[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Rick Ross, “Hold Me Back”
History: Rappers Meek Mill and Wale released a song called “Actin' Up.” It was loud, boisterous and aggressively circular (the front half of the chorus: “These hoes be actin' up. These hoes be actin' up. These hoes be actin' up. And these niggas be lettin' 'em”). It was also mega-fun. People liked it a lot. Rick Ross did too. So much so that he just went ahead and made a loud, boisterous, aggressively circular facsimile and released several weeks later like the first version didn't even exist. That hoe was actin' up, I suppose. Life imitating art, I suppose.
Atmospherics: HYPERholdmeback-y; like production camp J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League made it, except production camp J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League didn't make it; super duper rat-a-tat snares.
Analysis: The song is effective, no doubt. (And, admittedly, Ross is far more capable of pulling off this sort of thing than Mill or Wale.) But still, there are indelicacies, one giganto one within the song's fundamental ideology, and a few tinier ones in the lyrics.
Regarding the ideology: It's actually based on a brilliant (albeit asshole-y) bit of semantic philosophy first offered forth by this Greek philosopher from around the way named Demetrius. It's one of those “If A Tree Falls In The Forest And No One Is Around To Hear It” situations, for real. Here, take a look, this is a scanned page from an really old, really legitimate philosophy book called Logictus Holdmebacktus. Don't Google it. I didn't make it up, but still. Anyway, the page:
Some of the lyrics:
“I look in my fridge. My shit lookin' scarce.”
(Okay, sorry. ONE fat joke. But, I'm saying, if you, an obese man, start a song lamenting the amount of snack cakes in your refrigerator, you're kind of asking for it. It's no different than if Chris Brown started a song by talking about meeting a foxy lady at a battered women's shelter, or when Kanye took Kim Kardashian to that award show and sat her down with him next to Jay-Z and Beyonce.)
There are a lot of things that are probably scarce in Rick Ross's house. I imagine original ideas are probably pretty hard to come by there. And books, those are scarce for certain. But stuff in his fridge?
Bonus Fake Conversation:
Terry: Has anyone seen my copy of Infinite Jest?
Ross: What's that?
Terry: This book I'm reading. It's blue and yellow, real thick.
Ross: … I ate it.
Ross: Sorry, man. I thought it was a sandwich. Books and sandwiches look a lot alike.
Terry: Dude, it's fucking 1,000 pages.
Ross: Yeah, I know. At, like, 600 pages in I started to get suspicious it wasn't a sandwich, what with it being all page-y and whatnot. I just sort of powered through those last 400 pages. It wasn't that good.
Terry: I mean, I don't even know what to say.
Ross: I know, I know. I'm sorry.
Terry: That's, like, four this month, man.
Ross: Yeah, four. But one wasn't a book; it was an Urban Outfitters catalog, so that doesn't count.
Ross: … three books and a catalog isn't the same as four books, is what I'm saying.
Terry: … I gotta go.
“Fabricate 'bout your fortune, all my fabrics imported.”
Rick Ross calling someone out about lying is like Chris Brown calling someone out about domest — ah shit. I did that joke already. Dang it. Sorry. You get it.
“Bitch nigga, let's play chess.”
And one last philosophical barrage:
“Pussy hoe. Pussy hoe. She a pussy hoe until she give me pussy, hoe.”
In chart form:
(I) Rick Ross probably also has a song that he wrote called “Re-Thriller” and a book that he wrote called The Bibel stashed away somewhere.
(II) Rick Ross has probably eaten at least one issue of the Urban Outfitters shopping catalog.
(III) Rick Ross likes to play chess (but that's probably because he thinks it's somehow related to cheese).
(IV) Rick Ross would have just about the best line of Valentine's Day Cards.