13 years after the release of his debut album, Port of Miami, Rick Ross has released Port of Miami 2, his tenth full-length studio effort. The 15-track project clocks in at over an hour long, giving Ross plenty of time to fit in rhymes that live up to that gun in pasta meme that was all over everyone’s timelines this week. After an initial spin on Friday, the Complex staff put together a list of our biggest takeaways and first impressions of Port of Miami 2.
Rick Ross’ ear for beats is as good as ever
If there’s one thing that Rick Ross always gets right, it’s his beat selection, and that remains true on Port of Miami 2, where he selects luxurious production that complements his smooth flows and crisp penmanship. “Maybach Music VI” and “Turnpike Ike” have that signature Rozay feel, layering grandiose sounds with hints of live instrumentation. Not all the songs on the album are as intricate, however. Tracks like the Gunplay-assisted “Nobody’s Favorite,” succeeds with simplistic hard-hitting bass and an expertly-placed gong. Justice L.E.A.G.U.E., snags the most credits with two songs, but Rozay gives shine to other accomplishment hitmakers, including Just Blaze, STREETRUNNER, and Tarik Azzouz. —Jessica McKinney
In the album’s best moments, Ross manages to still sound hungry 13 years after ’Port of Miami’
Speaking with Zane Lowe three days before the album’s release, Rick Ross said that the only reason he's “still here” is because he held onto the same hunger he had at the beginning of his career. “The only reason I can really remain competitive is because of my love for the game,” he explained. “I'm in a position where I can say, ‘Fuck that, we’re doing something else now.’ But the love for this shit is still burning. The fire is still burning.” The album's best moments arrive when Ross’ hunger shines through most clearly. Port of Miami 2's highlights—songs like “Nobody’s Favorite” and “Fascinated”—succeed because Ross finds ways to tap into the same energy and enthusiasm that carried Port of Miami 13 years ago. He isn't able to keep this up throughout all 15 songs on the tracklist, but whenever he does, he ends up with standout moments that prove there’s still plenty left in the tank, deep into his career. —Eric Skelton
The album's low points come when Ross settles into repetitive, rhythmic grooves
We all know Rick Ross’ patented phrasing: a pause at the top of each bar, a handful of syllables over the next few beats, and then another break at the beginning of the next measure. Everything is broken up into one-bar ideas, and the rhythms he uses are the same over and over, with that constant avoidance of the downbeat.
Only on a few songs—most notably “Nobody’s Favorite,” where Gunplay makes the MMG titan conform to his delivery rather than the other way around—does Ross step outside of his comfort zone. Otherwise, it’s bar after bar of rap choices that become predictable, and the album's low points arrive whenever this happens. Ross wasn’t always like this. A look back at the original Port of Miami finds a more nimble, adventurous rapper comfortable with many different types of flows. He used his now-patented style, sure. But it wasn’t the only tool in his toolbox by any means. —Shawn Setaro
Ross’ hopes to unite Pusha-T and Lil Wayne on “Maybach VI” didn’t go as planned
Leading up to Port of Miami 2's release date, Rick Ross revealed that he had plans to bring Lil Wayne and Pusha-T together on “Maybach Music VI,” uniting the two rappers who have had a long, complicated history with each other for decades. The final album version of the song did not include Pusha-T’s verse, however. Some are speculating that Push’s verse, which leaked online, didn’t make it because it contained subtle shots at Drake. Others thought it was a sign that the beef might not be fully squashed (although sources close to Pusha-T deny that). Either way, Ross’ plan to bring Wayne and Pusha-T together didn’t go as planned. Speaking with Hot 97 on Friday, Ross clarified that he decided not to include Push’s verse because the timing wasn’t right and it didn’t feel organic enough. “What's so dope about it is that both verses were cleared from both parties, but like I said, it was more about the bigger picture,” he explained. “Is this gonna move them two getting together closer? I’mma take the charge for that. I didn't feel like this was the time for that.” —Eric Skelton
Nipsey Hussle has words about 6ix9ine on “Rich N***a Lifestyle”
Nipsey Hussle never shied away from calling out 6ix9ine, the Brooklyn rapper who is slated to testify in his expansive racketeering case. “Put the dude on goofy time and just let him sit over here doing what he doing till that shit expire,” Nipsey told Big Boy in March. “Because it’s always gonna self-destruct, clearly.”
On “Rich N**** Lifestyle,” released less than six months after Nipsey’s death, he doubles down on those sentiments:
How many n****s on your payroll?
Rich gangbangers, y’all ain’t even know they make those
Double caseloads, push buttons, I got say-so
When it’s wartime, never lay low, y’all play roles
I can’t name a fake n**** that was not exposed
How y’all n****s so surprised that Tekashi told?
Ain’t a real street n**** ’less you got a code
Mine’s one comma, n****, followed by a lot of 0s
Ross is also widely believed to have gone at 6ix9ine on Meek Mill’s Championships last year, rapping, “Screaming ‘gang gang,’ now you wanna rat/Racketeering charges caught him on a tap/Lookin’ for a bond, lawyers wanna tax/Purple hair got them f*****s on your back.” So, at the very least, we know this: Renzel’s opinion of Daniel Hernandez isn't likely to change before, during, or after next month’s trial. —Lucas Wisenthal
Rick Ross has words for Kanye on “Vegas Residency”
Ross made his stance on Kanye West’s support of Donald Trump clear on Port of Miami 2’s “Vegas Residency.” Not ready to hold his tongue, Ross opens his verse by rapping, “Yo, watchin’ Kanye interview, feel like I wanna cry/For every innocent brother charged with a homicide/Went from battle raps to now we wearin’ M.A.G.A. hats/ Dade County, n***a, mansions up in Tamarac/Never golfin’ with the Trumps and I give you my word/Back to comin' out the trunk, chargin' 20 a bird.” Well, somebody had to say it. —Kemet High
Ross packs in a lot of bars
Despite the album only having 15 tracks, its runtime is over an hour, and three verse Ross is in full effect, as he makes sure to leaves nothing out by spitting at least two verses on every track. Several songs boast more than four minutes of straight Ross bars like, “Turnpike Ike,” “Fascinated,” and “Vegas Residency.” When he’s not handling entire songs himself, he gives a verse to his slew of all-star features like Meek Mill, Jeezy and the late Nipsey Hussle. Port of Miami 2 finds a fully matured Ross rapping at his own pace and in no rush to finish a song prematurely. —Jordan Rose
Ross briefly addresses R. Kelly’s scandal
Only days after R. Kelly appeared in a New York hearing regarding allegations of sexual misconduct, Ross appeared to address the disgraced singer’s scandal on his song, “Big Tyme,” featuring Swizz Beatz. He acknowledges the reports against Kelly in the first line of the first verse: “Surviving R. Kelly, registered pedophiles.” The line is a reference to Lifetime’s explosive docuseries, which premiered at the top of 2019. The series chronicles Kelly’s predatory behavior toward young, underage women throughout his entire musical career. Although Rozay doesn’t elaborate on his line, he appears to be calling Kelly out by suggesting he is a pedophile. He now joins a short list of other hip-hop artists (including Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, and John Legend) who have called out Kelly. —Jessica McKinney
The album is full of the luxury Rick Ross moments we were looking for
This is the luxury Ross we’ve been hoping for since he announced Port of Miami 2 was coming out in June. You know, the “Aston Martin Music,” ”Rich Is Gangsta,” “Santorini Greece” Ross, who delicately paints the picture of Biggie’s “Hypnotize” video in his verses. Rozay is at his best when he delivers the imagery of prosperity, delineating his lifestyle of blowing bands, deflecting cops, attracting women, and dipping his lobster tails in butter. “Penal systems come to the Source, Benzino of C-notes/G don't wanna see it unless it's Moschino/It ain’t really real until it's a kilo/I just spoke to Meech, I think I'm Pacino (Say it again),” he beautifully raps on “BIG TYME.” Extravagant Rick Ross is the best Rick Ross. —Kemet High