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ALBUM REVIEW | HIP-HOP

Rick Ross, ‘Mastermind’

On his sixth record it seems Rick Ross assumes he can sell the same old champagne in a different bottle without it going stale. Following a string of recent stillborn singles, this overlong record feels labored and bereft of new ideas. There’s a hermetic quality to the songs; it’s clear Ross needs new stimuli beyond Bentleys, bottles, and bullets. The disc is stuffed with familiar MCs (Lil Wayne, Jay Z) and Kanye West turns his host into an afterthought on the fine, gospel-influenced “Sanctified.” At times, Rozay’s blunt force verses are too broad or dated (Janet Reno, really?). The gangster mythology he’s peddling needs more dimension and tension. “War Ready” reflects a personal truce with Jeezy but the track shoots blanks. On “Nobody,” where he’s “strapped like an Afghan soldier,” the conflated swagger tips into caricature. The ventures into fresh musical ground are mixed: “Mafia Music III” takes him into dancehall with good effect yet the MC is an addendum on “In Vein,” which feels like The Weeknd’s song. (Out Tuesday) Ken Capobianco

ESSENTIAL “Sanctified”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.
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