Rick Ross is pensive.
A lot of time when artists get this question asked to them, its not really fair because you have to take in 20 years of the best music and you only have a few seconds to answer a question. So a lot of times, you think me, I just stick to my formula and the people that influenced me. – Rick Ross
The Miami rapper has risen from his early days as a rapper with Trina and Erick Sermon to one of Hip-Hops reigning magistrates. Still, hes a bit apprehensive about naming his Top 5 rap artists as he sits in a huge conference room at Def Jam Records in Manhattan. Well, Ross did the same as this author: complied a list of the Hip-Hop icons that had the most influence on his life growing up in Carol City, Florida, of Miami. The list is wide and varies greatly. The self-proclaimed BAWSE even takes time to send some parting shots to his adversary 50 Cent.
Rick Ross: Number 5 is Luke Skywalker. He was one of the first dudes to have his own label, have his own distribution, be independent, own his masters and he did this out the gate. Pressing his vinyl in the back of his club and I respected that. I saluted Luke.
AllHipHop.com: He was very rebellious too.
Rick Ross: I love people that are rebellious and call people monkeys and all that uh and Curlys a monkey.
Big Daddy Kane
Rick Ross: Then Ima go to Number. 4 and thats Big Daddy Kane. Thats when I understood what fashion was. That was the first fly dude in rap, to me. I remember I cut school one day and went to the local game room, where they play videos on the monitors. And I remember this girl, she had on biker shorts. Back in the day, I was a kid she was older. I just looked at her like, Wow. I always remember the facial expression she made when The Symphony came on and Big Daddy Kane I looked at her and Im looking at her in the shorts. Then, Im looking at the video [on the TV] like What the f**k. And I made that connection. I started growing my flattop that day.
AllHipHop.com: What about his rapid-fire flow? You can rap fast too and a lot of people dont acknowledge that.
Rick Ross: I got different flows and thats what I love the most about these new projects, because Im showing them something different, something thats not common coming from the South. Im just competing for the throne.
Rick Ross: My number 3 emcee would be Ice Cube. I always admired Ice Cube, I always loved him. I think I loved him more when he dissed NWA.
Rick Ross: Just for the sport and the game. Its like when I was sitting there listening to it, if course I didnt think Mc Ren was going to get a gun and go kill [Ice Cube]. But just for him to drop No Vaseline. Just for him to feel like he wasnt being compensated properly and say, F**k NWA and broke off and came to New York and recorded his whole album in New York. A lot of people dont know that. Thats what made me admire Ice Cube and nine times out of 10 interviews I do, I say his name. Thats the legend that I always admired. Me being infused with people, I felt that was destined for me anyway. I just wanted to pick the biggest monkey.
“I dont just want half of the pizza. You ate enough slices beat it. When I make my business movies Ted Lucas, CEO of Slip-N-Slide Records on a personal note, I got nothing but love for him. But on a business note, you cant eat no more pizza. Its all my pizza.”
AllHipHop.com: Do you relate to Cube as you have broken off from Slip-N-Slide Records at all?
Rick Ross: Its kinda like that. But, I look at it like, its me growing as a boss. I want to eat more. I dont just want half of the pizza. You ate enough slices beat it. I want more of the pizza. And I feel like if I wasnt raised that way, I wouldnt be the boss or they wouldnt have taught me properly. When I make my business movies Ted Lucas, CEO of Slip-N-Slide Records on a personal note, I got nothing but love for him. But on a business note, you cant eat no more pizza. Its all my pizza. Go make another pizza. Thats just me being an executive, me being a boss. Thats what I try to push upon my homies that I do business with. Dont settle for less. Everyday make some s**t so hot that people gotta bring more to the table.
Tied for 1 the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac
Rick Ross: Ice Cube is number 3 coming in at Number 2 is Tupac Shakur. But, I feel like Tupac and Biggie is a tie. But, the reason why I put Pac first [in the line], because he released over 10 projects and B.I.G. did what he did with two really. I feel like they were both icons, the both pushed the envelope as far as flows. I felt like when other dudes in New York was rappin hard, trying hard, B.I.G. came, Like trees to branches, cliffs to avalanches, its the praying mantis..deep like the mind of Farrakhan He just made it so simple. Thats what made him appeal so much to the South.
“Ill never disrespect B.I.G. Even though, Im one of the first to admit my own game is to create my own vibe, but at the same time emulate the greats.”
Rick Ross: If you look at Texas culture, they sip lean the chill. In Miami, we burn green. When the music is a little slower, we gravitate to it more. Thats what made Biggie special. Wu Tang was great. Biggie was on the other end of the equator. Yall do that where the rain jackets and all that. Ive finna jump in this Lexus Land Cruiser. Ima have Faith [Evans] right here, go pick up [Lil] Kim. Thats what I always loved and thats what made me love New York City Even more.
AllHipHop.com: I recently talked to somebody from the late 80s and early-to-mid 90s era and they told me that they liked you because you were musically like the Down South version of Biggie. How do you feel about that:?
Rick Ross: When I hear that, its most definitely a compliment, but Ill never disrespect B.I.G. Even though, Im one of the first to admit my own game is to create my own vibe, but at the same time emulate the greats. When you in the hood, you dont have stylists. You dont know whats crackin. You look at the TV. [Ross looks up at imaginary TV with Biggie Smalls on it]. What that sweater is? Whats that called? Oh, thats a Coogi. S**t. I want a Coogi. Thats the simple influence. What he say he smoke in his blunts? Garcia Vega. Now I walk in the blunt store and I see a ”Let me try them s**ts. They the Biggie s**ts.” When youre a young dude, thats the way it goes. Ijust absorbed everything and tried to vibe off that.
THE SIDE BAR
AllHipHop.com: And the last part is, how do you feel you are or are on you way to being regarded as a future great?
Rick Ross: You know, me I aint big on the fame side of being in the spotlight or being on television. Im big on the music, Im big on the business, Im big on the money, but I try to be the same dude I was. I walk the same. I try to go to those same places [that I used to frequent]. As far as my status, Ima leave that to the people. I appreciate the consideration for whatever it turns out to be. But as far as me, Im just focused on what I am in control of.