Now both 20+ years deep in the industry and among the biggest names in hip-hop, Rick Ross & Meek Mill, with their Too Good To Be True collaborative album, are taking a second to enjoy the successes they’ve achieved both together and apart.
In our coverage of this project’s lead single, “Shaq & Kobe,” we noted that the song revitalized the dominant run that Meek Mill & Rick Ross shared as Maybach Music carved out permanent real estate in hip-hop with a series of label compilation albums. Reviving that era was clearly something on the rappers’ minds as well, as Too Good To Be True spends about half of its runtime on the type of feature-heavy posse cuts that once afforded them their A-list rap status in the first place.
Guest Stars New & Old on Rick Ross & Meek Mill’s Too Good To Be True
For longtime fans, “Fine Lines” will scratch that itch best, as it sees a true reunion via Wale’s appearance. His verse begins with a nod to the early 2010s in terms of fashion, rapping “North Faces and foams, we grew up in that jawn.” The rest of his section is truly vintage Wale, smooth and dextrous flows with slick metaphors the whole way. He finishes by himself acknowledging the moment, spitting, “It’s the three-headed monster, mashallah that we still on.”
“In Luv with the Money” is vintage in a different way—Future, on hook duty here, goes a long way in making the track sound like 2012 radio in the best possible way. He casts aside the R&B tinge of his recent work in favor of a boastful, bassy cadence that calls to mind some of his first hits like “Racks” or Ace Hood’s “Bugatti.” “Above the Law,” where DJ Khaled introduces things in typical “We the Best” fashion also enlists Teyana Taylor for the song’s main melodies. Though somewhat of a crowded roster, this track stands as one of the project’s very best, a modern twist to some ’90s-inspired boom bap anthems.
The MMG MCs Still Excel Themselves
Though the feature-assisted records will understandably draw a wider audience, the 8 or so tracks where Meek & Ross carry things alone are the backbone of the project. 10+ years ago, much of the pair’s chemistry came from contrast. Rick Ross verses were luxury-drenched mafioso exercises, while Meek Mill’s charisma came from his undeniable hunger on the mic. It wouldn’t be fair to say that gap has closed entirely, but as the years have gone on, Meek has gravitated closer to his label head’s side of the grandiosity spectrum.
Take “Lyrical Eazy,” which flips a sample Jay-Z once used for his own “Breathe Eazy.” A straightforward activity in bars and nothing but bars, Meek raps, “Hunnid cash large, black card in my pocket / Rose gold Richie, I don’t even rock it / Brand new Benz for what? ‘Cause I don’t even drive it.” They may not come laden with the same gold-plated imagery as Ross’ are, but the verses of the Philly MC are just as adept at telling the audience the luxuries he enjoys, and how hard he worked to get them.
Too Good To Be True Proves a Highlight in Both Rappers’ Recent Catalogs
“They Don’t Really Love You” benefits greatly by experimenting with format. Expectedly, most of the songs on Too Good To Be True are back-and-forth affairs where the two rappers trade verse sections. On this cut though, Meek is siloed on the hook, a 16-bar repetition about the naysayers, which will instantly put this on gym playlists everywhere. Ross, then, takes two verses, and fills the space with cautionary tales about how he’s had to watch his back the whole way up while climbing to fame.
Situated at the very end, in almost a “bonus track” position, is a remix to that first single, “Shaq & Kobe.” Among all the songs here, the features on the new version live up to the album’s name. Ross & Meek enlist both Milwaukee Bucks superstar Damian Lillard, credited as his rap alter ego Dame D.O.L.L.A., and none other than Shaquille O’Neal himself, in his first appearance on the mic since 2019.
The conception of this project in the first place was a momentous occasion for a specific generation of rap fans, having grown up with huge tracks like “Ima Boss” and “Tupac Back.” It’s just icing on the cake that the album perfectly rekindles the same chemistry Ross & Meek tapped into in the first place. You can find Too Good To Be True wherever you get your music.