Why 2013 Is a Make or Break Year for Rick Ross

January 8th, 2013

(Photo: C.M. Wiggins/WENN.com)

By Gee King

Rick Ross wasted no time in tuning up the hype machine for what will certainly be a busy 2013. Yesterday, he revealed the title of his impending sixth studio album, Mastermind, setting the stage for another massive year for hip hop’s biggest boss. But with the future of his Maybach Music Group family up in the air after a label realignment with Atlantic Records at the close of last year, the budding mogul will have to throw the team on his back if he hopes to keep their massive ship afloat in the always unpredictable waters of the mainstream.

Ross and his MMG crew enjoyed an all-around victorious 2011 that saw Ricky triumph over his detractors to become mainstream rap’s biggest star. After assembling a promising young team of MCs from all of rap’s spectrums, Ross seemed poised to follow the player/coach blueprint laid by Jay-Z, Diddy and Dr. Dre. He carried the momentum to a solid 2012, but seemed to lose steam after his fifth solo album, God Forgives, I Don’t, failed to live up to the massive hype he’s become a master of creating via tireless promotion and extravagant press conferences.

God Forgives was supposed to be his defining album, the championship ring that solidified his place as one of rap’s greatest artists. Critics and sales counters were both underwhelmed by the solid but not spectacular album and ensuing products from Wale and Meek Mill were also anti-climactic. MMG’s 2012 mirrored the Miami Heat’s 2011 finals run; impressive but disappointing by the standards the organization set for itself. Miami’s second run ended in victory because of the experience gained in defeat. Will 2013 be redemption for MMG?

Mastermind could be Rozay’s second chance at the big prize, but it will take a dedication to creating imaginative music instead of innovative marketing schemes that will ultimately decide his fate. With projects from both Stalley and Wale on tap and another mixtape from Meek ready to set off the first quarter, 2013 will be the year that we can truly measure the boss by. Is he a fading star whose brightest flash will remain in 2011 or a future legend with his best creative days ahead?

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