With a new beginning after incarceration, Freeway Ricky Ross has made it his business to distance himself from the life he once knew.
The former drug baron is currently working on a slew of projects that are designed to educate youth as well as the general public via his experiences with the other side of the law. As reported by media sources, Ross is bringing his rise and fall in the drug game to the big screen with a proposed biopic. According to the West Coast resident, he is working to get financial backing for the Nick Cassavetes-helmed project, and rapper Snoop Dogg is already contributing to the biopic by working on the film's soundtrack.
“Right now, we’re raising funds for it. The budget came back. It was higher than what we was hoping for. So we gotta go back to raising money,” Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com. "You know we got Nick Cassavetes. He wrote it. He’s already slated to direct. We’re gonna have a meeting with Heidi Levitt. She is the one who casted [the Oscar winning film] The Artist. We’re hoping to sign her on as the casting director in the next couple of weeks if not next week.”
In addition to actor/singer Jamie Foxx, who Ross said is “highly interested” in the biopic, efforts are being made to find an actor to play Gary Webb. Webb is the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who broke the story on Freeway Ricky Ross in a series of pieces published by the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 called "Dark Alliance". In the meantime, Ross is working on a documentary titled A Crack in the System.
The film, Ross stated, will be a follow up to a recently aired documentary called Slavery by Another Name.
“We got some interesting people in this documentary,” he teased. “We got the guy that invented the crack law and me. It’s me and him sitting down on a couch. I wanted to find out why do these crack laws get so harsh compared to powder when you can’t make crack without powder. So me and him sit down and we had a heart to heart. He gave me a lot of stuff. When America see this here, me and him talk, it’s gonna go crazy. Watch and see what I tell you. Them 600,000 brothers they got locked up in jail for crack cocaine? It’s gonna go crazy. Wait til America sees what this dude say about the crack law that he invented.”
A Crack in the System is slated to come out in September or November of this year, as 85 percent of the feature has already been filmed, Ross added. A soundtrack to the documentary will also be released.
In addition to A Crack in the System, Ross’ movie ventures include The Lost Coast Tapes. Foreign rights to the completed film have been sold, stated Ross, who revealed that negotiations are underway for the domestic rights. A trailer for The Lost Coast Tapes will soon be available to see online on Freeway Ricky Ross’ Twitter and Facebook pages as well as www.freewayenterprise.com.
Soon after the release of A Crack in the System, Ross will unveil his autobiography. The page-turner, originally scheduled for a late 2011 release, is completed and set to come out when Ross deems as such.
“The book is already done. I just got it sitting on the shelf,” Freeway Ricky Ross confessed. “It’s all about timing, letting out just at the right time. Right now, I’m just waiting but the book is ready. It’s ready to go. I could put it out whenever I get ready, but I’m just waiting,”
The autobiography isn’t the only literary work Freeway Ricky Ross is penning. A book on the ex-drug dealer's recent court case involving the rapper Rick Ross is also in the works. Freeway Ricky Ross’ lawsuit against the Miami-based entertainer over the use of his name was dismissed last month by an L.A. County Superior Court judge.
“I just started writing another book about the trial, where I’m gonna explain to everybody what happened at the trial during those 90 days when we did depositions every day. Just lay it all out,” Ross explained, adding that the book will touch on how he felt during the proceedings as well as “the hand that I felt the judge had dealt.
“...the judge said she that she didn’t know if she was making the right decision, but she felt she was doing me a favor by throwing my case out and not letting it go to jury trial and then having the appeals court reverse it,” he continued while alluding to his desire to involve his legal team in writing the book. “I’mma lay that out in this new book that I’m working on right now and hopefully I can get my lawyers to help me…I want all three of my lawyers to help me because this was an experience we all experienced together.
"I want to know their side of the story as well. We thought we had this case won. Everybody did. Everybody thought we had this case won and I still don’t think that my story has been told. I still want to speak out because I ain’t gave up. I want revenge. No sense in me lying. We felt it was strong enough to win. We thought we had it. I still feel like I was cheated. But, you know, at the end of the day, it is what it is. I have to lick my wounds and get ready to appeal,” he conceded.
Moving beyond his courtroom loss, Freeway Ricky Ross spends much of his time speaking to youth about the pitfalls of his former life as a drug dealer. Although he made a lot of money and lived a lavish lifestyle, Ross maintains that the outcome of his actions were nothing to be proud of.
Knowing that many of the kids he talks to listen artists like the rapper Rick Ross, Freeway Ricky Ross is confident that the youth are able to decipher between what's true and what's false.
“These kids recognize the real. Our kids ain’t no fools…I never put myself above them or on the same level as them. I let 'em all know ‘Don’t get it twisted that I think I can compare myself to you. But what I can give you is that I experienced some things that you ain’t never experienced.’"
Communicating his past in a way that’s easy to understand, Ross admits to not sugarcoating his trials. The move was meant to provide a realistic view of how things really were for a drug dealer in Ross’ day.
“I take them from the first day that I got started…when people look at me now, they think that I was always a drug expert," he shared. "But I have to let them know that it was tricks that was played on me when I first got started. I also explain to em that the only reason I made so much money in the drug business is because I became a drug expert. I could tell you what it went for in what city. I could tell you what color they like it, what was the best time of the month to get it there what route you should be taking when you getting’ it there. When you start to know that kind of stuff about anything, then you make money.
“I try to give it to them as close as I can to the real the best that I can remember because I do have some memory lapses where there are things that I can’t remember as accurately as it could. But on the surface, I’m giving it to them raw and uncut,” added Ross. “There might be some days that change, just little stuff, but overall I want to be as real with them as I can. When you’re doing the truth, the truth is easy, but when you lying, it’s tough."