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There's no more larger-than-life, more mythology-generating MC on the current hip hop landscape, and the build up to Rick Ross's latest has been a long time coming--long enough for people to do a lot of talking and raise a lot of expectations for God Forgives, I Don't. Writers, DJ's, collaborators and Ross himself have in the past months, spoke about the record in the same breath as Ready to Die and Doggystyle, and Ross has invoked names like Tarantino and Scorsese, in describing the "cinematic" approach he took to the album.
News of A-list guest appearances, including Wale and Drake on "Diced Pineapples" and Usher on lead single "Touch 'N You" fueled the fire, to say nothing of the top-tier triumvirate of Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre on "Three Kings". There's also a dose of spirituality on hand, in the form of the album title and imagery and closing track "Ten Jesus Pieces"--maybe not surprising considering Ross' health scare last year, which involved two seizures in the same day.
So does God Forgives deliver? Yes, if you believe those paid to weigh in on such matters. 79 is the record's current Metacritic score, and here's some excerpts from the reviews:
All Music Guide: "All of it works, there's plenty of ambition with little over-reaching, and the most striking bits of the album are striking for unexpected reasons. That makes three lavish triumphs in a row for Ross, with this one being the richest."
LA Times: "Happily, Ross declines to downsize on "God Forgives, I Don't," which arrives following a lengthy delay, presumably attributable to the rapper's health troubles. The new disc extends an over-the-top hot streak that began with 2009's "Deeper Than Rap" and includes "Teflon Don," from 2010; it's rooted in the same lush production sound and name-checks just as many ultra-high-end luxury brands — even the Lear jet on which the second of his seizures struck."
Boston Globe: "While not as electrifying as “Teflon Don,” this 70-minute set deftly mixes grandiose gestures and ominous bravado. He still deals familiar hip-hop tropes, but they are balanced by a new gravitas including references to mortality and the seizures he experienced last year."
It's all Porsches and Maybachs and Lear jets and Audemars Piguet in Rick Ross' world. God Forgives, I Don't ought to keep him well stocked in all those brands for the foreseeable future.