Although Rick Ross’ highly-anticipated sequel to his breakout album, “Port of Miami,” is finally here and packs tons of features, it still manages to feel incomplete and lazily done at times.
“Port of Miami II” comes 13 years after Ross’ debut album, which shot him to global fame. The first album featured classics such as “Push It” and “I’m A G.” The album saw Ross in top form and laid the groundwork for a musical empire that few artists have been able to replicate. Hearing the soft “Maybach music” drop at the beginning of a song has now become just as recognizable as the drops of industry heavyweights such as Tay Keith, DJ Mustard and Metro Boomin.
“Port of Miami II” is a victory lap of sorts for the Miami musician. Ross basks in his accomplishments and the album elicits images of Ross looking over the empire he’s built over the past 15 years. And while the album suffices in production quality, the man of the hour sounds a little bored and lackluster. No song is this better displayed than in “Running the Streets.” Ross only lends vocal assistance to about a third of the song and the lyrics feel uninspired at best and lazy at worst. Ross’ flow feels generic and the lyrical content doesn’t hit as hard as has become custom for Ross.
Another kink in “Port of Miami’s” armor is how similar each song sounds. Listening to the album in its entirety is a surefire way to get listening fatigue. Production on this album feels almost as forced as Ross’ bars. Between grandiose string sections and complex percussion sections, all the sparkle can’t hide the dull product each song delivers.
While a lot of things are disappointing about the album bearing such a prestigious name, there is no shortage of highlights either. “Nobody’s Favorite” is a moody, ominous track features church bells and trap hi-hats throughout. Clever sampling throughout also add pizzazz to the production. It is on this track that Ross spits his best lines. The flow feels organic and it is obvious that Ross felt at home on the beat.
In addition to “Nobody’s Favorite,” “I Pray” is highlighted by heavy lyrical content, specifically about Ross’ health scare last year. The 43-year-old was found unresponsive in his mansion last March and was “breathing heavy” and “slobbing out the mouth.” After being taken to the hospital, Ross spent four days in the intensive care unit.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter if “Port of Miami II” lives up to the name of its predecessor. “Port of Miami II” is Ross’ well-deserved bragging album and stands as a testament to one of rap’s most resilient artists.