Say what you will about Rick Ross, there’s no denying the man can rap and his 2010 collaboration with Jay-Z and John Legend is one of his best efforts.
‘Free Mason’ is classic Ross; the Florida native flaunts the opulent gangster narrative he created for himself while referencing conspiracy theories and comparing himself to JFK.
As good as Ross is, it’s Jay-Z who stands out on the second verse. Dissecting the rumours that he’s part of the Illuminati and in cahoots with the devil, Jay-Z reminds listeners, “Bitch, I said I was amazing/Not that I’m a Mason”. Jay goes deep with bars that can be interpreted in multiple ways, showing his writing dexterity and cementing himself as one of the greats.
John Legend also pops up on the chorus with Ross and the two trade lines about their ascent to the peak of the music scene. Legend even gets his own verse promoting the way he’s lived his life.
‘Free Mason’ is three professionals at the top of their game. It delivers intricate lyrical stanzas that remind fans why Jay-Z is truly legendary while further proving Ross and Legend have never collaborated on a bad song.
Check out more underrated songs from the decade here.
Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.