More proof bad things come in threes: 1) Smoking Gun releases a photo of Ross working as a prison guard, then 2) 50 Cent posts a sex tape online featuring Ross’s girlfriend (or at least a lady with a strategically placed “RR” tattoo), then 3) Deeper Than Rap is released — 57 minutes (though it seems longer) of proof Ross raps like an overweight ex-prison guard. Hookless intro track “Mafia Music” claims he’s “masturbating at the top” and calls out 50 by his proper name, but mostly Ross just seems sad. “I did it for my city,” he complains, “but now everybody’s mad at me.” After 14 tracks, you begin to sympathize. A few of these manage to be listenable, but almost exclusively via featured MCs and R&B hooks. Ross by himself lacks the technical ability or lyrical originality to carry a song, and he’s constantly shown up by his guests, from Nas (who really isn’t even trying in “Usual Suspects“) to Gunplay (“Gunplay”) to Foxy Brown in half-assed Bonnie and Clyde riff “Murder Mami.” John Legend’s chorus in “Magnificent” seems interesting compared to Ross’s verses, and Ross even makes Robin Thicke sound … OK nothing can make Thicke acceptable, and his offer to “put `his` lips on you-hoo-hoo” in “Lay Back” is downright unholy.
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