Rick Ross in 2008.
|Birth name||William Leonard Roberts II|
January 28, 1976 |
Coahoma County, Mississippi
|Origin||Carol City, Florida|
|Labels||Maybach Music Group, Def Jam|
|Associated acts||Maybach Music Group, Triple C's, DJ Khaled, Diddy, Jay-Z, Birdman, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Trick Daddy, French Montana, Wale, Drake, John Legend, T-Pain|
William Leonard Roberts II (born January 28, 1976), known by his stage name Rick Ross (often stylized as RICK RO$$), is an American hip hop recording artist. Ross founded the record label Maybach Music Group, on which he released his studio albums Deeper Than Rap (2009) Teflon Don (2010) and God Forgives, I Don't (2012). Ross was also the first artist signed to Diddy's management company Ciroc Entertainment. In early 2012, MTV named Ross as the Hottest MC In The Game.
Life and career
Early life and career beginnings
William Leonard Roberts II was born in Coahoma County, Mississippi, and raised in Carol City, Florida, near Miami, Florida. After graduating from Miami Carol City Senior High School, he later attended the historically black college Albany State University on a football scholarship. He derived his stage name from the drug trafficker "Freeway" Rick Ross, to whom he has no connection. Ross worked as a correctional officer for 18 months between December 1995 until his resignation in June 1997.
After being signed to Suave House Records, former label for rap duo 8Ball & MJG, he eventually signed a deal with Slip-n-Slide Records, which has been under the Def Jam umbrella since 2006. While signed to Slip-n-Slide, Ross toured with fellow rapper Trick Daddy and made guest performances on other Slip-n-Slide albums.
2006–08: Port of Miami and Trilla
His debut album Port of Miami was released in August 2006 and debuted at the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart, with sales at 187,000 units after its first week. Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone magazine predicted that it would be "the summer's biggest rap record". The second single was "Push It", which samples "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)", the theme song off the gangster film Scarface. The music video for "Push It" was modeled after the film. During that time, Ross made guest performances on two singles from DJ Khaled's debut Listennn... the Album: "Born-N-Raised" and "Holla at Me". Port of Miami received Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America on November 8, 2006.
In March 2008, his second album Trilla was released and, as its predecessor Port of Miami had, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. Its lead single "Speedin'" featuring R. Kelly peaked at #121 on the Billboard Hot 100; the next one, "The Boss" featuring T-Pain peaked at #17 on the Hot 100. The third single "Here I Am" featured Nelly and Avery Storm. MTV News ranked Ross on the fourth spot in its 2008 "Hottest MCs In The Game" list among ten rappers. The fourth single "This Is The Life" featured Trey Songz and was released in July.
2009–10: Deeper Than Rap and Teflon Don
I look at the game and the business and all different aspects, it's a lot of great lyricists on the corner that will never properly understand the business and know how to market themselves and get in a position where they can gain capital. I look at all the strategies people use and what made them successful. What made Birdman just as relevant today after selling 50 million records? That intrigues me. To see the class of Jay-Z, his accomplishments and see how he sits backs and accurately makes his moves.
A track from the album called "Valley of Death" was what stood out to MTV reporters. In the song, Ross speaks briefly on his controversial stint as a prison guard. "Keep it trilla, nigga, never had a gun and badge," which he stresses, leaving the word that he was indeed an officer of the law. "Kept a nice watch, smoking on a hundred sack/ Back in the day I sold crack for some nice kicks/ Skippin' school, I saw my friend stabbed with an ice pick/ Can't criticize niggas trying to get jobs/ Better get smart, young brother, live yours." Later, he implies that while he was working as a corrections officer, he was on the streets. "Only lived once and I got two kids/ And for me to feed them, I'll get two gigs," he raps. "I'll shovel shit, I'll C.O./ So we can bow our heads and pray over the meatloaf." Although, he still provided no explanation for lying about being a C.O. to begin with, nor did he explain why he failed to pay child support for his children.
The cover of the May 2009 issue of XXL magazine, titled "Rick Ross Up in Smoke", featured Ross wearing a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. After publication, a spokesperson for the luxury-goods maker contacted XXL to inform them that Ross was sporting fake sunglasses in the cover image. It was later revealed that the rapper was wearing authentic Louis Vuitton sunglasses which were altered by Jacob Bernstein, known as "The Sunglass Pimp". Bernstein defended his customizations despite Louis Vuitton's insistence that such modification and resale of trademarked property is not legal.
Rick Ross released his fourth studio album entitled Teflon Don, which was released on July 6, 2010. The lead is "Super High" featuring Ne-Yo. Actress Stacey Dash made an appearance in the music video. A second official single was released titled "Live Fast, Die Young" which features and is produced by Kanye West. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 selling 176,000 copies in its first week.
In November 2010, rapper and frequent collaborator, Diddy, who in 2009 signed Ross to a management deal with his Ciroc Entertainment, announced from his YouTube account, that him and Ross are working on an EP together, which is going to be released in 2011.[dated info] A single has been released for the project, called "Another One".
2011–present: God Forgives, I Don't and Mastermind
Ross' fifth studio album, God Forgives, I Don't, was originally scheduled to be released on December 13, 2011, though it was later delayed to July 31, 2012. He premiered two singles from the album, "You the Boss" and "I Love My Bitches", though they were not featured on the official tracklisting. Upon its release, the album charted at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart and number 2 on the UK R&B Albums Chart, making it Ross's highest-charting album and first top 10 album in the United Kingdom. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 218,000 copies. Ross premiered four songs: "So Sophisticated" featuring Meek Mill, "Touch'N You" featuring Usher, "Hold Me Back", and "3 Kings" featuring Dr. Dre and Jay-Z. Rick Ross was nominated by The Source as its "Man of the Year".
As of December 2012, he is working on his sixth studio album. On January 7, 2013, he revealed the title of his sixth album to be Mastermind. The album is set to be released in 2013. The first promotional single from the album would come in the form of "Box Chevy" which was released to iTunes on February 15, 2013. The music video was filmed on April 1, 2013 and features cameos from MMG members Gunplay, Stalley and Rockie Fresh.
During 2008 it was announced Ross was set to release a collaboration album with his long-time friend Birdman titled The H, but after that no information on the album was released.  On May 16, 2013 Birdman and Rick Ross announced that The H would be released as a mixtape hosted by DJ Khaled on May 23, 2013. The project was recorded during a couple days in 2008.
Correctional officer photos
In July 2008, The Smoking Gun produced details linking Ross' social security number to an 18-month stint as a correctional officer at the South Florida Reception Center, along with a photograph first publicized by Media Take Out purporting to be Ross in his correctional officer uniform. Ross initially denied that the photograph was of him; but after overwhelming evidence of his past came into the public's eye, Ross later admitted that he did work as a correctional officer in Florida during the early 1990s. In a 2008 interview with AllHipHop.com, "Freeway" Ricky Ross, claimed offense that Roberts used his name and identity when he learned that The Smoking Gun posted documents revealing Roberts' previous employment as a Florida correctional officer.
On October 14, 2011 Rick Ross suffered two seizures in the same day, once in the morning and once again early evening. Following the morning seizure, he was unconscious and CPR was being performed. He did, however, post a video to his Twitter account later in the day saying that he was OK. Ross boarded another plane later in the day and suffered another seizure. On October 14, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital confirmed that Ross had been admitted to the emergency room. TMZ, who first reported the seizure, updated their story originally posted at 4:45 PST, stating that Ross was in stable condition.
On January 27, 2013, while celebrating his 37th birthday, Ross and his girlfriend were the targets of a drive-by shooting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Neither Ross nor his girlfriend were hurt but they ended up crashing into an apartment.
In January 2008, Ross was arrested on gun and marijuana charges. During a deposition of Officer Rey Hernandez, a Miami Beach cop who arrested Ross, Ross's lawyer, Allan Zamren, asked Hernandez why Ross’s case was assigned to the gang task force. The officer stated that it was because Ross claimed affiliation with Carol City Cartel and other known gang members. Zamren then pressed Hernandez for a personal link between Ross and the gang members, but ultimately one could not be established.
In August 2008, YouTube entertainer DJ Vlad filed a lawsuit against Ross for assault and battery. Vlad claimed Ross organized an ambush on him at the 2008 Ozone Awards in Houston, Texas for asking questions about his past as a correctional officer.
On June 18, 2010, "Freeway" Ricky Ross sued Rick Ross for using his name, filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in a California Federal Court. Jay-Z had been called to testify in the lawsuit, as he was CEO of Def Jam when Ross/Roberts was signed. The reformed drug kingpin was looking for 10 million dollars in the lawsuit. Also, the release of his album, Teflon Don, was threatened to be blocked by Freeway Ricky Ross. A week after the filing of the lawsuit, Rick Ross responded to the charges: "It’s like owning a restaurant, you’re gonna have a few slip and falls. You get lawsuits, you deal with them, and get them out your way…sometimes you lose." He then denied rumors that he would change his name to "Ricky Rozay" as a consequence of the lawsuit. The lawsuit was thrown out of court on July 3, 2010 and his album, Teflon Don, was released on July 20 as scheduled. In 2011 the rapper Teflon Don filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Ross for the use of the name as an album title.
On March 26, 2011, Ross was arrested in Shreveport for possession of marijuana. According to the police records, a strong odor of marijuana was detected from his room at the Hilton in Downtown Shreveport.
Feud with 50 Cent
In January 2009, Ross started a feud with rapper 50 Cent because he supposedly looked at him the wrong way at the BET Awards. 50 Cent told news sources that he did not remember seeing Ross there. In late January, "Mafia Music", by Ross, leaked onto the Internet. There were several lines that seemed to diss 50 Cent. Days later, 50 Cent released "Officer Ricky (Go Head, Try Me)" in response to Ross's disparaging remarks on his "Mafia Music" song.
Before going to Venezuela, 50 Cent uploaded a video entitled "Warning Shot," wherein he stated: "Rick Ross- I'mma fuck your life up for fun." In addition, 50 Cent released the first of a series of "Officer Ricky" cartoons. Early in February, 50 Cent once again made a video which he uploaded to YouTube in which he interviewed "Tia", the mother of one of Ross's children. She verifies that he was a correctional officer and claims his whole persona is fake and fraudulent. On Thursday, February 5, 2009, Game, who 50 Cent has a long-standing "beef" with, called up Seattle R&B station KUBE. When asked about the beef between 50 Cent and Ross, Game sided with 50 Cent and said that things are not looking good for Ross. He offered to help, stating, "Rick Ross, holla at your boy, man," and, "50 eating you, boy." On his album Deeper Than Rap, Ross references 50 Cent in the song "In Cold Blood". A video for the song was released that portrayed 50 Cent's mock funeral. Upon release, Ross stated that he has ended 50 Cent's career. That same day Ross released a new diss track called "Push 'Em Over The Edge". The next day 50 Cent released the controversial video "A Psychic Told Me", dissing DJ Khaled. On February 12, 50 Cent responded with "Tia Told Me", along with Lloyd Banks' response "Officer Down" and Tony Yayo's "Somebody Snitched".
In an interview, 50 Cent said Ross is "Albert From CB4. You ever seen the movie? He's Albert," he added. "It never gets worse than this. You get a guy that was a correctional officer come out and base his entire career on writing material from a drug dealer's perspective."
On January 30, 2013, 50 Cent claimed via Twitter that the drive-by shooting that Ross experienced on his birthday two days ago was "staged," reigniting the feud.
In a line on rapper Rocko's song "U.O.E.N.O.", Rick Ross raps the line, "Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it." A petition containing 72,000 signatures was presented to Reebok, demanding they drop Ross as a spokesman for the lyrics which appeared to condone date rape. Ross has apologised for the lyrics, claiming they weren't about rape. He was dropped by Reebok on April 11, 2013. A Ross concert organized by the student association of Carleton University was cancelled after protests that his lyrics promote 'rape culture'. Rocko later dropped the Rick Ross verse in order to get radio play. Sources say that he is afraid to appear on VH1 Behind the Music for fear of his past and persona being exposed.
- Port of Miami (2006)
- Trilla (2008)
- Deeper Than Rap (2009)
- Teflon Don (2010)
- God Forgives, I Don't (2012)
- Mastermind (2013)
|2008||Days of Wrath||Film||G Dogg|
|2013||Liberty City: The American Dream||Film||Francois||Post-production|
|2008-2012||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Television||Himself||Musical Guest|
|2009||Late Show with David Letterman||Television|
|2009-2010||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Television|
|2010||Freaknik: The Musical||Television||Big Uzi||Voice; TV Movie|
|2013||Magic City||Television||Butterball||Season 2|
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- "XXL Presents… Hip-Hop’s 10 Greatest Ghostwriters [Poll]". XXL (New York). Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- 35. The P.O.D. f/ Rick Ross and Trick Daddy "Something's Going On" (2001) — The 50 Best Miami Rap Songs | Complex
- "Rick Ross: #1 Hottest MC In The Game". Rap Radar. 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- Birth certificate of William Roberts (Rick Ross) as scanned by The Smoking Gun
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- Rick Ross Is 'Competing For The Throne' With Deeper Than Rap, mtv.com
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- "Best Male Hip Hop Artist | BET Awards". BET. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
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- celebpromoter. "Ricky Ross Premieres 2 New Songs from God Forgives I Don’t". Celebpromoter.com. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- Rick Ross Named The Source's Man Of The Year
- Rick Ross Renews With Diddy’s Ciroc Vodka | AllHipHop.com
- Horowitz, Steven (7 January 2013). "Rick Ross Announces Title Of Sixth Studio Album". HipHopDX. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- Reid, Shaheem (May 23, 2008). "T.I. Tests Himself As A Producer". Mixtape Monday. MTV News.
- "Despite denials, records show rap star worked as corrections officer". July 21, 2008.
- Reid, Shaheem (July 22, 2008). "Rick Ross Reaffirms Gangster Past In New Freestyle, Despite Report That He Worked As Prison Guard". MTV News. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- Burgess, Omar (October 7, 2008). "Rock Ross Admits Correctional Officer past". Hip Hop DX. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- Freeway Ricky Ross: Name Check – AllHipHop.com
- Screw Rick Ross – TheSmokingGun.com
- "Rick Ross' Own Lawyer De-Values". Highbridnation.com. February 10, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- Kaufman, Gil (August 15, 2008). "DJ Vlad Files $4 Million Lawsuit Against Rick Ross Over Alleged Ozone Awards Beatdown". MTV News.
- Harling, Danielle. "Freeway Rick Ross files lawsuit". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Strong, Bostick, Nolan, Octavia. "Rapper Rick Ross Gets Legal Victory, Replies To $10 Mil Lawsuit". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Johnson, Bill. "Freeway Ricky Ross’ Lawsuit Against Rick Ross Thrown Out". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- "Freeway Exclusive: Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Def Jam Named In Infringement Lawsuit by Teflon Don". 29 August 2011.
- Ramirez, Erika (29 August 2011). "Rick Ross, DJ Khaled & More Being Sued for 'Teflon Don' Name".
- Clemons, Tracy (March 26, 2011). "Rapper and NFL star separately arrested in Shreveport". ksla.com. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "How feud Started Rick Ross and 50 Cent". Vide.com. February 7, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
- HipHopDX.com – 50 Cent – Interviews Rick Ross' Baby Mama. HipHopDX.com. Accessed February 2, 2008.
- Game Takes Sides In 50 Cent
- Rick Ross Buries 50 Cent In 'Cold Blood'
- 50 Cent Says Rick Ross Is ‘Gusto From CB4′, Laughs Off Ross’ Sales Predictions BallerStatus.com
- Sieczkowski, Cavan (January 30, 2013). "50 Cent Claims Rick Ross Shooting Was 'Staged'". http://www.huffingtonpost.com/celebrity/.
- "Rick Ross rape lyric apology not accepted". 3 News NZ. April 5, 2013.
- "RICK ROSS REEBOK GIVES RAPPER THE BOOT". TMZ. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Rocko replaces Rick Ross rap". 3 News NZ. April 12, 2013.
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