Ross first announced plans to create Deeper Than Rap in May 2008. In addition to this album, Ross had been working on several mixtapes, freestyle tracks, and a collaboration with rapper Birdman titled The H. Controversy arose over photographs leaked in July 2008 of Ross (real name William Roberts) taken during his career as a corrections officer. Toward the end of a street track "Kiss My Pinky Ring Curly" that intended to attack rapper 50 Cent, Ross mentioned a possible release date of March 24, 2009. In early March 2009, the album release date was delayed to April 21, and Ross told MTV News about a possible charity concert for underprivileged neighborhoods of New York City. A listening party for this album was held at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City on March 17. Prior to the release day, Ross had asserted in interviews with MTV that this album would be his best during his career. Rick Ross claimed that if Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent sold 10 million copies, then his next record (Deeper than Rap) will sell 12 million, however this did not materialize.
Deeper Than Rap debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 158,000 copies its first week, making it Rick Ross's third number-one album. His previous album Trilla sold 198,000 copies in its first week of release. His debut album Port of Miami sold 187,000 copies in the first week. The album sold 51,125 copies in its second week, putting it at number four on the charts, 34,828 copies in its third week putting it at number eight on the charts, and 26,487 copies in its fourth week putting it at number nine, putting the four week total at 270,000 copies sold. After seven weeks the album had sold 315,385 copies. By August 2010, the album sold 439,000 copies in the U.S.
Upon its release, Deeper Than Rap received generally positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 11 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".Allmusic's David Jeffries gave Deeper Than Rap 4 out of 5 stars and commended Ross for his "ability to steamroll over all of his shortcomings", calling it "the superstar, gangster weekend album done right". RapReviews writer Adam M. Levin gave the album a rating of 8.5/10 and described it as "essentially a gangster movie on wax, and Ross is excellent in his role as the boss at the top of the heap with nothing to lose but his cool".ARTISTdirect's Matthew Mundy gave it 4 out of 5 stars and viewed it as a progression for Ross, writing "Gone is the plodding, simplistic flow from before, replaced with a new, tighter one that showcases a newfound focus on internal rhyme schemes and polysyllables. The production is uniformly excellent, updating Miami's traditionally lush, synth-driven sound with horns and soul". Jon Caramanica of The New York Times gave Deeper Than Rap a favorable review and perceived it as an improvement over Ross's previous work. On its production and musical style, Caramanica wrote "this album is lush, erotic, entitled, a stunning leisure-class document of easy wealth and carefree sex. It’s a throwback to a time of sonic and attitudinal ambition in hip-hop — the Bad Boy era of the mid- to late ’90s, with its warm soul samples connoting the new hip-hop luxury comes to mind. Few rap albums have sounded this assured, this sumptuous, in years".