Rick Ross' Hood Billionaire' solid, but formulaic

Over his past few albums, Miami rapper Rick Ross has been pushing his “Maybach Music” sound, which is a more sophisticated version of down south rap that has the vibe of South Beach. But despite the shift in sound, Ross' records still comes up sounding formulaic, playing to a certain formula, and not deviating from it.

But on Hood Billionaire, Ross has made a return to his early days, with a harder sound and tracks that has more juice to them. But the album as a whole is still formulaic, as it doesn't expand on the Maybach sound.

Hood Billionaire is laced with tracks that details the life of a drug dealer who has turned into a billionaire. Nowhere is that implicated more than on the title track, which is a throwback to his Port of Miami days with a back beat that goes hard, and lyrics that details the album perfectly.

“Coke Like the 80’s” has a slowed-down tempo to it that has easy-to-remember lyrics to them, “Heavyweight,” featuring Slab, sounds harder than anything on his recent releases, and “Neighborhood Drug Dealer” follows in the same vein as the title track, that introduce Ross as “your neighborhood drug dealer.”

The standout track on Hood Billionaire is “Elvis Presley Blvd,” Ross’ homage to the home of the dark side of down south rap, Memphis. In collaboration with Memphis rap legend Project Pat, the track has a dark beat to it that matches the tone of the track perfectly.

As is with most Ross releases after Port of Miami, Hood Billionaire has its share of filler tracks. “If They Knew,” featuring K. Michelle, has a nice beat to it, but the lyrics are redundant, and a track like this has been done 50 times before, “Brinstone” has a nice sound to it, but the classic sound is a little played out, and Boosie Badazz kind of brings down an otherwise fine “Nickel Rock,” and “Trap Luv,” featuring Yo Gotti is a little too slow and syrupy.

Despite some rough patches and Ross' infamous rudimentary lyrics, Hood Billionaire is a pretty solid outing for Ross. This album won't wow anyone, as it plays to the same formula as his previous albums and reeks of un-originality, but Hood Billionaire is still worth a listen if your a down south rap fan.