With The Albert Anastasia EP, Ashes to Ashes and Rich Forever, Ross Rick elevated the art of the mixtape. But while those spawned hits and executed the often-attempted, rarely-accomplished goal of making a cinematic experience out of a mixtape, the MMG mogul’s latest, The Black Bar Mitzvah, fails to live up to the expectation Rozay’s past offerings created.
"It’s too easy right now," says Rozay nonchalantly on his newest tape’s final track "Itchin'." It's not hard to see why he feels that way — he’s the boss of one of the few crews that's eating well off of rap music and is coming off of his fourth number-one album, God Forgives, I Don’t. But his harmless boast also suggests that he’s getting particularly comfortable in the top spot. The majority of the rest of his ill-conceived new tape confirms Rozay’s creative complacency and raises larger questions about the trajectory of his career.
Until 2012, Rick Ross improved steadily with each project. But the hunger and ruthless ambition that drove his past works are MIA this time around. Instead of the thorough, original tracks Rozay spoiled fans with on previous mixtape offerings, The Black Bar Mitzvah plays like every run-of-the-mill, jacking-for-beats tape we’ve heard. As novel as it is to hear Ross and his MMG fam lace some of the day’s hardest bangers, it’s not enough to keep anyone’s attention in a game where hungry MCs are putting some of their best original content onto mixtapes.
He raised the bar himself, so he has only himself to blame, but Ross’ performance isn’t a complete disappointment. It’s great to hear him on underrated Southern bangers like "Gone to the Moon," "Bands" and "Us," where Ross proves that his flow is still top notch. But stale remixes of G.O.O.D Music hits "Clique" and "Mercy" only exist to introduce MMG’s newest pick-up, Rockie Fresh. That's fair enough, considering it seems like the greater purpose of the entire tape was to promote upcoming projects from Meek Mill and Gunplay, but Ross owes listeners more than this head-scratcher.
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