Drake(feat. Rick Ross) – Lord Knows
It sort of defies logic how consistently compelling Rick Ross is. His presence in the industry borders on oversaturation. His lyrical content rarely strays from trap talk and boasting of wealth excess. And still each year he puts out more material of his own – which only seems to get stronger, and appears on what feels like every mainstream rap release, every big DJ comp, and shitloads of remix features. And what’s more is that his mere presence on these tracks alone usually enhances them. He’s usually the bright spot in otherwise weaker tracks and can turn pretty solid songs into fucking home runs. And sometimes he can turn songs that were already home-runs into whatever “Lord Knows” is.
A few seconds in, we get the iconic Ross “wugh!”, which is sort of like hip-hop’s Godzilla bark at this point. Typically, I like to be surprised by my Ross entrances. Last year’s “Devil in a New Dress“(probably Ross’ best moment) had Ross tucked into the rear of the track after 4 minutes of Kanye rapping over his sleepy neo-soul beat. Bawse just stormed the fuck in there and started screaming about Coogi sweaters and wearing purple shoes with a black tux. Here, we see him coming but that’s alright. “Lord Knows” comes in a little after the midpoint in Drake’s Take Care. The Just Blaze beat is huge, anthemic and a welcome respite from Take Care’s lovely-but-lonely aesthetic.
Ross begins with a celebration to his craft:
I fell in love with the pen, started fuckin’ the ink
The hustles’ a art, I painted what I would think
A basic couplet, but it gets at part of what makes Ross special. For all of his crime kingpin posturing, he is a craftsman. Here, he shouts out to the medium that has let him transcend his un-sexy corrections officer background and transform into the comic-book superhero equivalent of coke kingpins. And then Ross just goes off about his houses(in Jamaica), his boats(Carnival Cruise ships), and how he’s allergic to NOT having money. Ross may have a couple uniformly stronger verses from 2011(“Ambition” maybe, or Meek Mill’s “Work”), but this line solidified my choice:
Villa on the water with the wonderful views
Only fat nigga in the sauna with Jews
Ross can rap about materialistic bullshit like this for as long as he wants as long as he continues to paint pictures this vivid.