It’s rare that I find myself listening to mainstream Hip-Hop. I tend to stray far from the type of tunes you regularly hear on the radio. Yet, when I saw that Rick Ross’ latest was actually getting good scores, I was intrigued. After all, I will listen to anything as long as it’s good and gets my foot tapping. Well, despite my preconceived notions, Teflon Don is one of those albums. I thought I’d hate this album. I thought I’d come away from my time with the album with absolutely nothing good to say about it. I thought wrong.
First off, Rick Ross doesn’t exactly excel as a rapper on this album. Lyrically, I found him to be just…okay throughout the entire 50 minutes of Teflon Don. That’s not to say he’s a “bad” rapper per se but he lacks the skill to do much more than what he’s used to, and that’s rapping about materialistic things such as cars, jewelry and, of course, money. When he tries to go deeper than that, he definitely comes up short to me.
There are two things that prevent Teflon Don from falling flat on its face. First among these is the fact that Ross is bolstered by other, better lyricists such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I. and John Legend. The only song that doesn’t feature at least one guest is the hard-hitting intro I’m Not a Star during which Ross’ self-imposed sense of grandiosity immediately takes center stage. Ross sees himself as being larger than life; a figure to be revered in the Hip-Hop industry. Personally, this self-centered and almost narcissistic subject matter is somewhat grating and tiring to sit through for 50 minutes so, thankfully, other (almost as egotistical in some cases) rappers and vocalists bring some welcome variety to the proceedings.
The second reason this album excels is because of the excellent production behind the vocals. This is what keeps me listening to the album on a consistent basis. The beats produced for this album are absolutely fantastic and really the best reason to listen to it. The strength of the production shines through on just about every track and makes them immediately catchy, memorable and very fun to listen to.
Teflon Don is an album I would’ve loved to hate purely because of how deeply entrenched in mainstream rap themes and culture but I can’t hate it. It’s a legitimately good album and while the subject matter may push me away at times, the excellent beats bring me right back for another listen. As much as I dislike today’s mainstream Rap, I found little reason to dislike Teflon Don so, if you have the chance, give it a listen for yourself. It may surprise you too.