In the song, “Ready to Die,” Notorious B.I.G. rapped, “I got techniques drippin’ out my buttcheeks. Sleep on my stomach so I don’t fuck up my sheets.”
It is debatable whether these lyrics are brilliant, flat out disgusting, or both. One thing is clear, though. Whatever sounds associated with Biggie’s buttcheek drippings certainly would have been less derivative than the sounds spewed out in the sixth studio album by Rick Ross, Mastermind.
Ross, a former correctional officer whose most notable offenses were being arrested for possession of marijuana and for looking at 50 Cent the wrong way, is a far cry from the kingpin that serves as his namesake or the mastermind this album insinuates he is.
At its core, Mastermind sounds like a rudimentary collaboration between Kanye West and Diddy with the intent of bringing about the second coming of Notorious B.I.G.
In this regard, it falls quote short.
Certainly, Ross had a rough year prior to releasing this album, including being shot at while stopped at a red light and perhaps this weighed heavily on him while he was in the studio. However Brandon Soderberg of Spin may have characterized it best in his review of Mastermind.
“This is Ross at his least cohesive and most clueless since his 2006 debut, Port of Miami,” wrote Soderberg. “He has finally, totally lost himself in malleable self-mythology. His grip on reality has never been especially tight; that he found a way to further lose his way is actually strangely admirable, isn’t it?”
Maybe admirable isn’t the right word. Captivating, like a train wreck is more like it.