Port of Miami
With “Hustlin,’” Rick Ross crafted a summer anthem in the classic mold. Its shambling bounce and gleefully profane church organ roar balance sun drenched menace against teeth gritting aspiration to gorgeous effect, mixing joy with sorrow and good-humored braggadocio with a pose of hard bitten criminality. Luckily for Ross, whose comically listless delivery and monochrome flow pose no threat to the likes of Jay-Z and Nas, Def Jam has outfitted Port of Miami with outrageously plush synth-driven beats redolent of the sleazy neon sheen of Ross’s Miami home. Though Ross might flounder in a different context, Port of Miami’s glossy soundscapes lend a weird gravitas to his monotonous baritone. His molasses slow delivery thrives amongst Miami’s showy synthesizers and plasticene Moroder samples, his booming baritone ideally complementing the portentous bass drops of tracks like “White House” and “Boss.” On Port of Miami Rick Ross takes a gamble, eschewing virtuosity for the booming charisma of his authoritative voice and the irresistible sheen of glistening beats. Thanks to stand out moments like “Push It” and the fantastic “Hustlin’,” the gamble pays off.