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Sound Check

August 2, 2012
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By Chad Taylor

Rick Ross

‘God Forgives, I Don’t’

Def Jam/Maybach

Call me crazy if you will, but as a middle-class, 30-something white guy, I sometimes get the impression that Rick Ross isn’t speaking to me with his songs. “God Forgives, I Don’t” is supposed to be Ricky’s masterpiece, and he’s seemingly cashed in every chip he’s holding to make it so. The album is a star-studded affair, featuring cameos by Dre, Jay Z, Drake, Andre 3000, Nas, Usher… and all that expense pays off in interesting ways. “God Forgives, I Don’t” is a lavish, cinematic album. We’re treated to a smoother, funkier Ricky than we’ve seen before, but one who’s more content to let his guest stars steal the thunder. Andre 3000 is the highlight of the album on “Sixteen,” and Jay Z absolutely crushes the ending of “3 Kings.” A masterpiece? Not quite. But “God Forgives, I Don’t” is certainly a work of art. CV

Austin Galante

‘Cat of Nine Tails’


‘Cat of Nine Tails’ is the solo debut from Iowa City native Galante, who’s also part of LA-based hip-pop’ers Bad Fathers. The concept album tells the story of a relationship from beginning to end, but Galante’s efforts are heavy handed. Whereas the emotion of relationships lost is conveyed pitch-perfectly on albums like Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours” or Cursive’s “Domestica,” Galante is content to beat us over the head with lyrics like “I don’t want to feel like you don’t care anymore/I can’t keep letting you have this time that you’re stealing/it’s like I’m a toilet you keep locked in a drawer.” Themes aside, the album does have interesting aspects. It features a dynamic, electronic beat, and Galante is clearly willing to experiment with his sound and fiddle with conventional tropes. An interesting first step, though little else. CV

(Cat of Nine Tails is available for download at

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