Album review: Rick Ross' 'Teflon Don'
Two years ago, the Smoking Gun revealed William Roberts’ prison guard past. For a man who had constructed an elaborate self-portrait as a yacht-sailing, crab-eating, cocaine-peddling kingpin, it should’ve been a death blow — particularly when perpetual opportunist 50 Cent equated him to Chris Rock’s faux-gangsta from “CB4.” But unlike the rose wine from which he derived his “Rozay” nickname, Ross has improved with age.
Hence “Teflon Don,” which refers to Ross’ ability to duck any credibility allegations. Whereas his first album, “Port of Miami,” relied on Michael Bay-worthy bombast, Ross has evolved into a surprisingly nimble rapper, as revealed on “Free Mason,” “Live Fast, Die Young,” and “Maybach Music III,” where his husky blunt-burned boasts hold their own against fellow heavyweights Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye West and Jadakiss.
His chimerical mythologizing is as stubbornly entertaining as anything James Cameron could cook up, but Ross also reveals an endearing peek behind the platinum curtain. The Cee-Lo-assisted “Tears of Joy” examines the perils of holding the top perch, while “All the Money in the World” mourns his deceased dad.
Sonically, the album is beautifully constructed, with West, No I.D., the Inkredibles and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League creating a symphonic grandeur to match Ross’ elaborate delusions.
One of the best summer blockbusters in recent memory, “Teflon Don” proves how thin the line is between a flight of fancy and something fantastic.
— Jeff Weiss
Three and a half stars (Out of four)
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