Five Best Songs From Rick Ross’ ‘Teflon Don’ Album
The southern rap explosion in the early aughts was a wonderful time for hip-hop. A slew of artists from below the Mason-Dixon line would rise to stardom with catchy club bangers and gritty portrayals of country living, making for some of the more memorable music from that era.
That initial wave, which included the likes of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, Ludacris, T.I. and the Ying Yang Twins, may have kicked the door open, but the second platoon of southern rappers all but knocked the door off the hinges and solidified the region as the dominant force in hip-hop at the time. One of those artists to carry the genre at the time was Miami native Rick Ross, who would become one of the decades most unlikely success stories.
Originally rapping under the moniker Teflon Da Don, he would get his first break with Tony Draper's Suave House, making his recording debut on the Erick Sermon song, "Shhh to Discuss." Later he would adopt the name of notorious narcotics trafficker Ricky Ross. Ross eventually broke ties with Suave House and joined the Slip-N-Slide Records roster, working behind the scenes until releasing his debut album, Port Of Miami, in 2006. The album would go on to sell over 800,000 copies with multiple hit singles, positioning Ross as one to watch.
Continuing to grow his brand following the release of Port of Miami, the tattooed rhymer would release Trilla two years later (2008) and Deeper Than Rap the following year (2009). Both albums proved he was one of the most consistent artists in hip-hop. But Rick Ross' shining moment came with the release of his 2010 album, Teflon Don. Featuring appearances from Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake, T.I. and Erykah Badu, among others, Teflon Don would become a contender for Album of the Year. The project was the soundtrack for the streets for the latter half of 2010.
Five years after its release, we take a look back at the five songs that made this LP a candidate for being a modern day classic.
Rick Ross gets introspective on the soul-stirring number, "Tears Of Joy," which features Ross reflecting on his success story over production courtesy of No I.D. Rapping "Looking in the mirror but I don't see much / Still running the street so I don't sleep much," Ross compares himself to the late great Christopher Wallace and opens up "Yesterday I read my horiscope / Tell me, lord, will I be going broke / Tell me, lord, will I be dealing dope / I wanna take my momma to the Poconos" in between Cee-Lo's heart-wrenching wails. Sonically superb, "Tears Of Joy" has a certain air of sincerity that bleeds through the track and is more William Roberts than Rick Ross The Bawse.
Rick Ross hooks up with Jay Z on the Teflon Don standout, "Free Mason," which sees pair addressing talk of secret societies and celebrating the success of the black man. "No caterpillars, it was just a lot of niggas / A lot of great thinkers and a lot of great inventors," Ross spits on the first verse, lamenting on the distorted past of his ancestors and their illustrious beginnings. Produced by The Inkredibles, "Free Mason" sees Ross going toe-to-toe with one of the best to ever do it and more than holds up his end of the bargain, resulting in a hell of a track.
"I'm not a star, somebody lied / I got a pistol in the car, a .45," raps Rick Ross on the thunderous Teflon Don opener "I'm Not A Star." Produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, the tracks is dominated by relentless 808s, sinister synths and is a perfect soundbed for the MMG head-honcho to flex on. Rapping "Load up them choppers like it's December 31st / Roll up and cock it and hit dem' niggas where it hurts / Told on my partner, and helpred dem' crackers give em 30 / I told him I got em', therefore, I gotta do ya' dirty," Ross turns in a rambunctious number that has all the trap boys going ham til' this day.
Teflon Don reaches a crescendo with "Aston Martin Music," featuring Drake and Chrisette Michele. Trading in his signature Mayback for something a little more sleek, The Bawse rides out over the track, rapping "When I'm alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall / Automatic weapons on the floor, but who can you call / My down b----, one that lives by the code / Put this music s--- aside, get it in on the road" and other lamenting the joys of his lifestyle . Drake and Chrisette both provide vocal reinforcement and shine on the song's bridge and hook, respectively, making for a hell of a selection.
Rick Ross reaches kingpin status with the Teflon Don cut, "B.M.F." Comparing himself to notorious drug traffickers Big Meech and Larry Hoover, Ross struts over the beat with an unmistakable swagger, rapping "Self-made, you just affiliated / I built it ground up, you bought it renovated / Talking plenty capers, nothings been authenticated / Funny that you claiming the same b---- that I'm penetrating" and throwing her weight over the Lex Luger produced track. Styles P. also rises to the occasion with an epic finale verse of his own, threatening gun-play only how the Yonkers, New York hard-rock could, completing what is arguably the biggest street record of this decade