Here's Why You Need To Download Rick Ross' "Black Market" Album ASAP The life of a boss has many highs and lows. A few years ago Rick Ross found himself at the top the game. Every one of his songs became a massive radio hit. On top of being an up-and-coming talent in the rap game, he took it one step further by creating his own brand, style and even label, Maybach Music Group. Imagine MMG as rap’s luxury car dealership, and Ross is the cigar-smoking general manager. Meek Mill and Wale, his top salesmen.

Since his album Rich Forever in 2012, the boss of rap seemingly fell off the map and has been relying on his label-mates to keep MMG relevant. In 2014, Ross released the albums Mastermind and Hood Billionaire. Both were forgettable, but his most recent album Black Market seems to be a step in the right direction. This time around Ross really focused on his lyricism, and it shows.

Rick Ross’ new album Black Market was released on December 4th, 2015 through Def Jam Records and his MMG label. The album was produced by a team of well-known producers, highlighted by DJ Khaled, DJ Mustard, JUSTICE League, Jake One and Jahlil Beats. There were also a bevy of star-studded guest appearances, including Nas, DJ Premier, Chris Brown, John Legened, Mary J Blige and Cee-Lo Green.

Ross raps "bottom of the black market, time to rise again," in the album's opener, "Free Enterprise." As the first song written for the album (albeit, during Ross’s jail stint earlier this year), it sets the tone for the songs to come. Aided once more by John Legend’s soaring vocals, Ross ponders future possibilities. Think of it as the next step after Black Dollar carryover "Foreclosures," where he raps eloquently about how financial problems can still complicate the lifestyles of the rich and famous. "You reap what you sow, and they speaking’ repossessions. To the culture itself, these are powerful lessons," Ross raps. He excels when given a focal point, and adversity (specifically, the fear of going back to rags from riches) gives him something to dig his teeth into.

Unlike his projects in the past, Black Market is not full of the crazy bass and heavy backbeats the rapper is best known for. Ross has clearly moved on to a newer style, and it's working in his favor. The radiance of Jake One’s production and CeeLo Green’s chorus add another layer of warmth to "Smile Mama, Smile," lifting it out of routine homage territory. "Crocodile Python" is as smooth as the title indicates, and "Silk Road" is beautifully minimal. On the latter, he explains that he fixates on ostentatious imagery to create something vivid for the less fortunate, "I entertain n***** under poverty lines, so I paint these pretty pictures as part of my rhymes." "Black Opium" falls into the same neighborhood, adding scratches from DJ Premier for furnishing and decoration.

The album offers the listeners a fresh take on the boss, and I highly recommend picking up a copy.

MusicJamie ZaslavComment