Real Name: William Leonard Roberts II
D.O.B.: January 28, 1976 Carol City, Florida, U.S.
Label: Maybach Music Group/Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam Recordings
Rick Ross, a southern MC who derived his stage name from the drug trafficker “Freeway” Ricky Ross, Ross founded the record label Maybach Music Group which at present features new artists Wale, Meek Mill, Magazeen, Miles, Tyga, Pill, Stalley and female R&B singer/song writer Teedra Moses.
William Leonard Roberts II was born in Coahoma County, Mississippi and raised in Carol City, Florida, near Miami.After graduating from Carol City Senior High School, he later attended the historically black college Albany State University on a football scholarship.
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.
Port of Miami (2006)
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.
Deeper Than Rap (2009)
“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.
Teflon Don and other works (2010)
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 collabourator, Diddy announced from his YouTube account, that him and Ross are working on an EP together, which is going to be released in 2011. A single has been released for the project, called “Another One”.
God Forgives, I Don’t (2011 - present)
Rick Ross had also announced the release of his next album, “God Forgives, I Don’t”, for December 13, 2011, however it was confirmed on November 17 2011 it has been pushed back for release in 2012.
Rick Ross premiered two songs from his new album God Forgives, I don’t. One called You The Boss and I Love My Bitches.
Along with his music projects, Rick Ross was nominated by The Source as its “Man of the Year”.
Rick Ross performed at BET Awards 2011, which aired on June 26, 2011.He also received a nomination for Best Male Hip Hop Artist.
In July 2008, The Smoking Gun produced details linking Ross’ social security number to an eighteen month stint as a correctional officer in a Florida prison facility, along with a photograph purporting to be Ross in his correctional officer uniform. Ross initially denied that the photograph was of him; 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 90’s.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.
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. 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 rumours 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.
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.
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.
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.”
- 2006: Port of Miami
- 2008: Trilla
- 2009: Deeper Than Rap
- 2010: Teflon Don
- 2012: God Forgives, I Don’t
Maybach Music Group Albums
- 2011: Self Made Vol. 1 (with Maybach Music Group)
- 2012: Self Made Vol. 2 (with Maybach Music Group)
- 2009: Custom Cars & Cycles (with Triple C’s)
- TBA: Bugatti Boyz (with Diddy)
- 2007: Rise to Power