Rick Ross earned the right to the album title Teflon Don. He’s survived being exposed as a former corrections officer and he made it through his feud with 50 Cent, a street-fighter of an MC who once had the power to destroy rivals, but whose beefs now feel like the hip-hop equivalent of the drunk girl at a party who makes out with her friend in a desperate bid for attention. So it’s no surprise that Teflon Don finds the rotund rapper in a celebratory mood. The album sounds as expensive as the luxury goods Ross raps about on tracks with telltale titles like “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast),” “Aston Martin Music,” and “Maybach Music III,” the thrilling conclusion to the “Maybach Music” trilogy.
Producers like No I.D., Kanye West, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Danja provide lush, cinematic, larger-than-life soundscapes for Ross’ crass consumerism, while classy guest vocalists West, Jay-Z, John Legend, Cee-Lo Green, T.I., Jadakiss, Drake, and Styles P regularly outshine the star. Ross intermittently attempts to get profound on “Tears Of Joy,” “Live Fast, Die Young,” and “All The Money In The World.” But when the rapper invokes Emmett Till and the legacy of the Black Panthers on “Tears Of Joy,” it feels tacky and unearned; the only thing deep about Ross are his pockets and his rumbling voice. Teflon Don excels as sleek, smooth, shiny pop escapism, pure and simple. Teflon Don is the perfect summer party album. It sounds terrific, and the lyrical content is irrelevant in more ways than one.