Rick Ross, "Mastermind" (Def Jam)
Perhaps Ross simply took his drug-lord act as far as it could go with 2012's "God Forgives, I Don't," in which the portly Miami rapper somehow made a seizure he'd suffered on a private jet sound like the mark of a true player. But for the first time in a career that's gotten only more interesting since his background as a corrections officer was revealed, Ross has run out of imaginative ways to describe his power on his latest. He's helped by collaborators such as the Weeknd, who gives "In Vein" a queasy menace, and Jay Z, who boosts the swagger in "The Devil Is a Lie." Kanye West's trippy, gospel-fied production in "Sanctified" is its own reward. As "Mastermind's" mastermind, though, Ross seems on auto-pilot.
MIKAEL WOOD, Los Angeles Times
Haley Bonar's fifth album, the made-in-Minnesota "Last War," won't be released until May 20, but the tune "No Sensitive Man" is previewing at spin.com. In a deadpan, echoey voice reminiscent of Lana Del Rey, she croons: "I don't want no sensitive man. I don't want to talk." Sample the irony at tinyurl.com/k3uqsxh