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CD REVIEW | HIP-HOP

Rick Ross, ‘God Forgives, I Don’t’

On “3 Kings” from Rick Ross’s fifth disc he declares, “I came a long way since the weed game /20-stack seats at the Heat game.” What’s more impressive, though, is his career transformation from a laborious rhyme slinger trading in kingpin cliches into a lucid, commanding MC. While not as electrifying as “Teflon Don,” this 70-minute set deftly mixes grandiose gestures and ominous bravado. He still deals familiar hip-hop tropes, but they are balanced by a new gravitas including references to mortality and the seizures he experienced last year. There are enough guests to fill a Kardashian wedding and, while Andre 3000 reminds how much he’s missed, few wrest the spotlight away from their host. Ross compares himself to the likes of Berry Gordy and Rakim, but the clumsily libidinous “Touch ’n You” proves he’s no Barry White. Most egregious is “Diced Pineapples,” a piano based sex anthem with a whiny hook Drake probably would like to take back. These missteps can’t diminish the sweep and impact of Ross’s opus. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “911”

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