With rappers being churned out like products on an assembly line, its increasingly difficult for an emerging lyricists to get a fair shake. Somehow, through his hustle, Rick Ross of Miami was able to garner the attention of Jay-Z and Def Jam by way of Slip-N-Slide Records. Rick currently enjoys the popularity of street smash “Hustlin’” and expects to drop a timeless album in the fall of 2006.
Through his life, there were many instances when Rick could have fallen in the many pitfall of the streets, but he’s emerged more prosperous than ever. The lyricist also possesses a keen awareness existence beyond the streets, although its not the focal point of his lyrical legacy. A 12-year student of Hip-Hop, Rick Ross is crest of rap’s next wave. Get to know the Miami rapper as he speaks on his rise, his struggle, and how its actually time for a new hustle.
AllHipHop.com: What got you started rapping, ‘cause I know like 12 years is pretty long time.
Rick Ross: Just being a fan of the game, you know what I’m sayin’? Being a fan of the game. Being the elementary school big fan of Ice Cube. Then to see what Luke did locally, you know. He planted the seed in my head when I was in elementary school right there.
AllHipHop.com: Did you listen to the Bass music and stuff?
Rick Ross: Yeah, yeah. You know I was a big fan of Luke Skywalker back then. The whole Miami music scene, you know that’s what it was. It was Bass then, so me being the kid, that was right up my alley.
AllHipHop.com: How has the scene there changed for you, since?
Rick Ross: Yeah, yeah, you know, the music is just evolving it. It slowed down a little bit. You know what I’m sayin’? And it ain’t really based on the booty no more. Now it’s a little more rhythm, you know? I like myself [some] Trick Daddy.
AllHipHop.com: How did you come to Def Jam via Slip-N-Slide?
Rick Ross: [Click here to listen] Well, you know, we sat down with Jay [Def Jam president Shawn Carter] and ultimately, he put the best offer on the table, you know, and like I said I’m a fan of his and I love the machine [of Def Jam]. And love what they’ve been doing over there-period.
AllHipHop.com: So how did you get on Jay-Z’s radar in the first place?
Rick Ross: You know [I] been hustling – you know what I’m sayin’? Rick Ross, I’ve been doing my thug business for a while now, but you know once I dropped that record “Hustlin’”, you deal with what it did.
AllHipHop.com: I had heard that joint before I even knew it was you. Can you speak on that song a little bit? Like you know, it’s kind of self-evident but, maybe somebody that hasn’t heard it, what does it represent?
Rick Ross: Well, it’s representing – it’s Miami street life. Carroll City Cartel, you know? The whole 305 [Miami]. I’m shoutin’ out a lot of key players that rolled us through the ranks in the streets. A couple of ‘em doing life right now, so you know it’s like a tribute record. Like the hustlers’ anthem. That’s what we doing down here. We hustling.
AllHipHop.com: How did you escape when some others didn’t?
Rick Ross: I can’t even say I escaped yet. Maybe ask me that in 20 years– right now, shit, I’m still out here, man. You know, s**t don’t change, so I did just like anybody else. I knew I was on thin ice the whole time, but I stayed focused.
AllHipHop.com: Are you still out in the streets like that? I mean, you don’t want to get caught up before you get –
Rick Ross: No, of course not. Of course not. That’s the nightmare. I won’t wish this s**t up on nobody. N***as gotta do what they gotta do.
AllHipHop.com: What did you mean when you said “Noriega owes me favors”? [Manuel "Manolo" Noriega, the Panamanian military leader who was tried and convicted for drug trafficking. He resides in a Miami federal prison]? What does that mean?
Rick Ross: Noriega owe a hundred favors, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s just like, you know, I kick it with [Pablo] Escobar nephew. He live down here. That’s my n***as, you know what I’m sayin’? So I just meant like, you know, real ties with real n***as. That’s what that meant. I don’t know Noriega personally, but I know n***as who have met Noriega. I know n***as who was in federal prison two, three cells down from Noriega. You know what I’m sayin’? And when I talk to them, I let ‘em know you know that’s something I meant to ‘em in the movies. I’m into s**t like that. So I’m gonna stand to that. That’s all that means.
AllHipHop.com: All right. You think you might do joint with the Def Jam Noreaga now that you are in the same building?
Rick Ross: Well, you know, me and Noreaga, we done smoked a blunt out here on Miami Beach. But you know, ain’t no telling, whatever.
AllHipHop.com: New York recently had a huge drug bust, where they were transportin’ through dogs and stuff like that. Do you think that it’s time for a new hustle?
Rick Ross: [Click here to listen] Oh, it’s most definitely. It’s always time for a new hustle. Anything that it’ll keep a young brother off the streets and with his family is most definitely time to do that and that’s for everybody. Especially street cats, you know. But we in a whole nother system, man, you know what I’m sayin’? That’s a whole nother conversation. Long as we in this system, we in America, that’s just how it is. We are minorities. You know what I’m sayin’? We’re minorities. So, you know, n***as ball, we hustle – Bush hustling now. He’s taking all and the s**t going up higher and higher.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah. What do you – you know, are you aware of these types of factors that go on in the overall drug situation? Like even that it goes beyond the streets and things like that?
Rick Ross: Well, I just deal what’s in front of me, man, you know what I’m sayin’?
Rick Ross: It’s always a lot of factors that you gonna know about and recognize, but you know if that’s not on your plate, you let that be whether you know, let it do what it do, man.
AllHipHop.com: Has anybody ever said you sound similar to Young Jeezy? Have you ever heard that?
Rick Ross: No.
AllHipHop.com: Okay. I mean, I don’t think it’s too evident, but I guess maybe the vocal tone is some – you know, slowed down a little bit, just ‘cause I’m not used to used to hearing that style out of Miami.
Rick Ross: Well, I’ve been doing this for a decade.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of the album, who do you think will be on the album – people like Trina be on there?
Rick Ross: Well, you know Trina – that’s like my little sister, but I ain’t sure. It depends on the placement for the record. I don’t really see how the sound of my overall album [will] be by the time I’m getting’ to that point. So, but you can look for Jay-Z. You could look for Young Jeezy and then you could ask me [if we sound alike] after you hear the record.
Rick Ross: You know what I’m sayin’? So, yeah, I’m gonna recap – do a few n***as I look forward to working with Pimp C, UGK. Yeah. I mean it’s like that. Triple C, Carroll City Cartel. I’m gonna put a classic together. I’m gonna take my time and put a classic together. I’m like halfway, dude.
AllHipHop.com: Right. Right. I feel you. So when you was coming up, did you look towards anybody else, other than like say Luke and people in that area? I know you mentioned –
Rick Ross: Most definitely. Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane. I was a big fan of Big Daddy Kane and that whole Marley Marl s**t, and Public Enemy ,and you know what I’m sayin’ – I’m real diversified in that and I always loved, you know what I’m sayin’, s**t from other places – [I’m a big] E-40 big fan.
AllHipHop.com: That’s dope. E-40 is about to do it, I think.
Rick Ross: Yeah, that’s my n***a, right there. I just talked to him over the phone like a week ago.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think about Hip-Hop in general or rap music or whatever? Like it seems like more and more street shit is coming into the game, whether it be like the bus arrived shootin’ in or even stuff like say BMF. Like what’s your views on that?
Rick Ross: [Click here to listen] Well, you know, that’s where I’ll always be a small part of the game, but you know that those kinda incidents represent such a small percentage that. A lot of times the media, they make it what they want, but that’s a part of the game. It’s a lot of street niggers trying to wash their hands and you ain’t mad at ‘em It’s gonna be that. But at the same time, that’s going on in every facet of the life – from Enron on down.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think we get a different rap based on the color of our skin color?
Rick Ross: Of course. That’s just – that’s the game. That’s what I was saying. You know, this is America. You know, you see the whole Irv Gotti incident, [where] crackers spend a lot of money, and none of this s**t sticks. Where was the weapons of mass destruction? You know what I’m sayin’? They put Irv up for two, three years and then find no weapons of mass destruction.
AllHipHop.com: How do you – you got a good street joint right now. How do you expect to take it to the commercial levels, which is needed? And you know to really make it in this game right now, you need the masses to buy those records. How hard it that going to be for you?
Rick Ross: It’s how hard are they gonna want come get this Rick Ross s**t. ‘Cause I’m gonna give ‘em what they need for the people who need it. You know what I’m sayin’? So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna do what I’ve been doin’, I’m just gonna turn it up another notch to something a little richer and I’m in a little better mood and I’m a little more hungrier I guess you could say. I’m gonna just keep doing what I’m doing and keep serving you know, who I’ve been serving and get a few more customers, so my clientele grows.
AllHipHop.com: What was the first thing you bought with your advance money?
Rick Ross: I ain’t even really spent my advance money yet. I can’t front man, I’m kind of comfortable. Now, I’m just more comfortable. I already have five [cars]. Word up kid, 745 white on white. That’s Rick Ross.
AllHipHop.com: Okay. So this ain’t nothing new to you.
Rick Ross: Come on, man. It’s Rick Ross, man, Rick Ross.