Deeper Than Rap received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 158,000 copies its first week and was supported by four singles (two official and two promotional): "Magnificent", "Maybach Music 2", "Mafia Music" and "All I Really Want". The album has since sold 439,000 copies in the United States, as of August 2010.
In May 2008, Ross first announced his plans to began recording his third album titled Deeper Than Rap. In addition to this album, Ross has been working through his several mixtapes, freestyle tracks, and his collaboration with rapper Birdman titled The H. In July 2008, the controversy arose over photographs leaked of Ross (real name William Roberts) taken during his career as a corrections officer.
Toward the end of a street track titled "Kiss My Pinky Ring Curly", which intended to attack rapper 50 Cent, Ross mentioned a possible release date of March 24, 2009. In March 2009, the album release date was delayed to April 21, before Ross told MTV News about a possible charity concert for underprivileged neighborhoods of New York City.
The 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 claims if Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) by 50 Cent sold 10 million copies, then his next record (Deeper than Rap) will sell 12 million. However, this did not materialize. According to Ross, a feud with 50 Cent started after he released the track “Mafia Music” online. The album presented personal information about 50 Cent’s relationship with the mother of his child.
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". David Jeffries of AllMusic commended Ross for his "ability to steamroll over all of his shortcomings", calling it "the superstar, gangster weekend album done right." Adam M. Levin of RapReviews described the album 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." 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".
Wilson McBee of Slant Magazine gave credit to Ross for showing more lyrical depth in his lyrics but found the R&B mid-point in the album to lead Ross "closer to being Flo Rida's fat uncle than Jay-Z's second in command." He concluded that, "Phony or not, Ross has planted himself near the center of hip-hop's orbit, and Deeper proves that it's going to take more than YouTube beefs and blogger scandal-mongering to move him out of the way." Steve Jones of USA Today felt that even with the beats, imposing charisma and huge guest list, Ross didn't deviate far enough from the typical rap themes he told before in previous efforts, saying that "His tales of gangster riches are colorful, but you wish Ross would find something deeper to talk about." Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone felt that Ross' formula of shiny beats that supply tracks telling rap lifestyle stories was tiring, saying that "over the length of a full album it all feels a bit too familiar."
In the United States, Deeper Than Rap debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 158,000 copies during its first week making it as Ross's third number-one album. In its second week, the album sold 51,125 copies, when it peaked at number 4 on the chart. In its third week, the album sold 34,828 copies, when it peaked at number 8 on the chart. In its fourth week, the album sold 26,487 copies, when it peaked at number 9, putting on the four week total at 270,000 copies. The album had sold 315,385 copies for over 7 weeks in the United States. In August 2010, the album sold 439,000 copies in the United States.