in January 2008
|Birth name||William Leonard Roberts II|
|Born||January 28, 1976|
|Labels||Maybach Music Group/Def Jam|
|Associated acts||Triple C's, DJ Khaled, Flo Rida, Ace Hood, Trina, Brisco, Birdman|
William Leonard Roberts II, better known by his stage name Rick Ross, sometimes written as Rick Ro$$ is an American rapper. He took his stage name from the drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross, to whom he has no connection. Rick Ross has also founded his own record label Maybach Music Group, on which he released his third studio album Deeper Than Rap.
After being signed to Suave House Records, former label for rap duo 8Ball & MJG, he eventually signed a deal with Slip-n-Slide Records, which has been under the Def Jam umbrella since 2006. While signed to Slip-n-Slide, Ross toured with fellow rapper Trick Daddy and made guest performances on other Slip-n-Slide rap albums.
His debut album Port of Miami, was released in August 2006 and debuted at the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart with sales at 187,000 units its first week out. Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone magazine predicted that it would be "the summer's biggest rap record". The second single was "Push It", which samples "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)", the theme song off the gangster film Scarface. The music video for "Push It" was also modeled after the film. During that time, Ross made guest performances on two singles from DJ Khaled's debut Listennn... the Album: "Born-N-Raised" and "Holla at Me". Port of Miami received Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America on November 8, 2006.
In March 2008, his second album Trilla was released and, as its predecessor Port of Miami had, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. Its lead single "Speedin'" featuring R. Kelly peaked at #121 on the Billboard Hot 100; the next one, "The Boss" featuring T-Pain peaked at #17 on the Hot 100. The third single "Here I Am" featured Nelly and Avery Storm. MTV News ranked Ross on the fourth spot in its 2008 "Hottest MCs In The Game" list among ten rappers. The fourth Single "This Is The Life" featured Trey Songz and was released in July.
In January 2009, Rick Ross started a feud with rapper 50 Cent because he supposedly looked at him the wrong way at the BET Awards. However, 50 Cent told news sources that he did not even remember seeing Rick Ross there. In late January, a track entitled "Mafia Music" by Rick Ross, leaked onto the Internet. There were several lines that seem to diss 50 Cent. Days later, 50 Cent released "Officer Ricky (Go Head, Try Me)" in response to Rick Ross's disparaging remarks on his "Mafia Music" song. The next day Rick Ross appeared on Shade 45, gave 50 Cent 24 hours to come up with something better.
Before going to Venezuela, 50 Cent uploaded a video entitled "Warning Shot", where he states "Rick Ross, I'ma fuck your life up for fun". In addition, 50 Cent released the first of a series of "Officer Ricky" cartoons. Early February, 50 Cent once again made a video which he uploaded to YouTube where he interviews "Tia", the mother of one of Rick Ross's children. She verifies his being a correctional officer and claims his whole persona is fake and fraudulent. On Thursday, February 5, 2009, The Game, who 50 Cent has a long-standing "beef" with, called up Seattle's KUBE 93 Radio Station. When asked about the beef between 50 Cent and Rick Ross, The Game sided with 50 Cent and said that things are not looking good for Rick Ross. However, he offered to help Rick Ross get out of this situation, stating "Rick Ross, holla at your boy, man," and, "50 eating you, boy." On his album Deeper Than Rap, Ross references 50 Cent in the song "In Cold Blood". A video for the song was released that portrayed 50 Cent's mock funeral. Upon release, Ross stated that he has ended 50 Cent's career. 50 Cent then starred in a video series called "Pimpin' Curly". As a response Rick Ross released "Kiss My Pinky Ring, Curly", 50 Cent and G-Unit responded with "I'll Be The Shooter" along with a video. Tuesday Feb 10th, Rick Ross releases a cartoon video called "Gay-Unit Workouts". The same day Rick Ross released a new diss track called "Push 'Em Over The Edge". The next day 50 Cent released the controversial video "A Psychic Told Me" dissing DJ Khaled. Thursday Feb 12th, 50 Cent responded with "Tia Told Me", along with Lloyd Banks' response Officer Down and Tony Yayo's "Somebody Snitched".
In an interview, 50 Cent said, Rick Ross is "Albert From CB4. You ever seen the movie? He's Albert," he added. "It never gets worse than this. You get a guy that was a correctional officer come out and base his entire career on writing material from a drug dealer's perspective such as "Freeway" Ricky Ross".
His third studio album was released on April 21, 2009 under his own label, Maybach Music Group, unlike his previous releases with Slip-N-Slide Records. The first single, "Magnificent" featuring John Legend, peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Usual Suspects" features Nas and was released on April 7, 2009. Deeper Than Rap was also one of the most highly anticipated hip-hop albums of the year, due to the fallout from Rick Ross's heated battle with rival 50 Cent. Ross talks about how when other rappers are on the throne, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Birdman are rappers who come to mind.
"I look at the game and the business and all different aspects, it's a lot of great lyricists on the corner that will never properly understand the business and know how to market themselves and get in a position where they can gain capital. I look at all the strategies people use and what made them successful. What made Birdman just as relevant today after selling 50 million records? That intrigues me. To see the class of Jay-Z, his accomplishments and see how he sits backs and accurately makes his moves"
A track from the album called "Valley of Death" was what stood out to MTV reporters. In the song, Ross speaks briefly on his controversial stint as a prison guard. "Keep it trilla, nigga, never had a gun and badge," which he stresses, leaving the word that he was indeed an officer of the law. "Kept a nice watch, smoking on a hundred sack/ Back in the day I sold crack for some nice kicks/ Skippin' school, I saw my friend stabbed with an ice pick/ Can't criticize niggas trying to get jobs/ Better get smart, young brother, live yours." Later, he implies that while he was working as a corrections officer, he was also on the streets. "Only lived once and I got two kids/ And for me to feed them, I'll get two gigs," he raps. "I'll shovel shit, I'll C.O./ So we can bow our heads and pray over the meatloaf." Although, he still provided no explanation for lying about being a C.O. to begin with, nor did he explain why he failed to pay child support for his children.
Rick Ross is currently working on the collaboration album with Birdman entitled H. It is set to be released sometime in 2009. The first single is entitled Bitch I'm The Shit. Ross is also planning to release his 4th studio album entitled Teflon Don which has been confirmed on some of his websites. It is set to be released in early 2010. He is also working on a collaboration with the Triple C's entitled Custom Cars and Cycles which is set to be released in 2010.
The cover of the May 2009 issue of XXL magazine, titled "Rick Ross Up in Smoke", featured Ross wearing a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. After publication, a spokesperson for the luxury-goods maker contacted XXL to inform them that Ross was sporting fake sunglasses in the cover image. It was later revealed that the rapper was wearing authentic Louis Vuitton sunglasses which were altered by Jacob Bernstein, also known as "The Sunglass Pimp". Bernstein defended his customizations despite Louis Vuitton's insistence that such modification and resale of trademarked property is not legal.
Rick Ross was born William Leonard Roberts II in Coahoma County, Mississippi. and raised in Carol City, Florida, of Miami. After graduating from Carol City Senior High School, he later attended the historically black college Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
In July 2008, The Smoking Gun produced details linking Ross' social security number to a two-year stint as a correctional officer in a Florida prison facility, along with a photograph purporting to be Ross in his correctional officer uniform. Ross initially denied that the photograph was of him; however, after overwhelming evidence of his past came into the public's eye, Ross later admitted that he did in fact work as a corrections officer in Florida during the early 90's. In a recent interview with AllHipHop.com, "Freeway" Ricky Ross, claimed offense that Roberts used his name and identity when he learned that The Smoking Gun posted documents revealing Roberts' previous employment as a Florida corrections officer. British rapper Lowkey, makes reference to this in a freestyle on London's KISS 100 radio show: "...find the real Rick Ross and ask him, the real Rick Ross, not the fat cop in fake glasses...", also commenting on an incident in which the American artist was accused by Louis Vuitton of wearing counterfeit sunglasses on the cover of XXL magazine.
During a deposition of Officer Rey Hernandez, a Miami Beach cop who arrested Ross in January 2008 on gun and marijuana charges, Ross’s lawyer, Allan Zamren, asked Hernandez why Ross’s case was assigned to the gang task force. The officer stated that it was because Ross claimed affiliation with Carol City Cartel and other known gang members. Zamren then pressed Hernandez for a personal link between Ross and the gang members, but ultimately one could not be established.
In August 2008, YouTube entertainer DJ Vlad filed a 4 million dollar lawsuit against Rick Ross for assault. Vlad claimed Ross organized an ambush on him at the 2008 Ozone Awards in Houston, Texas for asking questions about his past as a correctional officer. Vlad was left with seven stitches below one of his eyes, three facial fractures, a corneal abrasion and possible permanent nerve damage.
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