Rap fans had a field day last week when Maybach Music Group honcho and Miami rap kingpin Rick Ross announced the name of his latest mixtape: The Black Bar Mitzvah. The mixtape’s title and its ridiculous cover art—an image of Ross superimposed on a golden Star of David—had plenty of music writers and bloggers desperately milking every last Jewish joke out of it.
Some of those one-liners turned out to be better than The Black Bar Mitzvah, released Monday evening through DatPiff. At its worst it sounds like Ricky Rozay has done his own version of the “Ja Rule Duets” meme, basically yelling over hot tracks instead of trying to top the original versions. But Ross is a major force in hip-hop—he uses “bar mitzvah” as shorthand for wealth, a nod to the frequent excess of American bar mitzvah parties—and his choice of instrumentals, even on a subpar mixtape, is sure to benefit the up-and-coming acts responsible. Among them are D.C.’s Shy Glizzy—though I prefer Glizzy’s original “Southside” to Ross’s “Bible on the Dash”—and Chicago rapper and GBE affiliate Lil Reese, whose “Us” gets reworked on The Black Bar Mitzvah.