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Rick Ross: Pusherman

Rick Ross’ album got pushed back to February ’08 but it’s only giving him more time to preach his gospel of the hustle.Not many rappers can attest to getting a cosign from Jay Hova, moving over a million units, and becoming the first artist to attain platinum status off the strength of ring tone sales, in his rookie year with no more than two official singles released. With the aforementioned accomplishments, Rick Ross has earned his self-proclaimed title as The Boss. Ross flexes his muscle in every arena he chooses to enter with his hustle.With a year in the game, a sneaker with Dwyane Wade, and a documentary slated for release next year, Ross has a lot more to say. From moving weight to moving units, the struggle of fatherhood, and building an empire with Jay-Z by his side, Ross let’s AllHipHop.com in on his world, while giving us a brief overview of his upcoming sophomore release, Trilla; now set for a February ‘08 release.AllHipHop.com:  What’s the deal with the album?Rick Ross: It’s the hardest album of the year. I titled it Trilla. You know that’s realer than the fake, and I fed off that Michael Jackson Thriller a little bit. That’s where the idea first came from; being that that was like the first piece of vinyl my mom ever gave me when I was real young. I just remember the impact it had on me then. AllHipHop.com:  So what are some of the topics you’re speaking on this go-round? Still rapping about drugs, hustling and money?Rick Ross: You know I could never change that.  That’s just me.  And of course I gotta continue to motivate the people that are similar to The Boss; you know what I’m saying?  But on this album I also talk about being a Black parent, and trying to be the best father you can. Still caught up in that struggle at the same time, but it’s definitely going to raise a lot of eyebrows. The name of that record is titled “I’m Only Human.” I got my partner Rodney on the chorus. It’s just one of those real heartfelt records. It’s similar to the song “It’s My Time” on the first record, where I talk about the down side to life; you know what I’m saying? AllHipHop.com:  Yeah. It’s funny though. When rappers are popping bottles, living in mansions and shaking hands with the president, do you really think rapping about the streets is still relevant?Rick Ross: But what you have to realize is, when somebody’s been doing something in the street their whole life, one album ain’t gonna just change that immediately. I’m an example.  My album was real successful, but all my affiliations are still the same. I’m not that detached, you know what I’m saying? Now when you’re on the fifth album and there are so many other things you’re doin’, that’s going to be the same.  But for an artist like me, the streets come with me. Now they have jobs with me. That side ain’t never gonna go nowhere. You just work for the best. AllHipHop.com:  Most people are familiar with your Miami upbringing, but how has it affected the person you are, the artist you are?Rick Ross: I think it was the best place for The Boss to grow up at. We grew up in a low-income house, so my mom was at work a lot, but I still saw the beautiful side to it. As a child, you can grow up in the hood, but you can ride ten minutes in Miami and see some of the most breathtaking views in the world. So it just inspired me to want more at a young age. I believe my city had a lot to do with that, my lifestyle, the water, condominiums, cars, the weather. All that had a lot to do with the way I dress, the way I feel, the way I act, and how I talk.AllHipHop.com: We spoke a little about your debut album, Port of Miami, earlier.  When that album was released last year, you actually said you felt it was comparable to [Jay-Z’s] Reasonable Doubt or [Notorious BIG’s] Ready to Die. How so? Rick Ross:  Meaning, I see longevity. When I said that, I just looked at the empires that Jay-Z built.  I looked at the empires that Death Row built. I just looked at all of the greatest eras of Hip-Hop. And to me, as a fan, that’s when Hip-Hop was at its strongest point, when I could turn on the TV and not just see Snoop Dogg, but see Tupac on his side, Dr. Dre, Michel’e, and The Dogg Pound. It was exciting to me when I saw BIG and P. Diddy, and Mase and The Lox, because I could see longevity. I mean, you could still see Jadakiss in their now. So when I planted that seed, as far as my first album Port of Miami, I was just trying to give my fans that same vision. So when they see Rick Ross and they see DJ Khaled and they see Triple C, they see longevity too.AllHipHop.com: True. Well before there was Rick Ross and DJ Khaled, there was Trick Daddy, who recently signed to Def Jam Records.  Did you have a hand in that?Rick Ross: You already know.  When I was talking to Trick and he was getting’ his opportunity, tellin’ me he wanted to be a free agent and all of that, I just told him, “Man, whatever you do, just make the biggest move ever.” He’s on my new album. He just gave me a record for his new album. So I’m happy.  It ain’t nobody better I’d rather ride with, you feel me?  You might see a few more over there soon. Believe that.AllHipHop.com: That’s what’s up. When you first stepped out there, there was this huge association between you and Jay, in that Jay sort of took you under his wing.  What’s you guys’ relationship really like?Rick Ross: I’m gonna keep it real.  Jay, that’s my homie. And it’s like, I still have nothing but the utmost respect for him as a business man. I know the difference.  I know how to walk that line.  And the reason I say that is because anytime I bring a proposition to him, it’s not just a business meeting.  Or when I finally find records, I be like “Jay, I need you to f*ck with this.” Like “Maybach Music” the record he is on, on this album [Trilla], he asked for that session right there, and we just chopped it up. Not only did he spit on the record, he did a chorus on the record, you know what I’m saying?  That was without me even asking. That’s just that relationship right there.  That’s something money can’t buy. And still, I respect him to the utmost, and he knows he got a little gangsta right here that’s ready to ride for whatever. AllHipHop.com:  You mentioned Jay and your boy Rodney, but are there any more features on the album? Rick Ross: Oh yeah. We got the biggest features on the biggest album. On the last album I was able to travel and do so many shows in so many hoods.  I was in hoods ya’ll never heard of. I was in places that won’t even show up on Mapquest. Jay took me out on the international tour also, so I was able to see [a lot of places]. I just wanted to take some of that, and put some collaborations together that was going to make this album that much more memorable. So of course on one record I wanted to do something for the streets, which was Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Young Jeezy, and Lil’ Wayne all on one record. It’s called “Luxury Tax.” It’s about the price we pay living that life. Me and T-Pain collaborated on a record titled “Boss,” strictly for parkin’ lot pimpin’. [laughs] Jay-Z of course with “Maybach Music.” Akon came in with the production side. I got Marsha Ambrosius, from Floetry. She sounds like she crying on this record for me. I just took my time and collaborated on this album, ’cause the streets don’t need another mixtape right now. They need a classic album. AllHipHop.com: Okay.  Doing it big I see.  Now what’s this about a film you have coming out, similar to Cocaine Cowboys?Rick Ross:  Right, right.  That’s hittin’ the streets in January and it’s titled M.I. Yayo. It’s basically a countdown of the ten biggest hustlers to ever walk my streets. It’s similar to the Larry Davis story, just you f*ckin’ around with ten Larry Davis’. One of them happened to be my partner, Kenneth Reeves, he was a dude who really inspired me on a street level, being independent, going to the studio, making music, back when I was writin’ rhymes, just thinking about being in there. Right now he’s serving seven life sentences.  That inspired me to really put it together, because so many young dudes’ lives are lost to the system and they’re forgotten.A lot of times I would rap about it.  You might hear a reference to someone in my records, like on “Hustlin’,” and that’s because I want these dudes to know they aren’t forgotten.  So I said let’s take it to the greatest extent, and get all these dudes together to get a visual.  We’ll get the real story.  I told them don’t tell me nothing we don’t need to know. And we just decided to make it into a documentary. AllHipHop.com: Do you think it’s safe to say that Miami is the next haven for Hip-Hop?Rick Ross: Absolutely.  It’s obvious. [laughs] And it aint just being arrogant and cocky. Miami is just such a beautiful place. And music is growing, and people want to work where it’s beautiful at, you know what I’m saying? Actors, actresses, and directors even; they want to ride with their tops down on Christmas too. I’m up here in New York now, and it’s freezing. That’s why I’m all extra hoarse. In Miami we wear short sets on Christmas, and we let our chains swing, and we put candy on our cars. You know, the studio’s so quiet and they don’t get shot up, and the ladies are so thick, and the weed’s so green.  Why wouldn’t you want to be there? It’s the home of Rick Ross and DJ Khaled.  We the best. AllHipHop.com: Finish this statement.  Rick Ross is…Rick Ross: The boss of business, and I’m looking for all the little Gs that’s in this business so we can do business. We the business. Yeah! That’s my new slogan. Not “we the best,” but “we the business.”

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