The Boss Throws Himself A Mighty Fine ‘Bar Mitzvah’
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
If there’s one rapper who is constantly working, it’s Rick Ross. The larger than life leader of the MMG crew seems to produce his own albums, mixtapes, and collaborative intra-crew projects quicker than we can keep up with it all. This past July saw the release of MMG Crew’s Self Made 2 mixtape, and later that month, Ross’ own album God Forgives, I Don’t leaked prematurely. Regardless, listeners have been getting a lot of Ross’ powerful baritone voice lately.
The newest installment to Ross’ repertoire, The Black Bar Mitzvah, emphasizes him as a solo artist. Although it’s easy to see Ross as simply a rapper one collaborates with, not an artist in his own right, some (including myself) would strongly disagree with that claim. This mixtape came at just the right time—the largely successful Self Made 2 featured just as much input from lesser known members of the crew as it did from Ross. Bar Mitzvah shows that Ross has still got it on his own.
Choosing the songs he did for this mixtape was somewhat of a bold move for Ross. He chose the songs rap fans are currently gawking over, including some choice tracks from the generally unimpressive Cruel Summer released by G.O.O.D Music, including “Mercy” and “Clique,” while also exploring perhaps lesser recognized songs outside of the rap crowd, like “Bands” and “Us.” Despite the fact that these tracks are seemingly ripped off from other artists, Ross does a great job making each track his own while still allowing the recognizable and noteworthy aspects of the original songs to remain on his mixtape.
The tracks that boast the best collaborative effort would have to be “Birthday” and “Bands.” Ross necessarily chose to leave 2 Chainz’s catchy and truly fantastic original chorus and Kanye’s short verse from the old favorite “Birthday Song” in his rendition, and manipulates the hypnotic, snare drum-infused beat to make it a stronger focal point of his track. “Bands” is simply a wonderful example of Ross’ ability to weave himself into a song, while somehow reorienting the focus around him, and his always catchy, clever verses include subtle references to the song title or previous verses existing in the initial song. A perfect example of this—“Bands a make her dance / Mills a make me move”—reflects a seamless harmonizing between Ross and Juicy J.
All of Ross’ new verses added on to these already successful rap songs seem to exist within each track very naturally. Another mixtape similar to this one, Sorry 4 The Wait, by Lil Wayne, released during the summer of 2010, seems to be lacking this natural flow between Wayne and the already existent verses and beats—something, perhaps inexplicable, is missing. Whatever that “je ne sais quoi” may be, Ross certainly has it, and commands it, on this mixtape. He maintains the ethos of the song and it sounds as if his new tracks and verses are simply newly released official remixes of the original songs.
If there’s one thing that this mixtape shows, it’s Ross’ understanding of the rap industry itself. Selecting these tracks in particular proves that the rapper is on top of his genre’s game—it shows a certain consciousness of the scene and admiration for his fellow rapping peers. Fans of Ross will be excited to hear his personal style superimposed on these rap favorites, and fans of the original songs should be open to hearing what Ross has created in another mixtape installment. Of course, the “M-M-Maybach Music” call is thrown all over Bar Mitzvah. But, then again, what would a Ross creation be without it? While some may see Ross’ incredible turnover rate of albums and mixtapes as an easy way to make money with little thought or care put into them, The Black Bar Mitzvah is a happy contradiction to that claim.