Yes, the rumors are true: I don't own a Maybach. But let's face it, neither do you.
That shouldn't stop either of us from bumping Rick Ross's seminal "Maybach Music" series like we live in his tax bracket. Whether you ride the iron horse, a hooptie or something flashier, chances are you've rocked with Ross on either one or all of his "MM" songs. The best one by far, though, is "Maybach Music II" off Deeper Than Rap. Stay with me.
It's been six years to the day that Rick Ross dropped his third studio album, Deeper Than Rap. By this point, Ross had hit his stride. He shirked the responsibility of being that chest-beating Hustlenomics 201 professor from 2006's Port of Miami and 2008's Trilla (especially since a few months following Trilla's release, The Smoking Gun revealed photographic proof that Ross was once a correctional officer).
Deeper Than Rap was different, right down to the sentiment of the title. It was Ross's first release on his Maybach Music Group imprint, thereby branding the "Maybach Music" tag from Trilla's track of the same name (featuring Jay Z), which was at best a huge favor from Jay. The song was big, but not massive. The album, though, marked Rick Ross's third consecutive debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. However, while Ross is always in proverbial "hustle mode," this project was more of a celebration of the rewards and an acknowledgment of the pitfalls. It would be remiss to not mention the slight self-consciousness of Ross on this project.
His past screamed "cop!" so he couldn't continue in the fashion of merely coke rap because flippin' bricks in a uniform is not the norm for any American gangster (the boys in blue or beige have bigger crimes they're committing on the community than a couple of kilos). So Ross chose the high road, splashing bars about opulence and spending what he made off possibly slinging drugs rather than the facade that he's actually still doing it (point to the track "Rich Off Cocaine").
Woven into the fabric of the project was a little gem called "Maybach Music II." The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced song was cinematic. The features told various sides to the wealthy living story. From Kanye West's braggadocio bars about furnishing the whip and assuming what his predecessors would've liked ("If B.I. was alive, he'd prob'ly have the two-tone / With the Grey Poupon," a nod to the late Notorious B.I.G.") to Lil Wayne's over-zealous lines about being awesome and his Maybach being proof of that. Then at the top of the food chain rapped Rick Ross. The boss. Sorry, THE BAWSE. His verse is reminiscent of the aformentioned Biggie's line in "Juicy," with Big saying, "Girls used to diss me / Now they write letters 'cause they miss me," and then Ross barking, "I was barely getting pretty women / Now I scoop Emmy winners like kitty litter."
Hugging the track is T-Pain's epic hook, where the Auto-Tune was the ideal accessory to the heavy manifesto over the gigantic production:
Realest s**t I ever wrote, chillin' in my Maybach / Whatever I send out, homie, I'mma make back / Can you believe it? / You gotta see it / I don't plan on goin' broke, put that on my Maybach / 'cause I'm in it to win, now n****s can't take that / Listen to my Maybach Music.
You probably already know the story of Jay Z's "lost verse" for this sequel, which in theory would've fit perfectly since Hov was on the original. But with a posse cut like this, Jay would've detracted from every other guest feature (primarily Kanye). Let the other bosses have their moment. And they did. This track was a proclamation, for Rick Ross especially. Whether he was a coke kingpin or a C.O., he wasn't returning to either past life and spending his days going forward in pure executive bliss. In his Maybach.
By the time "Maybach Music III" rolled around on Ross's fourth studio album, 2010's Teflon Don, the sentiment marginally faded. T.I., Jadakiss, Ross: none of them even really acknowledged the Maybach theme, save for maybe Tip's line, "This just ain't a Mercedes."
It was straight bragging, to the point where it detracted from the notion of them being bosses and was more like, "Okay, we get it. You like money and women." Erykah Badu did nothing to help them out. If anything, she pulled an Andre 3000 on Unk's "Walk It Out" by low key playing them on the hook with, "Everybody knows / How the story goes / Money and clothes / They gon' come and go." And while she turns around and gives them dap for still being kings even when they're stripped of their luxuries, it still screams, "Have fun spending...for now."
So that leaves us with "Maybach Music II," the turning point for Rick Ross. The song was massive, the beat was massive, the features massive, the boss...massive. It was Rick Ross's time to wave off the past and beckon the future, which coincidentally ended up being bigger than he probably even imagined.
Deeper than rap, indeed.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)