Rick Ross

Port of Miami (Def Jam)

So how does an album like Port of Miami -- built on run-of-the-mill drug-trafficking tales, odes to dead presidents and standard street-life themes -- debut at number one on the Billboard charts? Apparently, it's all in the delivery. Fact is, Rick Ross isn't saying anything that hasn't been said a million times before by hundreds of different rappers; lines like "We never steal cars, but we deal hard/Whip it real hard, whip it, whip it real hard" (from the summer anthem "Hustlin'") seem simplistic. But the way he recites the words, in his deep, gravelly voice, embeds the tune in your head for weeks. Couple that with solid production that deftly highlights Ross's superb flow on such cuts as the dramatic, piano-driven "Push It," the up-tempo G-funk influenced "Blow" and the Southern-fried "Pots and Pans," and Port has all the makings of a hit. Granted, listening to Ross spout off about how many kilos of coke he sells and how luxurious his rides are can get a bit repetitive. Even so, it's hard to knock his hustle.

 
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