Why We Picked This
Andrew Winistorfer: Do you remember the first time you were aware of this album?
Michael Penn II: I mean, I was always aware of Rick Ross from blog-era stuff, and the fact that he was really on top of the mainstream with Drake when he was new, when Waka Flocka Flame was goin’ heavy, the early DJ Khaled era… Ross was always a constant presence where I would crank his albums, but none of them really stuck with me overall. Singles would, deep cuts would, but no albums really stuck from top to bottom. But... Teflon Don, I remember whose car I was in when I heard “BMF” for the first time. That was the album where it was like “OK, nah, he really fuckin’ DID that shit.”
AW: Right, I feel the same way. Everybody had to listen to “Hustlin’,” that was such a big deal when it came out. But I remember the first time hearing Teflon Don where it was like Rick Ross perfected his whole thing; he was toying with this character, and this is the album where everything clicked. Every song on this record has at least three or four lines where you’re like, “Goddamn, this is incredible!” It felt like he really just nailed it in a way that he hadn’t.
Is this still his best album to you?
MP: Yes. I’ve heard basically every other one, and I think a lot of his best stuff is just… too long. I mean, he’s been droppin’ albums like a muhfuggah, but nothin’ hit like Teflon Don did to me.
AW: Rick Ross is a maximalist — everything is big — but he has really good self-editing on this. It sounds expensive, but it’s 11 songs. He starts blowing everything up in terms of scope and length, but it’s all so tight on Teflon Don. And we’re doing the first vinyl release; we approached the label, and they approved it immediately.
MP: And this is back when we were still doing five-to-six-minute joints, just to be extra. This is extra-maximalism, but this shit is still 49 minutes. And it’s his best critically reviewed album, too.
AW: Oh, for sure. Remember this was right after all the 50 Cent stuff happened, too? When Ross being a prison guard came out?
MP: “Officer Rickyyyyyy!”
AW: Yeah! This album was so good, it basically ruined the idea of ending Rick Ross. People were ready to sort of cancel Rick Ross — whatever cancelling looked like in 2009 — people were like, “This guy’s a prison guard! All the shit he’s rappin’ about is a lie!” But then Ross came out with this album, and you just don’t care. Even if it’s a character, it’s a fuckin’ great character, and no one cares. There’s a point where 50 Cent was right — Ross was a prison guard! — but 50 Cent lost the war, you know?
AW: Teflon Don is on gold and black galaxy vinyl, with foil and gold text on the jacket, so the cover will look as expensive as the raps sound. I think this album fitting on one LP is a testament to its scope; we’re looking at two or even three LPs with other albums.
We’re super-pumped about this! It feels crazy, but it’s a classic and it never came out on vinyl. Our RHH subscription’s at its best when we’re able to take these classics of the genre that haven’t gotten the vinyl pressing that they deserve.