Album: God Forgives, I Don't
Label: Maybach Music Group, Def Jam
It's weird to think of now, but a lot of people didn't like this song when it came out. Before it was immortalized in the first verse of Kanye West's "To The World," it was criticized as a rehash of Rozay's old material—reliance on a formula he'd been overusing since "B.M.F." The sonic similarities clouded people's judgment.
If anything, "Hold Me Back" is the freshest take on the sound Ross popularized two years prior, and it has more meaning. Rather than empty boasts, this record confronts the challenges of prosperity in the face of oppression. Ross' verses become a narrative, his chorus a mantra. It's a high-octane rollercoaster ride of a song and proof that sometimes the best work doesn't get its due recognition on the first go around. —EB