Back in the day review: Rick Ross: 'Port of Miami'
Def Jam Records

Rick Ross is one of the kings of southern rap, and he can be largely credited for moving the epicenter of down south rap from Atlanta to sun-drenched Miami.

Before Ross came on to the scene, Miami was the home of “Miami bass,” a sub-genre known mostly for rapping about sex. This form of rap was made famous by the 2 Live Crew and Trick Daddy, and for a while, Miami bass was what Miami rappers were known for. Because of its hardcore, misogynist lyrics, Miami bass never gained acceptance in the suburbs, and thus was less accessible than the other forms of rap.

But Ross came in changed the face of Miami rap, moving it away from Miami bass, and combining Atlanta rap with its own personal flair which he dubbed “Maybach music.” which combined the harder edges of southern rap with sophistication that made the sound a lot more accessible than Miami bass.

This was largely evident in Ross’s debut album, Port of Miami, in which Ross delivered an eloquently fine debut that was one of the best albums of 2006. Ross’s groveling, deep voice and drug dealer dream lyrics matches the beat perfectly as he details the ambition and drive of a Miami hustler trying to make it.

The opening three songs, “Push it,” “Blow” and “Hustlin’” illustrates the album’s ambitions the best, and “I’m Bad” and “Boss,” featuring Dre, follows in the same context as the first three with the same intoxicating beats and lyrics.

The second half of the album slows down a bit, but not much. “Where My Money (I Need That) is a good second half opener, “It’s My Time,” featuring Lyfe Jennings and the album closer, “Prayer,” has feeling that tones down the proceedings without derailing it.

Not much was expected from Ross’s debut, but in the end, Port of Miami silenced the critics. Ross would expand on the Maybach music sound on his following releases, some to great effect, and others not as much.

Despite a couple of filler tracks, Port of Miami was a dynamite debut that put Miami at the forefront of the rap game, and the town has never looked back. This album is a must in your playlists.