9. Rick Ross "Devil in a New Dress" (2010)
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Label: GOOD Music/Def Jam
In this post "U.O.E.N.O."-era, it's hard to remember a time when Rick Ross could conjure up a shred of empathy when it comes to affairs of the heart. But listening to one of the best verses of his career brings it all back. Set against Bink's wistful Smokey Robinson sample, Ross's 28 bars follow two Kanye West verses about love and loss, and the lust for flesh and fame, and are immediately preceded by a melancholy guitar solo—which is to say the perfect mood is set.
The Bawse launches into a series of lines that are once typical and transcendent. He brags about his "bitch," his watch, his cars, his tux and his lavender shoes, yet his performance is compelling because his boastful words are suffused with pathos. For once Ross doesn't seem to be in character. When you're "making love to the angel of death," you don't need to put molly in her champagne. —Rob Kenner