Same Script, Different Soundtrack

FX’s ‘Snowfall’ is set to return to television screens with Season 4 on 2/24. The compelling, crime drama series set in the 1980s depicts both the rise of Franklin Saint’s drug dealing empire and of the crack cocaine epidemic heating up and bubbling over into the streets of Los Angeles. Originally created and produced by the late, great film director John Singleton, Snowfall captures in ways that speak true to his cinematic genius. Singleton’s strorytelling is heightened with brilliant cinematography, captivating performances from the cast and soul music that sets the tone for a major motion-picturesque masterpiece.

While I find myself encapsulated by the musical stylings of Roy Ayers, The Stylistics, Mtume, and more playing throughout the show, I can’t help but to put my hip-hop mind to work. Although Snowfall’s setting takes place in the early eighties, present day music also runs parallel with the perils that protagonist faces. One artist, in particular, is rapper Rick Ross.

Ross’ raps often paint a vivid picture of the diary of a dope dealer and could very well set the score alongside Saint’s journey in Singleton’s drug-culture drama. See the Rick Ross songs I selected that also accurately align with the main characters’ story below. Press play to the playlist provided on Tidal, too!

Tears Of Joy

CR: Ray Micshaw/FX

“Keys open doors so I gotta keep a set
Everybody know that I’m a lotta people’s threat
Biggie Smalls in the flesh livin’ life after my death
Yesterday I read my horoscope
Tell me Lord will I be poor and broke?
Tell me Lord will I be dealin’ dope?
I wanna take my momma to the Poconos
But only Lord knows

[Hook: Cee-Lo Green]
Goodbye, to all the loved ones I leave behind
At least they can’t see me cry
And I ask, when someone wants to be me, why
Thought havin’ everything would ease my mind
If you could read my mind
My God, I’m scarred, I have tattoo tears of joy”

Rick Ross testifies all of the trials and tribulations he faces from his Teflon Don track, “Tears of Joy,” accompanied by Cee-Lo Green. Coming up on the streets isn’t a walk in the park, and Saint can most definitely share the same sentiments as Ross here. Both continuously express their drive to keep going but have shed a few tears, good and bad, on their roads to success.

“Lookin’ in the mirror but I don’t see much
Still runnin’ the streets so I don’t sleep much
Watchin’ the snakes so they don’t creep up
But the way I’m gettin’ this money, niggas can’t keep up
You niggas can’t keep up
Niggas got beef but it can’t be much
I’m still walkin’ through the crowds like I can’t be touched”

Smile Mama, Smile

“I always keep it real with my mama
She harder than a rock
Throw her parties on the block for my mama
I just wanna see my mama smile”

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Rozay joins forces with Cee-Lo again, this time for an anthem showing appreciation for his mother. Ross and Saint have more in common than dealing drugs, but share a strong devotion to their mothers and a resentment for their father’s absence. Franklin sees how hardworking his mother, Cissy, is and just wants to make her happy. Although, at first he was ashamed of selling drugs and kept it a secret from Cissy. However, later on in the show Cissy decided to show her support and helped see Saint’s slinging kingdom through. The unconditional love that the rapper and ficitional trapper share for the matriarch in their lives is unmatched.

Idols Become Rivals

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Off of Rick Ross’ Epic debut Rather You Than Me, was a diss track so distinct, it’s considered epic, to say the least. “Idols Become Rivals,” is a song notoriously known for airing his grievances against a certain someone in the game he once admired. Much like Ross, Saint in Season 3 of Snowfall is now looking down on those he once looked up to. He came a long way from peddling puny amounts of weed from his uncle to pushing bricks to help build an entire empire. Business is booming so much for the young budding kingpin, it leads to him lending a million dollars to the man who fronted him his first key, with interest. Franklin’s former mentor now works for him. Safe to say Rick Ross and Franklin Saint do more than know how to turn a profit, they turn the tables too.

“Hard to point a finger when you live a life of sin
I’ma bring my niggas with me if I lose or win”

Valley Of Death

In “Valley of Death,” Rick Ross makes it evident how everlasting faith leads him on his treacherous journey from the trap to triumph. Similar to Renzel, Franklin bet on himself to take a gamble on the game. They both are cashing out as they reap their rewards from the seeds they originally planted.

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“Walk like a giant, talk like a tyrant
Faith of a mustard seed, destined for a triumph
David or Goliath, hate me or admire
Kush burns slow, as I chase my desire
Embrace my empire, Batty Boy, eat fire
Guns like choirs, when they sing, ‘Keep quiet’
“Will I get to heaven?” Turn to Psalm 27
Lord knows when I see this Monkey, I’mma be The Devil
Beat him cause I’m clever, beat him at whatever”

Florida Boy

While Ross resides in Miami and the fictional Franklin is located in LA, these two both have a dwelling place, also known as the “home of young nigas killing with no remorse.” In “Florida Boy,” Rick Ross describes his life as a disadvantaged youth and what drives to keep him going alongside fellow Floridians, T-Pain and Kodak Black. While obstacles were put in position to make these black men fail, they still overcame. Franklin saw passed being just a college student and seeing his mother struggle for a slumlord, he saw a way out instead of through. Although he hit a few bumps on his road to riches, like doing a little time is jail, he became more than just a product of his environment. Unfortunately, it came with the cost of pushing product in his own environment.

“Life a test and every day we got so much to fail 
Told you the world was yours, now you in a cell
Center of attention, now you by yourself
Always did the shopping, now you’re on the shelf”

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“I could’ve been a student, my mind was polluted
Project unit nigga, I could smell all the raw sewage
Told myself, ‘Time to go do this’
Sidelines, can’t be switching up like I’m Ray Lewis”

Rich Off Cocaine

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

[Hook: Avery Storm]
“I’m not bulletproof
I’m fully proof that you can make it here
All that livin’ fast
It ain’t got to last
Now I can’t slow it down
Cause I’m sittin’ on top of the world and I’m not comin’ down”

Rick Ross lays down some of his most luxurious raps in “Rich Off Cocaine” as he uses his verbal imagination to illustrate his illustrious life. Much like Rozay, Saint has a taste of the high life with cocaine. He’s flipping birds and has the fiends flipping over it at his doorstep. While he’s stretching the profits, Saint’s also stretching out getting accustomed to his new, comfortable lifestyle. Saint soon learns that while he accumulates more money, it also comes with more, and more problems.

“Burnin’ butter got it smellin’ like it’s butterscotch
Every bird boss take it to another notch
Bitch I’m busy baby, go and suck another cock
Fuck a hater, make me throw away another Glock
Money in the mansion, yayo in another spot
Guns in the attic, mama help me put ’em up
She’ll pull ’em down, tell you quick to him ’em up
Load a hundred rounds, bring it back she’ll fill it up”

She Crazy

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“Been through a lot 9.0 times it gets cold
Doing bad had you take dope up the road
Had a situation where she kept it G as fuck
Sometimes realer than the niggas that I trust”

“She Crazy” is a standout gem on Rozay’s mixtape “Ashes to Ashes” and somehow relates to the crack rock kingpin, Franklin Saint. Rick Ross uses this song to reminisce on the love and the loved ones he had. In the first verse, Ross recalls a ride-or-die who eventually veered off onto a wrong path to abusing drugs. This is something that strongly resonates with our dear Franklin, as he loses his love interest, Melody. Mel, the once Spelman-bound, quintessential girl-next-door, is no more as she falls under the spell of serious drug addiction. At one point she helped Saint hide his stash, but when we last left her she became addicted to it, much like the fiends he was accustomed to serving. Watching his first love turn to a crack fiend is not an easy pill to swallow for Saint but he’s faced much worse. Franklin’s also witnessed his trusted companion turn on him and had kill Kevin himself. It might be too late for Kevin, but maybe there’s hope for Mel.

Coke Like The 80s

With ‘Snowfall’ being set in the Regan-era, Ross’ “Coke Like The 80s” instantly came to mind. He even uses a snippet from an anti-drug “Brain On Drugs” campaign known for airing throughout that time period. This song would perfectly set the tone for scenes Saint is cooking up in the kitchen or using his soldier on the corners.

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“John Doe nigga, you know that convo, nigga
Get you that weed and white, want you a combo nigga”

Hold Me Back

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“Everything takes time, but this shit came fast
Niggas standin’ in line, they wanna hold me back
I multiplied my hustle, stimulated my mind
Motivated my niggas and we’ll never divide, NO!”

Franklin matches the same relentless attitude as Rick Ross on “Hold Me Back.” Rozay repeats, “These niggas won’t hold me back,” throughout the track to note he can’t be stopped. Franklin maintains the same mantra as Rick Ross. He refuses to let anyone get between him and his burgeoning drug empire, whether it be rival gangs, neighboring police officers, and even his own friends. This infamous scene with Franklin and Leon makes Saint’s hustler ambition more apparent than ever.

Push It

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

When Ross said, “I bought my first block, broke it down and tore the block apart” on “Push It,” I know Saint could relate! The second single off of Port of Miami is straight dope boy magic as the sample in this song originates from the classic film, Scarface. It’s everything Franklin embodies. Saint is pushing his product and pushing himself to become bigger in every aspect. That’s right, Saint has plans beyond moving birds and can’t be pigeonholed.

“We started minute, the money matured
My money’s secured, I got bundles in Europe
My bubble be pure, it cost like a hundred a pull
The world is yours, hundred million or more
Now I run the streets, they all mine
12 years overdue, call it due time
I told you never roll on the soul of a soldier
You never know that dishwasher may be the beholder”

Stay Schemin

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

While Saint is on the move, the bullshit moves with him. It’s hard enough being a black man growing up in LA under Ronald Regan. Then, add in territorial rivals, federal agents, and even his own once trusted companions, the odds are stacked against you. Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin” is an anthem that aligns perfectly to the perpetual dangers and paranoia that Franklin faces. And, although circumstances might not be in Franklin’s favor, his mind is always working to formulate how to come on top.

“I slide for my niggas, dawg
I ride for my niggas
Stay schemin’, niggas tryna get at me”

Hustlin

CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“We never steal cars but we deal hard
Whip it real hard, whip it, whip it, real hard
I caught a charge, I caught a charge
Whip it real hard, whip it, whip it, real hard
Ain’t ’bout no funny shit, still bitches and business
I’m on my money, shit, still whippin’ them Benzes
Major league, who catchin’ because I’m pitchin’
Jose Canseco just snitchin’ because he’s finished
I feed ’em steroids to strengthen up all my chickens
They flyin’ over Pacific to be specific
Triple C’s, you know it’s fact, we holdin’ sacks
So nigga go on, rat, run and tell ’em that
More cars, more hoes, more clothes, more blow”

While numerous songs account for our drug dealing duo, it’s “Husltin'” that acts as the ultimate anthem for them both. Rick Ross’ debut single absolutely epitomizes the microcosm of Snowfall’s main character, Franklin Saint. This song effortlessly sums up their spirit and strength, simply with one line, “Every day, I’m hustlin.” Franklin has a lot at stake with Season 4 underway but if he’s anything like Rick Ross’ will to win in his music, he can’t fail.

Any other songs that some to mind with this show? Which ones would be on your very own Snowfall soundtrack? Take the comment section by storm and let your thoughts rain down.


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