"I said to [Ross], 'I think we could build something great together. You could build the next Cash Money,'" says Joie Manda ( @joeyie), executive VP/head of urban music at Warner Bros. Records. "And he said, 'That's what I want to do. That's my dream.'"
MMG sports an assortment of lyrical styles, but just when Ross needed to prove the power of his brand, Wale released his sophomore album, "Ambition," to stunning results on Nov. 1. The Washington, D.C. rapper's 2009 debut, "Attention Deficit," sold 28,000 copies in its first week, and Interscope Records eventually dropped him. However, with Ross executive-producing (with Wale), and relentlessly promoting "Ambition" (he even set the avatar of his @rickyrozay Twitter account, which sports 1.5 million followers, with Wale's album artwork), the album sold 164,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's an improbable comeback that Wale acknowledges in the liner notes of the new LP. "Rick Ross," it says simply, "thank you for giving me my shot."
On Rozay's Seizures:
On Oct. 14, 18 days before the release of Wale's "Ambition," Ross suffered a seizure aboard a Memphis-bound plane, on his way to opening a Wingstop restaurant franchise. The medical scare required an emergency landing and treatment at a Fort Lauderdale hospital, and when Ross tried to fly from Florida later that day, he suffered another medical setback and was rushed to an emergency room in Birmingham, Ala.
One month later, Ross says that he "feels great," and although rumors abound about his physical state, he chalks up the scares to a "lack of sleep." The incidents have delayed the release of the anticipated "God Forgives, I Don't," his spectacularly titled fifth full-length originally slated to arrive Dec. 13. Island Def Jam (IDJ) senior VP of marketing Chris Atlas says that the album is now expected "around first quarter, maybe early second quarter" (Billboard.com, Nov. 17).
On "God Forgives":
In the meantime, Ross is still firing on all cylinders, spending marathon studio sessions tweaking "God Forgives" and other projects. He's a tireless worker, literally -- longtime manager Alex "Gucci Pucci" Bethune says that he and Ross usually get about three hours of sleep per night. Ross is constantly thinking, talking and tweeting about MMG, and wants "God Forgives" to pack the epic scope of a Brian De Palma film -- hence the title.
"This album is almost like a movie," Ross says. "I wanted [the title] to be something that was extremely emotional, to set up a real roller coaster ride as far as the music and thought process. It sounds like a term of retaliation, and with the picture that I'm painting, it felt perfect."
Read more here