On 2009's plush and vibrant Deeper Than Rap, Rick Ross spit the spunkiest rhymes of his career. He's like a younger, looser and stranger Jay-Z, with a knack for curious imagery and free-associative boasts. His fourth album is duly impressive, full of ritzy pop-funk cuts, prideful anthems and elegant glimmers of introspection. But Teflon Don isn't exclusively Ross' show. T.I. and Jadakiss provide fluid braggadocio in "Maybach Music III," and "Live Fast, Die Young" is buoyed by Kanye West, who sounds freer than he has in years. Great escapism is hard to come by these days, but on Teflon Don, trumpets blow, Patron flows, interesting slang terms for cocaine are coined (Archie Bunker?), and the air of joviality seldom relents. Pimpin' might not be easy, but Ross makes it sound damn near effortless.
M.T. Richards is a music critic for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.