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Carol City Cartel: Miami Life

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It’s not a new phenomenon that Rick Ross is the “Boss.” Since his first release, “Hustlin’,” Ross has left a strong presence in Hip-Hop letting everybody know how Miami can get down. With gritty rhymes about living the Scarface lifestyle in the cocaine capital and working with everyone from DJ Khaled to Fat Joe, he’s got the Port of Miami on lock. Even through all the success, Ross doesn’t forget where he came from. Ross joins up fellow Carol City Cartel (Triple C) members, Torch and Gun Play, for the trio’s debut release, Black Flag. Picking up where Port of Miami left off, this summer is sure to be as he puts it “a gangster’s holiday.” AllHipHop.com caught up with Triple C to talk about their new album, the Miami takeover, hustling and making that gwap.

AllHipHop.com: How did Triple C come about?

Rick Ross: We’ve been doing this music thing for nine-10 years. We saw each other in the hood and hooked up. They had that passion. We never knew that it was going to turn out like this. It was just dreams.

Gun Play: Rick Ross is from Carol City. He just put together a super group. Rick is the boss. I’m the boss, but Rick is the boss! Rick and I met when I was a young teenager. We both had the same vision. Less than a year later, we hooked up with Torch from New York. He was down here hustling; doing his thing in Fort Lauderdale [the city north of Miami]. He brought that extra element to the group that we needed. We needed a group and once we got him, he completed it. That’s how we formed the Carol City Cartel.

AllHipHop.com: Okay, so you’re the other boss, but what does each of you bring differently to the table?

Torch: We come completely different than these guys out now. A lot of their stories don’t check out. You go to their hood…they talk about this, that and the third. When you check out their backgrounds, they were in the choir, a Jehovah’s Witness or some s**t. You can check my track record. When I mach up, when I spit that rough s**t, you can check my background. I’m the connect by way of Torch, the Cartel head of the north. Ya dig?

AllHipHop.com: What’s your connection with the real Carol City Cartel?

Rick Ross: We are the real Carol City Cartel.

AllHipHop.com: Coke raps are selling, but why put your business out in the streets? What ever happened to being discrete about what happens in the streets?

Rick Ross: Listen up; this is Rick Ross of the Carol City Cartel. We love this s**t. This is how we make money, M.I. Yayo, and The Cocaine Capital, are coming. This is a documentary about real n***as in the streets, so if you ain’t in the streets then you don’t know what the f**k is going on. You have no idea. There’s a lot of money recording in the streets and I want my hand in that. That’s what we’re talking about. That’s why we in it. That’s how we do it and a lot of n***as don’t know it. Some n***as go pro in basketball and some don’t; some go to prison.

Torch: That’s just the way that it is. They are going to talk about what they do and put it on a record so everybody can hear it. When I’m about to talk about myself, my business and put it on a record…if I need to address someone, they will be addressed. That’s what they do; put it on a record.

Gun Play: But by no stretch of the imagination do I want anyone to believe that when you get a Triple C album [that] that’s all you’ll have to look forward to. There are too many avenues. With Triple C, you never know what you’re going to get. Everybody thinks it’s all drugs, guns, and murder 187. Yeah, we got that, but at the same time, we have stuff for the ladies; we have music for the people who just want to party; and we have stuff for the cats that just want to hear murder 187, etc. We got hit records. We have theme music. We’re captains of the mainstream. Once you get there, we’re giving it all we got.

AllHipHop.com: We’re just trying to cover all of the angles. As you know, there’s a lot of talk about the decline of Hip-Hop record sales due to the negativity, lack of interest, downloading and perpetuation of stereotypes. How do you feel about that?

Torch: When you look at me and say, “That looks like a wild n***a,” you’re God damn right; I’m a wild animal! You feel me? “You look like the type of n***a to be a drug dealer.” That’s cool, but everyone else knows that we’re not just drug dealers. If you don’t want to get on and get that bread, that’s on you. Cut your own neck, it doesn’t matter.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of the Miami lifestyle, a lot of Rick’s tracks play out like a movie. Will the Triple C album play out the same way?

Gun Play: Yeah, we’re just going to let it ride. We’re going to cover everything. We got everyday struggle records. We got hit records for getting crunk. We got s**t for the ladies that just ride to it. We cover every aspect. It’s “Sky Sheik.”

AllHipHop.com: Was it always planned for Rick to go big first then, bring the group up?

Gun Play: We’ve been a group for nine years strong. It’s just that it so happened that “Hustlin’” was so big that we decided that he needed to go solo. But he always kept the whole team because we had been together for so long. It was like, “We already know.” But he’s always been the boss. He wasn’t just thinking about himself. He was thinking about putting us on, too. He always treated it like it was a group.

Rick Ross: It wasn’t always about the money; I just got on first. Once I did that, we had always planned to have Triple C come next. That’s how we’re doing it.

AllHipHop.com: Miami is a melting pot of cultures and influences. How have you incorporated them into your music?

Torch: I’m from New York. We’re just diverse as a whole crew, so it’s not really that hard. When you [hear] Torch, that’s a New York angle. When you hear, Gun Play, that’s a straight gutter angle. You got Rick Ross the Boss. You already know. You got them all. That’s why we say with Triple C, you never know what you’re going to hear. All you know is that it’s going to be that fire, heroin, crack-cocaine music. It’ll get you hooked.

AllHipHop.com: Maybe that’s what Hip-Hop needs, someone to take control and guide it opposed to everyone trying to be the top dog.

Rick Ross: There are a lot of different scenarios. When you asked, “Why we talk about it,” did you know what the top ranked show in BET history was American Gangster? So, if you’re in the business and come from a gangster background, what kind of market would you want to be a part of?

AllHipHop.com: The market that’s making the money.

Rick Ross: This s**t ain’t checkers or chess. So, when you ask that question, this is where the cash is at. That’s why we do it. This is why I’m doing it. There’s always going to be real n***as doing it and it ain’t going to stop. That’s why we‘re in this market. That’s why Martin Scorsese directed, The Departed. That’s why Leonardo Dicaprio turned down 80 films in the last six years, but did, The Departed. That’s the kind of s**t that I’m on.

AllHipHop.com: You go with that avenue.

Rick Ross: Exactly, we gotta win big. That’s the kind of n***a that I am. If I’m doing [job] interviews, I want to own the company in six months. I want to own a record label in 12. I ain’t that kind of cat to just sit back. I want to take my own chances, so that at the end of the day, I can enjoy the fruits of the labor. God is the best. Rick Ross is the best. My new album is going to be the best. I said it! Everybody on it! Everyone knows that we’re the best.

AllHipHop.com: You said that you and other artists in Miami have had to struggle to come up and now it’s your time to shine, but what was it like coming up?

Gun Play: We were always on the grind. Miami cats are always on the grind. Now there are local cats that have seen us on the grind and finally get up. Now it’s like, “Oh, there’s Rick Ross!” They go crazy. It’s inspiration. Everybody is coming out of the woodwork. In general, the Miami scene is really jumping right now. Hell, now you’ve got everybody coming here.

Rick Ross: That’s what we do. We’re going to build the success. We’re going to do it big just like Port of Miami did. I’m going to sell another 400,000 and in the streets it’ll be quadruple platinum. That’s where it counts.

AllHipHop.com: What has inspired you coming up that has kept you on the hustle?

Gun Play: Check this, my mom had to work two jobs and so did my pops. They would both work two jobs and then come home and hustle on the streets. I told myself as a kid that it wouldn’t be me. By bettering myself and incorporating that struggle and all the bullshit that we had to go through to get here. I said that I’m not going back there and will do what ever it takes to bet that bank and remain rich. Me, I’ve robbed, sold all types of drugs and been shot at all that. I’m not even supposed to be here. I get on my knees and to God I pray everyday, 24 hours a day. I stay prayed up because I’m not even supposed to be here. That’s why I work so hard. That’s how it is. I stay on my P’s and Q’s.

Torch: Amen.

AllHipHop.com: I feel your passion, but there have been a lot of cats that were the same way, but once they got on, it was a different story.

Gun Play: Once you get on, when you’ve been struggling for so long or been s**t on for so long. When you finally get that chance, you’re going to appreciate it like I appreciate every inch of my 22’s on my car. I wake up every day and feel blessed because I’m able to do what I want.

Torch: You already know. The n***as that don’t appreciate the s**t is the n***as that are always hating. Now we want to make more hit records, so it’s just more money.

AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about when you were selling tapes trying to get on.

Gun Play: When we were selling tapes, yeah, cats were buying them, but when they didn’t have the money, we would just give it to them. We’d just hand them out. We’d be handing out CDs and then our stuff was getting played all over. From Miami and Tallahassee to New York. You can’t put a price on our music. Now that we’ve set the tone, everybody is together now. Everybody is a team. We’re here. Rick is giving everybody an opportunity – maybe too many now that it’s the whole city of Miami. We’re all together. Cats that were put on are putting on other cats. It’s a whole Dame Dash/Jay-Z thing. We’re eating. It’s not the year for Miami, but “the years.” It’s this one and the one after that and the one after that…this is going to have our kids’ kids’ kids eating. Generations! We got it all down on lock.

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