Instead of attempting to recapture the spirit of his number one, platinum-certified 2006 debut, Rick Ross is very much in 2019 on its inevitable sequel, his tenth album. Frequent serious references to mortality make Port of Miami 2 his heaviest recording. On three separate tracks, he envisions his grave, lets his woman know that she can choose his casket -- as if it's a relationship goal -- and flashes back to when he was on life support, deducing that he was dealt cold retribution for his recklessness. In the third one, he even gets existential: "You could have the biggest clique, but you gon' die a loner." The plentiful terse and gruff rhymes exuding opulence -- a few of which are put forth with tiresome, less than standard verve -- consequently seem less like proclamations of invincibility than incitements to seize the day. Links to Port of Miami and the city itself aren't common -- a missed opportunity. Ross name-checks with reverence some of the high-profile drug-trade figures who have inspired him. Fellow Carol City native Denzel Curry, who was 11 when Ross went nationwide, supplies a racing verse. The returning Port of Miami contributors are limited to the likes of Jeezy, Lil Wayne, and producer DJ Toomp; key Miamians Cool & Dre and DJ Khaled, for instance, don't return. Above all, there are strong and poignant connections to the debut on the cover and in the grooves with tributes to Black Bo, Ross' late, longtime manager. The MC compared the release of this LP to the pushing of a reset button, but this -- the point where he has most potently mixed the fantastical and the autobiographical -- seems like the wrong time to do it. Besides, he can still swank and illustrate a scene with the best of them, whether over a thunderous Just Blaze beat or swirling soul-funk cooked up by Jake One, or while sharing a moment of glory with the departed Nipsey Hussle.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman