Is Rick Ross The Next Notorious B.I.G.?
“Resurrected Big Poppa in the Physical”
-Rick Ross / Mafia Music 2
You see, much like Michael Jordan had comparisons every time another Miner, Hardaway or Bryant popped up; other upstarts get compared to rap greats when they share similarities. However, normally these comparisons all fade away once the newfound talent develops and individual personality is revealed. But in the case of Rick Ross, the opposite has occurred. His comparison never came until after he evolved.
Not too long ago, there was a lil spin propaganda going down (bka “promotions”) tryin to say Diddy equated Ross with B.I.G. Although this wasn’t entirely the case, Sir Ciroc definitely made some allusions to and even had the audacity to reincarnate the memory of “The Commission” on Ross’s latest “Ashes to Ashes” mixtape. And if most folks put aside their disdain and gut repulsion of such a thought for just a moment, maybe some truth can be found in these comparisons. So, I’ve got 3 points why Ross and Big are in the same boat. (Hopefully on different sides though as turning that mug over would be an issue.) However, since even truthful comparisons will cause some of ya’ll to get the “vomit spit,” I’ll then drop 3 reasons why they’ll never be close and thus salvage my respect with the B.I.G. pedestal holders.
THE ARGUMENT FOR…
BIG’s molasses flows and hefty cadence are timeless, but I’ll be damned if Ross hasn’t crept up into the current best flow category on the low. He melts seamlessly into the beat, never forcing the situation, but rather serving as a compliment. Add in the fact his “multi-syllabic pimpin the rhymes” nowadays are an upgrade them from rhyming 22 with 22 four times “Everyday I’m Hustlin” days that might even have pissed off Da Juice Man. And don’t look now, but me thinkie he found a new lyrics website or something considering his penmanship has gotten better every album. At this rate, pretty soon even his “name lender” might respect him a lil more.
Big was a gully dude and relished in the fact. An army jackets, combat boots, scowl, scully cap grimy dude. Not that there aren’t many facets to most men, but “surprisingly” it was around the time Puff went down south, directed “Playa’s Ball” with them ‘Kast boys and peeped their styles, that the playboi fashion sense seemed to get slapped onto Mr. Wallace. (Someone help me if you can recall The Source or XXL article where this was talked about in greater detail. I searched, but couldn’t relocate it.) Mr. “Black and Ugly as Ever” became the ultimate ladies man and, dare I say, a sex symbol. You see folks respect a grimy negroe, but when you become the Playa Supreme, the dudes wanna be you and, although the womens might not understand why, they kinda think you’d be cool to kick it with as well. Throw in the classic music, videos, and Versace shades to match, and Puff had a winner.
On the flip, I’m unsure if ya’ll remember Ross from his Slip-n-Slide video greatness. You know, the Trina “Told Ya’ll” video from the “All About the Benjamins” soundtrack where Ross probably pedicured Trina up in exchange for the 3rd verse and that jersey he was sporting. (HERE). But low and behold when he came back to the scene to stay, not only was his look a heavier hybrid of Nas‘ “It Was Written” days and a better trimmed Freeway, but he actually knew Noriega…the real Noriega! Despite the eerily similar style and cadence to the current southern charm at the time, Young Jeezy, he didn’t just run blocks like dude though. Instead he was international with his movement of that white guhl. (Please believe a side piece could be written how Ross’s chance on the scene is is a direct derivative of Jeezy’s success, but we’ll let that ride for now.)
Say the boy Ross didn’t have both some of the hardest and most lavish production for like the last 4 years and I’ll point out someone who thought Ras Kass‘ ‘Soul on Ice’s” high point was its production and then commends Whitney Houston’s vocals post Newport (and possibly other smokable substances) as her best. Not to say that the Bawse’s Justice League and related are the Hitmen, but he chooses the perfect selection of cuts to not only add ambiance, but define the standard for the images he weaves and image he leads. He hasn’t missed a step on any album or mixtape since his first album.
Consistently dope and strategically selected production makes you larger than life. A note from B.I.G. was taken.
Honorable Mention: Their Eyes
Both emcees opt(ed) to wear shades. Ross has this sleepy, gangsta racoon thing going for him and Biggie had a nonchala… Well, I’ll skip that comment as I know folks will merck you off speaking any which way but praise for Mister Wallace.
ANNNNDDD, NOW WHY ROSS WILL NEVER EVEN BE IN THE SAME STRATOSPHERE…
That Minor, Little Credibility Thing
Yeah…uhhh…sorry Ross…can’t change this one. But perhaps people wouldn’t always include a punch line directly after admitting liking his music if his image wasn’t so over the top. Your “last load was gift wrapped by Castro”? Fa real? Why not just half a brick in a brown bag from Dub’s pad? BIG just went from ashy to classy. Shoot, even when he was “Unbelievable” he was just “buck(ing) shots out of the sun roof of a Lexus Coupe”, wearing spacious draws so his genitalia could breathe, and ruining Kwame‘s career (peep the song if I lost you). All admirable, but reasonable goals. But then again we listeners love style. The Smoking Section said it best in an article about Ross, he’s “frontin but we love it though.”
But understand there are some repercussions for such. Don’t believe me? Well, go Google “Rick Ross is…” and see how the words “cop”, “fake”, “fraud”, “C.O.”, “joke”, and “done” all come up before the words “the best rapper.” (Someone’s P.R. team lost their Christmas bonuses over that one. Word to SEO.)
Rawse Has No Daddy
People love to say how BIG made Puff, neglecting how influential Puff was on BIG’s success. He helped shape and position that man’s talent and BIG seemed more than comfortable not only letting Puff do so, but even giving him credit for doing such. (Peep the interview at the end of “Life After Death” if needing proof.)
Whereas Ross is a self-proclaimed Bawse. He seems to have no equal or higher up in the food chain than him. Probable greater percentage of profit and feeding your image = Plus. Nobody telling you not to do “Mafia Music 2″ the movie, taking your shirt off on stage, no memorable (though many) diss tracks, and you saying words like “muhnky” (although kinda funny) = Hellafied Minuses.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that none of his “yes men” sat him down, pulled off his fake shades and was like, “Listen William Leonard Roberts II, you were an officer of the law. That’s not gonna be hard to find out facts about. Just tell the folks that’s where you made your connects and handled your biz. Throw a dope beat behind that story and let it actually ADD to your aura.”
You see there’s nothing like a non-rapper who is on your team and level, whose top priority is to protect your brand and actually cares about the culture. (And SMH at all the folks who still think Jay was the initial genius behind his current iconic status.)
The Internet / Ya’ll
You see I’m from the A-R (that’s Arkansas), we didn’t really catch on to the BIG movement til late down here. Ready to Die was not the immediate tape of choice in anybody’s deck ‘cept the random group of so-called hip-hop heads who felt they were from the 6th borough. Up until he became a playboy, at the time my favorite song he was on was when he was growling with Supercat on “Dolly Me Baby.” When he finally was repackaged and forced upon us “Big Poppa” (utilizing a vocal sample from the Supercat song no less), I had no choice but to like it. I remember another track making the rounds with the same “Between the Sheets” sample on it by a young femcee named Da Brat and in all reality, initially I liked her version better as did many of my Southern brethren. (So called “heads” may curse me out here, but you lying if you sayin “Funkdafied” wasn’t cold. Word to ’94.) But…Daddy trumped Dupri and BIG’s track quickly consumed both the radio and TV airwaves and the Brat fell back to add more beads to her hair. Next thing I knew, I couldn’t escape this fat, ultra-cool guy’s music and how everybody loved him. Me being the *shrug shoulder* type of brotha I was, hopped on the bandwagon of the perfect underground proven/mainstream darling of a rapper the world needed while lil’ commentary otherwise was seen or heard (excluding the inner borough talk ya’ll NY cats had). Understand, around my way, even in ’00 close to NO ONE argued about Jay-Z, Biggie, or Nas. No one cared.
Now…the Double R isn’t even afforded a remotely close luxury. Out the box there were jokes, but not by the mainstream media, but by the Internets of the world. Matter of fact as he grew and his music improved the talk became worse although his mainstream media spin became arguably better (in atypical rap fashion). And although 50 didn’t Ja Rule dude, he definitely utilized the internet to piss on that man’s semi-good name, expose his C.O. past, stalk his momma, and have Kodak moments with his kids. Currently, it seems your opinions are formed for you before you even get to a song’s bridge. Of course the good TWV readers can form their own opinions, but the youtube commenters…not so much. Nowadays, no one is immune to the Internets beast whereas the Notorious one was. You see BIG came from a different time that was an underappreciated less tech savvy era.
Honorable Mention: Their Crews
Despite the fact they actually are legit, Triple C‘s does not equal Lil Cease (or Kim or the rest of them whose names even Faith forgets).
So is Rawse the new or next B.I.G.? Of course not. Not even trying to argue such. There are many more arguments against that I didn’t even attempt to state because there is no need. B.I.G. is B.I.G. Still from a major Diddy shout out and Ross’s own statements I figured it was worth a look. Because in my new found honesty, dude’s music has become a welcomed addition when he drops something new despite that bitter metallic taste I get whenever I listen to him for too long, hear him talk instead of rap, or watch him act. Anyway, if proof is ever needed of Sir Ross’ legitimacy, holla atcha folks, I got you. Til then, I’m bout to go ride out to a mix of the dark “Life After Death” disc and “Ashes to Ashes.” Foul I am.