In the days since losing a court battle to Maybach Music Group rap star Rick Ross, the man whom the rhymesayer’s name is taken from is weighing in on the trend of rappers using well-known monikers to enhance their images.
Speaking with AllHipHop.com, Freeway Ricky Ross said he believes entertainers are selling themselves short by not using their own names. In his eyes, MCs should capitalize on being their own person.
“The way I look at it is a man wants to make his own name, and he wants to be his own man,” the former drug kingpin stated. “With me, I never wanted to be nobody else. There’s people that I admired, but I never wanted to be them or to take their name and their likeness and claim it as mine. I always wanted to be my own man and do things my own things my own way.
“I think that by not using your own name, you don’t represent yourself,” continued Freeway Ricky Ross. “It’s like you’re kind of representing somebody else, kind of like getting a boost. I guess it’s really nothing wrong with that if that’s the kind of person you are. People use that all the time to get in the business. They are seen with somebody else, ‘That’s such and such’s boy’ or ‘That’s such and such’s girl.’ I guess some people need that to get the doors open for them. I guess at the end of the day, getting in is the most important thing to a lot of people, but for me I never wanted to be nobody’s boy. I always wanted to be the man…if you got the skills it’s gonna show.”
Ross’ comments come after a lengthy public battle with the rapper Rick Ross. In March, an L.A. County Superior Court judge dismissed Freeway Ricky Ross’ lawsuit against the entertainer’s use of his name. The ruling marked the second time Freeway Ricky Ross has lost in court concerning the situation.
Looking back on the proceedings, Freeway Ricky Ross maintains he was the victim of a corrupt legal system.
“This is a corrupt society. It’s about the haves and the have nots. And right now, with my current financial position, I’m not in a position of power financially,” he shared. “Universal Music Group. It’s a billion dollar company. They’re one of the strongest corporations in this country. People can be bought. Judges and politicians and everybody. This is what I feel happened. It was done on a technicality and the issue is still not resolved in my mind. How can somebody be allowed to trample over somebody’s rights?”
Although he is a fan of rap music, Freeway Ricky Ross is not a fan of what’s currently keeping listeners’ attention.
“I’m definitely a rap fan, but not necessarily the current rap. I think the rappers went too far. It went from being a regular message to now, to where now it’s all about spitting in the people’s face, You know, whose car is the biggest. I can go to the club and take your girl. I got more money than you, my clothes are better than yours,” he said.
“What I learned is that clothes don’t make the man. You could take a bum and put him on an Armani suit, but up under that costume is still a bum, because it’s not the clothes, it’s the mind that determines who the man is. It’s his actions that decide who the man is. Not the car that he drives. Not the shoes that he has on. Not the woman that he’s with. None of those really matter because none of those are gonna define who you really are. On the outside, people might look and say ‘Oh man! Look at that there,’ but the inside is trash. And then you could take a guy and he could be a bum. He could look like a bum, but then on the inside he could have the inside of a prince. He could be thinking like a king.”
As for who’s on his rap radar, Freeway Ricky Ross cites new up and coming artists, more so than popular music makers. Among those entertainers are Paris Montgomery, an artist Ross says is bringing a different vibe to the rap scene.
“He’s a musical genius, I think. I’ve been in the studio with a lot of people since I’ve been home…I’ve just been in the studio with so many of them, but I ain’t never seen nobody that can take a song like this kid man. Everybody that I take him and put him in the studio with, he takes their music and just makes magic out of it …he’s gonna be the one to put the West Coast back on…in a smooth way, talking that real and his music is dope. He’s the whole package. I’m really excited to be managing him. I’m just fortunate he came to me.”
In addition to Montgomery, Freeway Ricky Ross is looking for “talented people” to help work on an album he is putting together.
“Just anybody that’s talented that want to get their music out,” he said. “I really don’t want people that’s already signed. I really want new people.”