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Many rap artists have claimed to be a "boss" throughout the genre's history. But, few have lived up to the title like Miami native Rick Ross. First making his mark on the rap game with his 2006 debut, Port of Miami, Ross quickly muscled his way into the conversation for one of the hottest rappers out of the south. Releasing a succession of hit singles and critically acclaimed albums, The Bawse's penchant for delivering cinematic musings over regal backdrops has positioned him as a pure MC_ with the ability to match wits with the best of them. Having sparred with the likes of JAY-Z, Nas, Scarface, Andre 3000, and Drake, as well as survived beefs with various rivals over the past decade, Ross is battle tested and well respected.
In addition to being one of the most consistent and prolific artists in the game, Ross has evolved from rap's favorite kingpin to a bonafide mogul and business magnate. With his hands in various endeavors -- most notably his Maybach Music Group imprint, which has housed stars like Meek Mill and Wale -- and a tenth solo album on the way, The Bawse remains a major player in hip hop. That's why REVOLT is so excited to have the star headlining REVOLT House on Feb. 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
So, in celebration of his upcoming REVOLT House performance, REVOLT takes a look back at seven Ross songs that helped define his career and elevate him to legendary territory.
When Ross rapped, "Who the fuck you think you fucking with, I'm the fucking boss" on his debut single, the declaration was one that was brash. But, it was delivered in a tone that made the statement wholly believable. Produced by The Runners, this track took over the streets of Miami and sparked a bidding war that ultimately ended with Def Jam securing Ross' services. With outrageous boasts, such as his fictional relationship with Manuel Noriega and enough coke references to make Pablo Escobar blush, this track singlehandedly thrust Ross to the forefront of rap.
In this history of rap, few songs have made an impact on the streets quite like this boisterous salvo, which had fans of all backgrounds and ages emulating known gang lords and kingpins. Such is the power of hip hop and Ross' ability to make the simplistic sound like an address from the Oval Office. But, The Boss' version of the White House came from blowing money fast, which is the matter at hand on this mixtape cut turned rap national anthem. Produced by Lex Luger and boasting a vicious guest spot by Styles P, this heater solidified Ross as one of the greatest MCs in the game.
3. "Maybach Music 2"
Being that the name of his musical empire is Maybach Music Group, when Ross decided to comprise a series of songs inspired by the luxury vehicle, the expectations were high. After sparring with JAY-Z on the first installment, Rozay upped the ante for the follow-up by teaming up with Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and T-Pain on the sequel. Produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, T-Pain commandeers the hook, while the trio of rap stars each contribute awe-worthy performances. This makes the song the best out of the five songs in the series thus far.
4. "Aston Martin Music"
With the release of Teflon Don, Ross threw longtime fans a curveball with this ode to Aston Martin. It was a departure from his "Maybach Music" series, albeit a pleasant one. Featuring a verse and bridge from Drake, and guest vocals from R&B singer Chrisette Michele; this J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced offering topped the Hot Rap Songs charts and was another addition to Rozay's stash of classic material.
5. "Tears of Joy"
A sample of dialogue from Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale awaits listeners upon pressing play on this selection, which captures Ross in a reflective state. Produced by No I.D., the backdrop is a soulful one with the boardsman reworking a sample of "Hospital Prelude Of Love Theme" by Willie Hutch. No I.D. bolstered the original with thunderous percussion. Paired with CeeLo Green, who puts forth a soul-stirring vocal performance on the hook, Rozay delves into his zone and crafts what may be the most superb deep cut of his career.
6. "I'm Not A Star"
Ross reeled off one of his signature opening couplets on this introductory salvo from his fourth studio album, Deeper Than Rap. Teaming up with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League once again, the MMG mastermind delivers a pair of domineering verses, sauntering over the track with the vigor of a man possessed. Despite not being released as a single, the song was adopted as an anthem by the streets and was one of the hottest releases of 2010.
7. "Santorini Greece"
Notorious for his taste for opulent production that borders on orchestral and cinematic, Ross outdid himself by getting his hands on the beat to this plush banger. Produced by Bink!, the soundscape is one that is equal parts festive and regal, setting the perfect backdrop for the Miami native's ostentatious musings. From shouting out political prisoner Mutulu Shakur and English rockers Portishead, Ross' ruminates the life and times of a hustler who's survived to see the fruits of his labor.
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