ 40/40s in Vegas at the Palazzo/ they said it was not so.”

Although Ross lacks content, he compensates with the right producers and featured artists. On this album there is Lil’ Wayne, Young Jeezy, Nelly, Trick Daddy and Brisco along with all the aforementioned artists.

So if sick similes and mind-blowing metaphors is what you are after, this is not the album for you. Instead, I suggest you grab a copy of neo-soul rapper Talib Kweli’s album “Eardrum.”

However, if you want a hard-hitting Miami sound like rapper Trick Daddy, then Rick Ross’ latest album is exactly what you need.