Rick Ross: The AllHipHop Interview, Pt. 1

After coming into the game on the strength of a heavy street buzz and a presidential cosign from Jay-Z, Rick Ross beat the odds with the runaway success of his hit single "Hustlin." His debut, Port of Miami, went on to near platinum status and his ringtone sales were beyond a million. Not bad for a rookie season. The self-proclaimed Boss is back with a new album, Trilla, a documentary about snow in his native city called M.I.Yayo and is still delivering more features and side hustles than you can think of. Some might say Ross trying to do too much. But when you’re coming from the bottom, with hustle in your blood, too much is never enough.AllHipHop.com: With your first album you had a widely popular single, “Hustlin’”. Was there any pressure to come with a single just as big when making this second album?Rick Ross: “Hustlin’” was a big record but a lot of the songs on Port of Miami and after were big records so there wasn't really any pressure. This album I really focused. We were blessed to get close to a million sold with only two videos and was still beating up the streets with it. Now it's time to re-up. That's what we're going to do March 11th, change the game baby. AllHipHop.com: The album is entitled Trilla. What does that mean? Rick Ross: Trill is a term we been using down south. I'm sure you heard Bun B use it. Pimp C been saying that since forever. You know in the Texas/Florida panhandle, that's what we say. And I just put my twist and my spin on it. I kind of took a little from Michael Jackson's Thriller album and put that on mines and that’s how we came up with Trilla. Shout out to Bun B. That’s my uncle in the game.AllHipHop.com: Most people are familiar with the image of Miami being girls, cars, sun and all sorts of pretty things. But do you feel that artists don’t do enough for the other side of Miami where people are struggling?Rick Ross: Nah, I ain’t going to say that. I just felt like that was my position to fill. To represent the other side of the bridge, that 305, M.I.Yayo. And actually, on March 25th we’re releasing M.I.Yayo the documentary. I got over 7 million hits on the site. People been waiting for this for like two years. March is going to be a big month. Believe that. [Rick Ross On His Movie, M.I.Yayo]AllHipHop.com: What was the motivation for the movie and what can fans expect? Rick Ross: It’s just my way of paying homage to the n****s that set the trends. The G’s that showed our generation how to do it, showed us what making real paper was. They showed us that you can make an excuse about it being where you’re from or what your momma ain’t got or your daddy ain’t got. There ain’t no excuse for you letting that determine what you’re future is. So I was thinking about Kenneth “Boobie” Williams, Convertible Bert, dudes I mentioned in my rhymes and whose lives I talked about. When I say they names so many of their family members came up to me like “Ross, yo Bert love that. I was thinking the streets forgot about him.” Me just traveling outside the country and going all over the U.S. people always asking what’s up with the other side of the bridge. I mean in Dublin, Ireland and Germany. So I was like, Wow, I see what I’ve got to do. So we put the team together and started filming the documentary. We started talking to dudes and it got to a point where dudes was like, “Show me love! Put me in there!” that boosts your moral when you’re on the yard. So I said I’d go a little further putting this documentary together where I’d show a little love but also educate the people to the streets where I’m from. So when they hear me mention certain things in my records they think ,“Wow, Ross loose.” Nah, I ain’t talking imaginary s**t. When I say 100 ki’s that’s what I seen. That’s what was there, thousands. N****s was getting money. That’s what Miami was built off of. It was nothing seeing a Porsche in the hood. You already know what time it is. We grew up with that same appetite. That was going to be my final destination. In my yearbook all my teachers signed it death, ajil, or prison and all kinds of little notes like that. I went back and read my s**t and was just like wow, that’s what they thought of me. AllHipHop.com: You played sports, rapped, and were really heavy in the street life so what made you want to get into music?Rick Ross: It started with me being a fan of Ice Cube listening to AmeriKKKas Most Wanted. Buying Luke Skywalker vinyl. I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when I bought my first vinyl of his. But I not only played it I actually read the directions, read the addresses and all that. I started saying to myself, “Wow, this n***a got all these b***hes and money and it’s coming from wherever this is, from this s**t he’s doing. I was interested as a kid. I was infatuated with music from the west coast all the way to what Big Daddy Kane and them was doing in the east coast and I just absorbed it. I used to save my lunch money and that’s what I bought with it. So the older I got the more I began to realize these n****s is talking about the same s**t I see. That s**t is going on right here, n****s was shooting last night. So listening to the music I just made a connection with it. It came to a point when I was like, “I can do this.” I can tell them I seen that. I saw somebody get shot. I can say it in a song. I remember being a kid being woke up in the middle of the night because a man was beating on a woman outside. She banging on our door. They done ran through the projects the whole night and now they ended up at our door.So you get up like, “What the fuck?! Damn, he beating the s**t out of her.” And at a young age all you hear is ,“Don’t open that door. I don’t give a fuck what happens.” So it’s just certain s**t you see, certain s**t you learn and absorb growing up where you’re at. That’s what that was. “Some s**t, b***h dying outside don’t open the door.” That’s what it was.AllHipHop.com: The music scene in Miami has pretty much been limited to Luke, Trick Daddy and a couple others until recently. With the success of people like you and DJ Khaled, do you think more artists from your city are inspired to get in the game? Rick Ross: Most definitely. When you see a dude grind for ten years and make it, then keep going with it. Like I’m running with it, feel me? We got so much s**t in the oven we letting out this year it’s going to be crazy. I’m inspiring the next man. That’s what Luke, JT Money, Trick Daddy did for me. JT Money and Trick Daddy was the ones that bridged the gap from booty music to street music. So without a JT Money, Poison Clan album, without a Trick Daddy, there wouldn’t be a Rick Ross because they wouldn’t understand a n***a coming from that market. I remember when it was just all about Luke when I was first getting into music. I think the first song I wrote was called “Bird Bath.” I was talking about dope way back then. They were like, “meh.” But I was determined so I didn’t let that get me down. [Rick Ross On Jay-Z Leaving Def Jam]AllHipHop.com: A lot of people are up in the air over Jay-Z leaving his position at Def Jam. Are you nervous at all, with you being one of the artists that came in under his wing, about what’s going to happen with your project?Rick Ross: I’m going to keep it real. When it comes to the creative process of me making music I do that all on my own. I bring in whoever I wanted to do the record so Jay ain’t really have no impact on me making my music. Whatever he did over at Def Jam in these offices, I never saw what he was doing. Is that my partner? Of course. We just popped 20 bottles of Ace at my birthday last month. Me not being selfish, I’m happy for Jay. Because he opened the doors for entrepreneurs. He opened the doors for artists. He came in and became president and was successful. That just lets Rick Ross know that there’s opportunity in that in the future. Wherever he goes now hopefully it’s bigger and better. I’m a fan of his still so whatever moves he make, I know I got a partner forever. That’s what it’s about. I feel the energy at Def Jam’s pretty much the same. Jay’s still involved in my situation; he’s on speed dial for whatever so it’s still love. It ain’t like he got up and left on bad terms. I’m pretty sure if anybody wanted to touch him…you already know. Believe that.AllHipHop.com: I hear you got a lot of side ventures coming up care to discuss them?Rick Ross: I don’t sleep a lot. I believe in doing a lot of things so in the last year we’ve done a lot of hustling. We’re into real estate, got a restaurant in Miami. We got Barbe/Beauty Salons, studios. We’re doing big things like that. March 11th we’re putting out the biggest album of the year, Trilla, March 18th Flo-Rida coming out, that’s our camp. March 25th M.I.Yayo coming out. Me and Birdman got a film we did together that we’ll be filming later this year called H. It’s like a ’09 Menace to Society. DJ Khaled just wrapped up his label deal, We the Best Music/Def Jam. So we’re doing a lot of different things. We’re opening the doors for the next dudes out there grinding and coming with some big ideas and want to get some real paper. We’re organizing. In this game of Hip-Hop there ain’t no real security but with our circle that’s what we’re trying to establish. So when we say the movement, know what it is. We talking big money over here. We ain’t here for the artist dollars. We’re here for that Jay-Z money, that Lyor [Cohen] money. Believe that. AllHipHop.com: You’re using the album as a platform to launch a lot of other things. What are some standout songs you feel fans will gravitate toward?Rick Ross: “I’m Only Human.” That’s a track I really reflected on, the last track on the album. I just talked about different experiences growing up. What molded me into the person I am. It’s a special track to me. Me and Jay-Z made a record titled “Maybach Music.” That’s going to alter the game. It’s definitely going to make people respect where I’m from, let them know I’m here for the long haul. “Luxury Tax” with Lil’ Wayne, Young Jeezy and Trick. That talks about the price you’ve got to pay for living this life. The concepts...it’s just exciting man. You know how it is when you’re proud of your work. The same way I was with Port of Miami. But with Port of Miami I didn’t put as much into it as I did this because I was on tour. Then they were like wait a minute. Like, my last album I’d be in the back of the bus with a CD just writing and then recording wherever. With this album I actually sat down and collaborated with people. I really got the chance to sit down with the producers and talked with them about my rhymes and went through it with the beats to make it sound more custom and more perfect. From the intro of the album you’ll hear how I stepped it up, with all my flows. I got a little taste of success but I want more now and I know what I need to do to do it. Believe that.Rick Ross: The AllHipHop Interview, Pt. 2