Last night, Elliott Wilson hosted a listening session for Rick Ross' Hood Billionaire at The Box, an intimate venue on Manhattan's Lower East Side. A smattering of hip-hop's elite were in attendance, including MMG VP Kendell "Young Sav" Freeman, MMG mainstays Stalley Fat Trel, Remy Ma and Papoose, Jadakiss, and Raekwon; Def Jam CEO Steve Bartles honored the newly slimmed-down biggest-boss with a plaque commemorating his five million records sold to-date. Ross' black-bottled Belair rosé was poured, hand-rolled cigars were handed out, and gigantic cutouts of the rapper's head hung from the balcony of the venue, which isn't the kind of place that hosts mainstream rap release parties on the regular.
Eventually, as promised, the album was played. "Man, I just felt like we need that excitement," said Ross, introducing his second release for this calendar year. "We gotta keep that kind of excitement in the culture." It runs eighteen songs long and recedes from the luxurious sounds and occasional subtlety that set Mastermind apart back to the wrecking-ball beats and on obvious boasts we've come to expect from him. There's a tough Metro Boomin beat ("Neighborhood Drug Dealer") and a fiery verse from Lil Boosie to be excited about, but the rest sounded like what you'd expect from yet another Rozay album.
And so before ducking out, we asked the ever-exulting DJ Khaled why we should be excited about Hood Billionaire. "Two albums in one year!" he exclaimed. "Two albums in one year from the great Ricky Rozay!" So there you have it.
Remy Rozay 🍸I 1st met @richforever in '03 in the projects in the Bx. We chilled in clubs in Miami , spoke in prison on collect calls, & tonite at an industry party in Ny-He never switched up on me!! Not once! #RealShit #HoodBillionaire #FreeMeek #RemyMa
A photo posted by Remy Ma (@therealremyma) on
#HOODBILLIONAIRE #MMG #SBSB
A photo posted by fat_gleesh (@fat_gleesh) on
We in da Streetssss pic.twitter.com/OOC5aZkHk4
— Hood Billionaire (@rickyrozay) November 13, 2014
Photo credit: Kevin Winters/Getty