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In 2006 came the debut album from the Miami rapper Rick Ross, who burst on the scene the year before with his street anthem, "Hustlin'". He brought forward his "Port Of Miami" record to show that it was time for another big city in the south to get a say in the Hip Hop world, and after the attention left Florida in the early nineties (once Miami Bass phased out) he was amongst many to show how well they can do the Gangsta Rap material.
2. "Push It"
Getting things going here, you have what was the second single from him, and i felt tha tit was amongst the best you get from it with a heavy tune which has the strengths of all of those involved shown to their full potential with J.R. Rotem bringing hardcore beats on a sample of "Scarface" (Push It To The Limit) as he describes how he operates his local drug trade. .
Cool & Dre come to work on the beats for this one, and you also see that Dre of the pair does something which he is much more known for in later material as he sings on the hook to boost it as we get another dark tune which has the rapping ripping through the bassy joint effortlessly as he talks of how he splurges his drug money.
This one was the key single from the album as this tune was his debut and breakthrough jam, and amongst very few monster tracks of the year. It is simply a killer one and you can't really fault anything within it as he does his thing well to empowering production from The Runners whilst talking people through the life of the real Ricky Ross (the infamous drug trafficker).
5. "Cross That Line"
Akon produces and features as a vocalist on this one, and I felt that this would lead to the quality of things dropping somewhat. However, it appeared that as Akon kept himself to just the introduction and hook, Ross was able to do big things to make you forget about the annoying aspects of it with his powerful delivery of rough rhymes.
6. "I'm Bad"
With K. Luck unknown to me, I wasn't quite sure of what I'd find in this one, but it seemed to come out with something completely unpredictable with a seventies-influenced joint which bring up the pace of things. It didn't really suit the style of the rapper all that much, but it is done in a way so you can't complain as it offers a bit of variety to the album.
Not to be confused with the T-Pain-assisted single ("The Boss") from the rapper's sophomore record, this is also a strong one form the album as you see that here we get a heavy tune which has him riding more production from Cool & Dre and they choose to take things in a direction which you can't ignore with a club-suited joint which has you bouncing along with him.
8. "For The Law"
You have an unexpected collaboration here as you see that here it is Jazzy Pha who takes over wit the beats here, and as he was mainly concentrated around the Pop-based R&B at the time, this was a bit of a change to things, but with his freaky style of bringing in some of his Snap and Crunk aspects to guide the material, it made for a killer tune here.
9. "Where My Money"
With The Runners returning to the beats on this one, you see that this one appears to take on a kind of structure which is extremely similar to that of "Hustlin'" with the sampled hook acting as the main focus as things are done in a rather dark way as Ross talks of his ruthlessness when it comes to getting money.
10. "Get Away"
Mario Winans comes to work with him on this one to change it up a little bit as you see that with the R&B influence, you have what sounds in hindsight to have been the early working of the John Legend-featured "Magnificent", from his third album "Deeper Than Rap" as he begins this in the same way with him re-working classic Hip Hop (this time Nice & Smooth taking the place of Special Ed) for a nice little two-stepping track.
11. "Hit U From The Back"
You get more from the Runners here, but it appears that in this case things are done in a rather different way as you find that for this one the direction of the material has been adapted as he turns it towards the girls here. it is a fly joint and as it hasn't the calmed work done by the Dirty South production duo, you still get lots of the hardcore beats coming through.
12. "White House"
The beats in this one are unlike anything else which you are likely to get from something of the time and I felt that it made the tune what it was as with the original composition from T.I.'s right hand-man DJ Toomp, you have him talking about the his home, which is described as is said in the title because of its association with cocaine and how he is said to run the area.
13. "Pots And Pans"
This one takes another turn towards the Funk of the seventies here, and I felt that it was really relevant for the rhymes which you get from this one as you see that things take a turn towards different things as we see him describe his own personal journey over the years (and missing out something which he was criticised heavily for through 2008).
14. "It's My Time"
With the Soul singer Lyfe Jennings on his side, you see that with this one you get another tune which has him taking the time to take listeners through his struggle to the top, and how he says that this just isn't enough for him as he has to take it a step further. The beats here are heavy, and with the funky licks, you have a tune which brings you right in to his lifestyle.
15. "Street Life"
As you see that the A-Town R&B singer Lloyd comes to join him on the hook, this one takes a bit of a twist as you see that here we get something which appears to be much more commercial than a lot of other here as they get down to one where he jumps on pounding beats on what is a pretty general track here.
16. "Hustlin'" (Remix)
This is the official remix tot he lead single from the album. It is much heavier than the original and one which takes over you as you hear him linking up with both one of the most well-known names in the game: Jay-Z, and a then up-and-comer Young Jeezy, who represents more of what the Dirty South has to offer in Gangsta Rap.
17. "It Ain't A Problem"
The Triple C's come to join him here to show who else is down for him (here more localised Rap talent) as they get down to a street track which is directed towards those who will have really felt tha majority of what the rapper had to say up tot his point on the album. It is a hard one and continues to boost the record.
18. "I'm A G"
With DJ Khaled on the production, you have more Miami talent here in effect and I felt that it was need as from this you see him pulling in a couple more fitting names as Brisco and Lil' Wayne lend assistance on it and affirm his position in the game as he leads these already well-established names.
19. "Prayer" (Outro)
This debut album from the rapper was a banger of one as it has him working to a very high standard throughout as he comes with many street joints as well as a couple of club-focused recordings which have him working to his full potential. It is an essential to any fan of his as it is just as strong as both "Trilla" and "Deeper Than Rap".
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 It's My Time
2 Pots And Pans
3 Street Life - Ross, Rick & Lloyd
4 I'm Bad
5 Black Mob
6 Hit U From The Back - Ross, Rick & Rodney
7 Where My Money
8 Guns 4
9 Money In Bags - Ross, Rick & Dre
10 Blow - Ross, Rick & Dre
11 Get Away - Ross, Rick & Mario Winans
13 Port Of Miami
14 White House
15 Cross That Line - Ross, Rick & Akon
17 Hustlin' - Ross, Rick & Jay-Z/Young Jeezy
18 Push It