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RICK ROSS’ GRAND PERSPECTIVE
“Aston Martin Music?” Or “Richer Than I Ever Been?” What about “Hustlin’” or “Rich Is Gangsta?” Better yet, “Mafia Music.” Or “Billionaire?” Or “You Only Live Twice!”

As I marveled at the colossal golden double Rs on the gates of Rick Ross’ enormous estate, I contemplated which song would be the perfect theme music to hear when arriving at the Promise Land, but there are far too many luxurious records within Ross’ catalog to choose from. Thus, when I was allowed entry and those ornate black gates eased open, I opted to drive in silence and just take in all of the opulence. I coasted over a small bridge and noticed a nice-sized reservoir to the left, and as I kept driving, I realized both how long of a road it was and how extensive Rick Ross’ land actually is. After riding down a winding road that reminded me of the scene from Forrest Gump when young Forrest finds his stride and breaks free of his leg braces, I finally made it to the heart of the Promise Land — Ross’ 55,000 square-foot compound.

Prior to that moment, I had already seen photos and videos of the 100+ room mansion online, but nothing matched up to seeing it in person. Of course, it looks nice as fuck online, but standing in front of such a lavish architectural structure is simply staggering. A rapper — and a Black man, at that — is living like this. It’s almost too grandiose to believe, but witnessing it firsthand really put things into perspective, which, unbeknownst to me at the time, would become one of the recurring themes throughout my interview with Rick Ross.

You have to be willing to challenge your perspective when sitting with the Boss. Concepts like an online presence, first-week album sales, and social media commentary don’t necessarily translate to real-life, and when speaking with Rozay, I was quickly reminded that assumptions are just that — assumptions.

For instance, when envisioning the mood board for this cover story, the following sentiments came to mind: “Living life fast and dying young is no longer Rick Ross’ aesthetic. Rick Ross is, as his latest record suggests, richer than he’s ever been. That wealth includes his MMG empire, Wingstop franchises, and a massive estate just south of Atlanta which has become known as the Legendary Promise Land.”

“I still approach it like it’s the last day i got to do this, so we up early in the morning.”

However, at the start of our conversation, Rick Ross confirmed that the message rooted in “Live Fast, Die Young” is indeed a motto that he still lives by.

“It's a bright side to that,” the veteran artist explained. “We all pray to live a long life, obviously. But when you approach something as living fast and dying young, it's almost like, ‘Yo, imma go so hard today like there is no tomorrow.’ Now if that's the pace that you set, how long can you pull that off? Can you pull it off like a boss in a long time, lengthy situation? That's still my approach. I still approach it like it's the last day I got to do this, so we up early in the morning.”

In response, I confessed that I had never considered that message of living fast and dying young to be a positive or sustainable mindset long-term, and Rick Ross swiftly urged me to get used to seeing things differently during our conversation.

“That’s fine. When you sit down with Ricky Ross Da Boss, I give you that perspective,” he replied. “And you can give other perspectives as well. That's what a conversation is about — sharing and comparing perspectives. ‘Cause there's always a bright side to something. And that's how I base my pace, my hustle, and my approach. Like, fuck that shit. Like, you can start work tomorrow? Nah, fuck that let's start right now.”

True to his response, Rick Ross thrives at a high-speed pace. This entire interview, for example, was expedited by several hours, on a complete whim. Our late afternoon rendezvous, originally scheduled for 4 pm, was suddenly moved up to noon with a call from Ross’ longtime publicist, Janelle Gibbs, around 10:30 am. During our conversation, she asked if I could come as soon as possible, and in the background, I could hear Rozay fervently yelling about being ready “RIGHT NOW!”

“That was hours we could waste. I don't got hours to waste,” he told me when I brought up that unexpected phone call from just an hour prior.. “I refuse to waste hours when we could do this now, move on to something else, and accomplish more shit. Time is extremely valuable. It's much more valuable than people appraise.”

Time is truly an irreplaceable commodity in life, and that’s why Rick Ross is living fast and enjoying every second. One day, that may mean cutting the grass on his sprawling estate for five straight hours, jogging the winding, mile-long road from his mansion to the front gate, and then getting fresh and taking a beautiful woman on a seafood and oyster date. Another day, that may mean juggling an interview and photoshoot with HotNewHipHop. And on May 21, 2022, that meant hosting his inaugural annual Rick Ross Car & Bike Show at the Legendary Promise Land.

Longtime listeners are likely already familiar with the Miami legend’s love for cars, from the “Seven-forty-five, white-on-white” BMW that he referenced on his 2006 debut single “Hustlin” to his long-documented appreciation for old-school Chevys, but few people know just how deeply invested he is in his lifelong hobby. Rick Ross’ car collection is so vast that it has never been fully unified, but all that changed at his newly debuted car show over the weekend. In addition to his more well-known and endearingly named whips like “Lemon Pepper” (a golden Gucci top 1971 Chevrolet Impala) and “Rihanna” (a stunning black 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith), Rozay brought together a bulk of his collection for the first time ever and introduced cars that many people had not yet heard of, including the mysterious “Scorsese,” an assortment of wagoneers, and classic campers.

“I have 1959 campers that have a bed, a shower, a stove. The list goes on,” Ross said while teasing his collection. “You put them on the back of the station wagon and — to me — that's dope as fuck. So I got two of those, and I’m gonna have them on the back of some dope ass classic, flawless cars. So when we talk about a collection, you better talk about a wide range of shit cause I got tanks, fire trucks, tow trucks, limousines, and Cadillacs.”

Rick Ross didn’t lie to me once — apart from one moment where I’m unsure if he was trolling me about a strange mirror that supposedly doubles as a television — because he didn’t have to. Upon my arrival at the gates of the Promise Land, I observed as a sleek, vintage car was delivered, and when I drove from the gate to the mansion, I couldn’t help but notice the enormous firetruck and military-grade army tank parked on his property. Rick Ross' collection is as eclectic as it gets, and countless celebrities and car enthusiasts were able to admire over 100 of the gems that he has amassed over the years — all for the price of $250 per general admission ticket. And while the Boss' whips was undoubtedly the main attraction, guests were able to show off their cars and bikes as well – for a participation fee of $750.

Given that our interview took place in the weeks leading up to the car show, those steep prices naturally came up in conversation. For those who may have been critical of the price tags for the Rick Ross Car & Bike Show, the Richer Than I Ever Been artist had two words of advice: “Stay home.”

“At some point, you gotta realize when you’re at your highest and when you’re at your lowest. Move the most when you’re at your highest”

Ross’ message was blunt, but he wasn’t disrespectful in his delivery. In fact, he said those who couldn’t afford to attend but still wanted to catch a snapshot of his event could stay tuned to his Instagram because he would be going live at some point during the show. His offer was a reasonable alternative for fans who may have been struggling financially, and it also mirrored his outlook on the importance of knowing one’s position and moving accordingly, a concept that we revisited time and time again during our conversation. When discussing how people can turn their passions into investments in the same way that his love for cars has grown into a full-fledged auto showcase, Rick Ross admitted that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for everyone. It is, once again, all about perspective.

“It really depends on what it is and what position they are really in,” the Boss informs me. “I have huge access to wealthy individuals, so I could turn the way I purchase into a business itself if I wanted to really sell these automobiles. I understand extremely wealthy people don't have the time to put together these classics. These cars take up to 5 years to be put together. I could sell them at this car show, and a rich muhfucker may just buy it right there. DWade may say, ‘I want it right now,’ and that's what it is. It depends on your situation. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. We gotta be detailed when we talk about being successful and winning.”

Today, Rozay is in the financial position to have rare classic cars other eclectic vehicles on display at his sprawling Fayetteville estate, but he can still empathize with the difficulties of being an entrepreneur on the come-up. As a youth, Ross forced himself to find different ways to make unglamorous work more enjoyable, but now, he recognizes that he’s in the perfect position to level up even more while doing things that he actually loves.

“At some point, you gotta realize when you’re at your highest and when you’re at your lowest. Move the most when you’re at your highest,” he advised. “As a youngster, I ain’t have no input on what I liked the most. It would be 103 degrees and we on the top of a roof pouring tar — that if it hits your leg, it’ll burn your whole muhfucking leg off— but if you wanted to get that $60 for the day, that’s what you had to do. You shut the fuck up and you do it. But you hustle hard so you get to a point one day when you decide, ‘This is what I wanna do.’”

With a discography that consists of 11 solo studio albums, several mixtapes, and some of the greatest Hip-Hop collaborations of the past two decades, there’s not a shadow of a doubt that Rick Ross hasn’t hustled hard enough to get to where he’s at. As an artist who came up out of Miami and paved a way for himself on Slip-n-Slide Records, a record label that was previously more geared towards more upbeat records from the likes of Trick Daddy and Trina, Rick Ross went from feeling like he was on an island by himself to becoming an undeniable member of Hip-Hop’s upper echelon. So after discussing his car show and the importance of making the right money moves at the right time, I had to hear the Teflon Don talk his shit.

“I am the biggest boss. Ain't nobody big as Rozay,” Rick Ross said with bulletproof confidence. “I know all big rich niggas wake up every day looking at me and saying, ‘Damn.’ Cause I am one of the few that did it without the icons. Without the Dr. Dre’s. Without the B.I.G.’s. I didn’t have that. I had a young group of producers. A white kid and a black kid from Orlando called The Runners, who produced ‘Hustlin.’ And now when we come out in the biggest arenas right now, that shit still rocking. Just finished headlining one of the tours with some of the biggest names, and I’m talking about artists who outsold me maybe 3 or 4 times! But when Rozay step on the stage, it's a different effect. To me, that's what makes you the biggest boss. It's a lot of motherfuckers who sold a lot more records, and that's dope. That's cool. You deserve that. That’s how it was meant to be. But when we walk out here on this fucking stage, you gotta kneel to the Czar.”

“It's a lot of motherfuckers who sold a lot more records, and that's dope. That's cool. You deserve that. That’s how it was meant to be. But when we walk out here on this f*cking stage, you gotta kneel to the Czar.”

Ross’ legacy is filled with countless accolades, from having 10 straight albums land within the top 10 of the Billboard 200 to currently boasting 17 platinum-certified singles, but as he had just alluded to in his admittedly epic rant, there are some areas in which his contemporaries have outperformed him. I brought the Boss’ attention to his lack of chart-toppers on the Billboard Hot 100 — his peak being #3 with Drake’s “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” — and his lack of Grammy awards despite garnering five nominations over the years. As I rattled off those stats and asked if they bother him, he just listened and poured himself a glass of Bumbu Rum.

“I don’t even know. When you just said that, I was like, “What the fuck is he talking about?” he replied. “We really came from the mud with it. And far as we are concerned, any accolade you get is dope. New York Times bestseller is dope. I got it tattooed on the back of my fucking neck. I’ve had two of them. But what means the most is when I step out in the streets. That love to me means much more than any trophy, any accolade. And that's cool. You can have 20 Grammys, that's cool. In certain rooms we in, that’d mean a lot more. But where I love to be the most, that means a lot less. Tell the whole Grammy board I’m blowing a kiss at them right now.”

Rick Ross then literally blew a kiss to the Grammy board and took a sip of Bumbu, a detail that he was adamant about keeping for the final cut of the story, and after some laughs, we shifted towards what the future holds for Rozay, beyond Richer Than I Ever Been and the Rick Ross Car & Bike Show. Having just delivered his eleventh studio album through Epic Records in December, the MMG Boss is now a free agent, and when I asked him about how independence has been treating him, he dropped a bomb that I didn’t see coming: “It ain't a different situation for me cause I already owned all my shit.”

According to Rozay, the perks of independence — such as ownership and leverage against labels — aren’t new to him because of how he approached his music career from day one.

“When I first came in the game, I just wanted a record deal. But guess what, once I released my first album I began renegotiating right then”

“When I first came in the game, I just wanted a record deal. But guess what, once I released my first album I began renegotiating right then,” Ross expounds. “And I’ve got to salute Ted Lucas, the CEO of Slip-N-Slide records who I was signed to for my first six albums. Before I even made it to my last albums, I had damn near owned everything that I could own, other than a certain distribution percentage. Once you become successful — regardless of what you signed at first — you just come sit at the table like a man. A good businessman gon’ understand that, like ‘Homie you just did something I never even expected.’ And guess what, I did it every album. I asked for more, and I did it on both sides — not just with my record label but also with my attorneys. ‘Hey man, I was giving you give X amount of percentage on my first album, lets cut it down to 12. On the next let's cut it to 8. Let's get it to 5.’ That go for everybody. You renegotiate because you learning as you go. Before every album, that's what you go sit down and say, ‘Hey man, I gotta ask for something I ain't never had. I’m finna do something I ain't never done before.’”

Rather than relishing in his newfound independence, Ross was visibly excited about all of the “huge offers” that he has been fielding from Def Jam and a myriad of other record labels, and although he ensured me that “there really ain’t no rush,” he did confirm that new music is on the way, with two records and an official album announcement coming later this summer. In addition to his new music-related business ventures, Rick Ross is also set to continue fostering his brand partnerships — from his Rozay Cheddar Rap Snacks potato chips to his ongoing relationship with Luc Belaire — and potentially even start on a follow-up to his 2019 and 2021 respective New York Times Bestsellers, Hurricanes and The Perfect Day to Boss Up. As our conversation continued, it became evident that the idea of money making people complacent doesn’t seem to apply to Rick Ross in the slightest. There is still a wealth of things that the Boss is determined to accomplish, such as becoming a future team shareholder of his beloved hometown NBA team and starting an African branch of his music empire called MMG Africa. And as with all of his other business endeavors, Rick Ross is only interested in making those money moves with love and good intentions.

After joking about landing a 10-day NBA contract due to his post-season rebound during Game 2 of the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers series, Rozay applauded the Heat for sending Atlanta home, and he also made it clear that he’ll only consider team ownership if it’s with the current Eastern Conference Finals contenders.

“I ain't just doing this to be doing it. I am not going to be driving to Sacramento just because they give me 5 percent of the team,” Ross explained. “Nah, this the Miami Heat! Without a doubt. And I hope all the right people in the organization read this and understand the amount of loyalty we have here. So when we sit down and have that conversation, let's say in the next 24 months, we can make it happen.”

His reasoning for developing MMG Africa is rooted in a similar respect and loyalty to the Black diaspora. The Boss recently visited the continent and stopped in countries like Nigeria and Angola, and after spending time in the slums, the MMG Boss was so moved by the culture that he decided to bring more attention to it by signing and breaking two African artists.

“We’re so talented,” Ross said as he remembered his trip to Africa. “I went out to watch some unsigned underground artists out there, and when I tell you the music was so dope. The fashion looked like it was 2 years in advance, and you would have never fucking imagined it. That's when I realized I got to sign some artists over here. Because this is exciting. This is different. This shit got a bigger purpose.”

Yet among all of the different investments, partnerships, and money moves that we discussed throughout our hour-long conversation, Rozay appeared most passionate about building generational wealth for his family. Last year, HNHH shared the news that Ross had gifted his son, William L. Roberts III, his own Wingstop franchise for his 16th birthday, so I referenced that report and took a shot at challenging the Boss’ perspective on whether nepotism should be championed or criticized in the Black community. His response was legendary.

“Don’t let nobody trick you. I pray my kids wake up to billions and billions and billions and billions and don’t ever let no niggas confuse them, talking about they wish they was poor,” Ross Ross asserted, his voice reaching a level of intensity far beyond the casual tone he had maintained over the course of our interview. “It's about being successful. It's about being wealthy. It's about giving the ones you love options they can have. Fuck what anybody else tell you. You want your mama to have the best insurance she can have. If your father dying from cancer nigga, he deserve to have the best insurance and the best machines they make for the rich white people. You got to have money. Don't you ever let these niggas trick you.”

“don’t let nobody trick you. I pray my kids wake up to billions and billions and billions and billions and don’t ever let no ni**as confuse them, talking about they wish they was poor,”

In addition to admittedly feeling somewhat intimidated given my close proximity to a visibly fired-up Rick Ross, I found his rant to be extremely powerful, and not just because it echoes the “normalize Black nepotism” discourse that has grown in popularity online in recent years. In addition to highlighting the importance of building generational wealth as a means of advancing the Black community, Ross dropped another unexpected gem — this time, in a much more subdued fashion.

“It’s not about just being the first rich nigga in the family. It's a great experience, I’m sure,” he thought aloud. “But when it's the fifth and sixth, it's a whole ‘nother type of situation. And of course, I haven't experienced that myself, but I think of that a lot.”

Rick Ross, while extremely vocal about his love for “talking about getting money,” had once again subtly hinted at his interest in unlocking new perspectives. At the start of our interview, he advised me to share and compare perspectives with him, and when discussing generational wealth, Rozay had now revealed that he often wonders about what his descendants’ experiences and vantage points might look like one day. He tells me that sitting down and looking at situations from hundreds of perspectives is “what being a boss is about” and, quite interestingly, the key to doing something that is “transcendent.” According to Rozay, if you can do that while making money, anything is possible.

“Let's make history. Not just have the biggest home, let's make sure they understand our face and our credentials is flawless,” Rick Ross proclaims with the same energy that he brings in every one of his “Morning Glory” stories on Instagram. “That's what excites me the most. The empowerment of the self. Nigga, empower yourself.”

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RICK ROSS’ GRAND PERSPECTIVE
“Aston Martin Music?” Or “Richer Than I Ever Been?” What about “Hustlin’” or “Rich Is Gangsta?” Better yet, “Mafia Music.” Or “Billionaire?” Or “You Only Live Twice!”

As I marveled at the colossal golden double Rs on the gates of Rick Ross’ enormous estate, I contemplated which song would be the perfect theme music to hear when arriving at the Promise Land, but there are far too many luxurious records within Ross’ catalog to choose from. Thus, when I was allowed entry and those ornate black gates eased open, I opted to drive in silence and just take in all of the opulence. I coasted over a small bridge and noticed a nice-sized reservoir to the left, and as I kept driving, I realized both how long of a road it was and how extensive Rick Ross’ land actually is. After riding down a winding road that reminded me of the scene from Forrest Gump when young Forrest finds his stride and breaks free of his leg braces, I finally made it to the heart of the Promise Land — Ross’ 55,000 square-foot compound.

Prior to that moment, I had already seen photos and videos of the 100+ room mansion online, but nothing matched up to seeing it in person. Of course, it looks nice as fuck online, but standing in front of such a lavish architectural structure is simply staggering. A rapper — and a Black man, at that — is living like this. It’s almost too grandiose to believe, but witnessing it firsthand really put things into perspective, which, unbeknownst to me at the time, would become one of the recurring themes throughout my interview with Rick Ross.

You have to be willing to challenge your perspective when sitting with the Boss. Concepts like an online presence, first-week album sales, and social media commentary don’t necessarily translate to real-life, and when speaking with Rozay, I was quickly reminded that assumptions are just that — assumptions.

For instance, when envisioning the mood board for this cover story, the following sentiments came to mind: “Living life fast and dying young is no longer Rick Ross’ aesthetic. Rick Ross is, as his latest record suggests, richer than he’s ever been. That wealth includes his MMG empire, Wingstop franchises, and a massive estate just south of Atlanta which has become known as the Legendary Promise Land.”

“I still approach it like it’s the last day i got to do this, so we up early in the morning.”

However, at the start of our conversation, Rick Ross confirmed that the message rooted in “Live Fast, Die Young” is indeed a motto that he still lives by.

“It's a bright side to that,” the veteran artist explained. “We all pray to live a long life, obviously. But when you approach something as living fast and dying young, it's almost like, ‘Yo, imma go so hard today like there is no tomorrow.’ Now if that's the pace that you set, how long can you pull that off? Can you pull it off like a boss in a long time, lengthy situation? That's still my approach. I still approach it like it's the last day I got to do this, so we up early in the morning.”

In response, I confessed that I had never considered that message of living fast and dying young to be a positive or sustainable mindset long-term, and Rick Ross swiftly urged me to get used to seeing things differently during our conversation.

“That’s fine. When you sit down with Ricky Ross Da Boss, I give you that perspective,” he replied. “And you can give other perspectives as well. That's what a conversation is about — sharing and comparing perspectives. ‘Cause there's always a bright side to something. And that's how I base my pace, my hustle, and my approach. Like, fuck that shit. Like, you can start work tomorrow? Nah, fuck that let's start right now.”

True to his response, Rick Ross thrives at a high-speed pace. This entire interview, for example, was expedited by several hours, on a complete whim. Our late afternoon rendezvous, originally scheduled for 4 pm, was suddenly moved up to noon with a call from Ross’ longtime publicist, Janelle Gibbs, around 10:30 am. During our conversation, she asked if I could come as soon as possible, and in the background, I could hear Rozay fervently yelling about being ready “RIGHT NOW!”

“That was hours we could waste. I don't got hours to waste,” he told me when I brought up that unexpected phone call from just an hour prior.. “I refuse to waste hours when we could do this now, move on to something else, and accomplish more shit. Time is extremely valuable. It's much more valuable than people appraise.”

Time is truly an irreplaceable commodity in life, and that’s why Rick Ross is living fast and enjoying every second. One day, that may mean cutting the grass on his sprawling estate for five straight hours, jogging the winding, mile-long road from his mansion to the front gate, and then getting fresh and taking a beautiful woman on a seafood and oyster date. Another day, that may mean juggling an interview and photoshoot with HotNewHipHop. And on May 21, 2022, that meant hosting his inaugural annual Rick Ross Car & Bike Show at the Legendary Promise Land.

Longtime listeners are likely already familiar with the Miami legend’s love for cars, from the “Seven-forty-five, white-on-white” BMW that he referenced on his 2006 debut single “Hustlin” to his long-documented appreciation for old-school Chevys, but few people know just how deeply invested he is in his lifelong hobby. Rick Ross’ car collection is so vast that it has never been fully unified, but all that changed at his newly debuted car show over the weekend. In addition to his more well-known and endearingly named whips like “Lemon Pepper” (a golden Gucci top 1971 Chevrolet Impala) and “Rihanna” (a stunning black 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith), Rozay brought together a bulk of his collection for the first time ever and introduced cars that many people had not yet heard of, including the mysterious “Scorsese,” an assortment of wagoneers, and classic campers.

“I have 1959 campers that have a bed, a shower, a stove. The list goes on,” Ross said while teasing his collection. “You put them on the back of the station wagon and — to me — that's dope as fuck. So I got two of those, and I’m gonna have them on the back of some dope ass classic, flawless cars. So when we talk about a collection, you better talk about a wide range of shit cause I got tanks, fire trucks, tow trucks, limousines, and Cadillacs.”

Rick Ross didn’t lie to me once — apart from one moment where I’m unsure if he was trolling me about a strange mirror that supposedly doubles as a television — because he didn’t have to. Upon my arrival at the gates of the Promise Land, I observed as a sleek, vintage car was delivered, and when I drove from the gate to the mansion, I couldn’t help but notice the enormous firetruck and military-grade army tank parked on his property. Rick Ross' collection is as eclectic as it gets, and countless celebrities and car enthusiasts were able to admire over 100 of the gems that he has amassed over the years — all for the price of $250 per general admission ticket. And while the Boss' whips was undoubtedly the main attraction, guests were able to show off their cars and bikes as well – for a participation fee of $750.

Given that our interview took place in the weeks leading up to the car show, those steep prices naturally came up in conversation. For those who may have been critical of the price tags for the Rick Ross Car & Bike Show, the Richer Than I Ever Been artist had two words of advice: “Stay home.”

“At some point, you gotta realize when you’re at your highest and when you’re at your lowest. Move the most when you’re at your highest”

Ross’ message was blunt, but he wasn’t disrespectful in his delivery. In fact, he said those who couldn’t afford to attend but still wanted to catch a snapshot of his event could stay tuned to his Instagram because he would be going live at some point during the show. His offer was a reasonable alternative for fans who may have been struggling financially, and it also mirrored his outlook on the importance of knowing one’s position and moving accordingly, a concept that we revisited time and time again during our conversation. When discussing how people can turn their passions into investments in the same way that his love for cars has grown into a full-fledged auto showcase, Rick Ross admitted that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for everyone. It is, once again, all about perspective.

“It really depends on what it is and what position they are really in,” the Boss informs me. “I have huge access to wealthy individuals, so I could turn the way I purchase into a business itself if I wanted to really sell these automobiles. I understand extremely wealthy people don't have the time to put together these classics. These cars take up to 5 years to be put together. I could sell them at this car show, and a rich muhfucker may just buy it right there. DWade may say, ‘I want it right now,’ and that's what it is. It depends on your situation. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. We gotta be detailed when we talk about being successful and winning.”

Today, Rozay is in the financial position to have rare classic cars other eclectic vehicles on display at his sprawling Fayetteville estate, but he can still empathize with the difficulties of being an entrepreneur on the come-up. As a youth, Ross forced himself to find different ways to make unglamorous work more enjoyable, but now, he recognizes that he’s in the perfect position to level up even more while doing things that he actually loves.

“At some point, you gotta realize when you’re at your highest and when you’re at your lowest. Move the most when you’re at your highest,” he advised. “As a youngster, I ain’t have no input on what I liked the most. It would be 103 degrees and we on the top of a roof pouring tar — that if it hits your leg, it’ll burn your whole muhfucking leg off— but if you wanted to get that $60 for the day, that’s what you had to do. You shut the fuck up and you do it. But you hustle hard so you get to a point one day when you decide, ‘This is what I wanna do.’”

With a discography that consists of 11 solo studio albums, several mixtapes, and some of the greatest Hip-Hop collaborations of the past two decades, there’s not a shadow of a doubt that Rick Ross hasn’t hustled hard enough to get to where he’s at. As an artist who came up out of Miami and paved a way for himself on Slip-n-Slide Records, a record label that was previously more geared towards more upbeat records from the likes of Trick Daddy and Trina, Rick Ross went from feeling like he was on an island by himself to becoming an undeniable member of Hip-Hop’s upper echelon. So after discussing his car show and the importance of making the right money moves at the right time, I had to hear the Teflon Don talk his shit.

“I am the biggest boss. Ain't nobody big as Rozay,” Rick Ross said with bulletproof confidence. “I know all big rich niggas wake up every day looking at me and saying, ‘Damn.’ Cause I am one of the few that did it without the icons. Without the Dr. Dre’s. Without the B.I.G.’s. I didn’t have that. I had a young group of producers. A white kid and a black kid from Orlando called The Runners, who produced ‘Hustlin.’ And now when we come out in the biggest arenas right now, that shit still rocking. Just finished headlining one of the tours with some of the biggest names, and I’m talking about artists who outsold me maybe 3 or 4 times! But when Rozay step on the stage, it's a different effect. To me, that's what makes you the biggest boss. It's a lot of motherfuckers who sold a lot more records, and that's dope. That's cool. You deserve that. That’s how it was meant to be. But when we walk out here on this fucking stage, you gotta kneel to the Czar.”

“It's a lot of motherfuckers who sold a lot more records, and that's dope. That's cool. You deserve that. That’s how it was meant to be. But when we walk out here on this f*cking stage, you gotta kneel to the Czar.”

Ross’ legacy is filled with countless accolades, from having 10 straight albums land within the top 10 of the Billboard 200 to currently boasting 17 platinum-certified singles, but as he had just alluded to in his admittedly epic rant, there are some areas in which his contemporaries have outperformed him. I brought the Boss’ attention to his lack of chart-toppers on the Billboard Hot 100 — his peak being #3 with Drake’s “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” — and his lack of Grammy awards despite garnering five nominations over the years. As I rattled off those stats and asked if they bother him, he just listened and poured himself a glass of Bumbu Rum.

“I don’t even know. When you just said that, I was like, “What the fuck is he talking about?” he replied. “We really came from the mud with it. And far as we are concerned, any accolade you get is dope. New York Times bestseller is dope. I got it tattooed on the back of my fucking neck. I’ve had two of them. But what means the most is when I step out in the streets. That love to me means much more than any trophy, any accolade. And that's cool. You can have 20 Grammys, that's cool. In certain rooms we in, that’d mean a lot more. But where I love to be the most, that means a lot less. Tell the whole Grammy board I’m blowing a kiss at them right now.”

Rick Ross then literally blew a kiss to the Grammy board and took a sip of Bumbu, a detail that he was adamant about keeping for the final cut of the story, and after some laughs, we shifted towards what the future holds for Rozay, beyond Richer Than I Ever Been and the Rick Ross Car & Bike Show. Having just delivered his eleventh studio album through Epic Records in December, the MMG Boss is now a free agent, and when I asked him about how independence has been treating him, he dropped a bomb that I didn’t see coming: “It ain't a different situation for me cause I already owned all my shit.”

According to Rozay, the perks of independence — such as ownership and leverage against labels — aren’t new to him because of how he approached his music career from day one.

“When I first came in the game, I just wanted a record deal. But guess what, once I released my first album I began renegotiating right then”

“When I first came in the game, I just wanted a record deal. But guess what, once I released my first album I began renegotiating right then,” Ross expounds. “And I’ve got to salute Ted Lucas, the CEO of Slip-N-Slide records who I was signed to for my first six albums. Before I even made it to my last albums, I had damn near owned everything that I could own, other than a certain distribution percentage. Once you become successful — regardless of what you signed at first — you just come sit at the table like a man. A good businessman gon’ understand that, like ‘Homie you just did something I never even expected.’ And guess what, I did it every album. I asked for more, and I did it on both sides — not just with my record label but also with my attorneys. ‘Hey man, I was giving you give X amount of percentage on my first album, lets cut it down to 12. On the next let's cut it to 8. Let's get it to 5.’ That go for everybody. You renegotiate because you learning as you go. Before every album, that's what you go sit down and say, ‘Hey man, I gotta ask for something I ain't never had. I’m finna do something I ain't never done before.’”

Rather than relishing in his newfound independence, Ross was visibly excited about all of the “huge offers” that he has been fielding from Def Jam and a myriad of other record labels, and although he ensured me that “there really ain’t no rush,” he did confirm that new music is on the way, with two records and an official album announcement coming later this summer. In addition to his new music-related business ventures, Rick Ross is also set to continue fostering his brand partnerships — from his Rozay Cheddar Rap Snacks potato chips to his ongoing relationship with Luc Belaire — and potentially even start on a follow-up to his 2019 and 2021 respective New York Times Bestsellers, Hurricanes and The Perfect Day to Boss Up. As our conversation continued, it became evident that the idea of money making people complacent doesn’t seem to apply to Rick Ross in the slightest. There is still a wealth of things that the Boss is determined to accomplish, such as becoming a future team shareholder of his beloved hometown NBA team and starting an African branch of his music empire called MMG Africa. And as with all of his other business endeavors, Rick Ross is only interested in making those money moves with love and good intentions.

After joking about landing a 10-day NBA contract due to his post-season rebound during Game 2 of the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers series, Rozay applauded the Heat for sending Atlanta home, and he also made it clear that he’ll only consider team ownership if it’s with the current Eastern Conference Finals contenders.

“I ain't just doing this to be doing it. I am not going to be driving to Sacramento just because they give me 5 percent of the team,” Ross explained. “Nah, this the Miami Heat! Without a doubt. And I hope all the right people in the organization read this and understand the amount of loyalty we have here. So when we sit down and have that conversation, let's say in the next 24 months, we can make it happen.”

His reasoning for developing MMG Africa is rooted in a similar respect and loyalty to the Black diaspora. The Boss recently visited the continent and stopped in countries like Nigeria and Angola, and after spending time in the slums, the MMG Boss was so moved by the culture that he decided to bring more attention to it by signing and breaking two African artists.

“We’re so talented,” Ross said as he remembered his trip to Africa. “I went out to watch some unsigned underground artists out there, and when I tell you the music was so dope. The fashion looked like it was 2 years in advance, and you would have never fucking imagined it. That's when I realized I got to sign some artists over here. Because this is exciting. This is different. This shit got a bigger purpose.”

Yet among all of the different investments, partnerships, and money moves that we discussed throughout our hour-long conversation, Rozay appeared most passionate about building generational wealth for his family. Last year, HNHH shared the news that Ross had gifted his son, William L. Roberts III, his own Wingstop franchise for his 16th birthday, so I referenced that report and took a shot at challenging the Boss’ perspective on whether nepotism should be championed or criticized in the Black community. His response was legendary.

“Don’t let nobody trick you. I pray my kids wake up to billions and billions and billions and billions and don’t ever let no niggas confuse them, talking about they wish they was poor,” Ross Ross asserted, his voice reaching a level of intensity far beyond the casual tone he had maintained over the course of our interview. “It's about being successful. It's about being wealthy. It's about giving the ones you love options they can have. Fuck what anybody else tell you. You want your mama to have the best insurance she can have. If your father dying from cancer nigga, he deserve to have the best insurance and the best machines they make for the rich white people. You got to have money. Don't you ever let these niggas trick you.”

“don’t let nobody trick you. I pray my kids wake up to billions and billions and billions and billions and don’t ever let no ni**as confuse them, talking about they wish they was poor,”

In addition to admittedly feeling somewhat intimidated given my close proximity to a visibly fired-up Rick Ross, I found his rant to be extremely powerful, and not just because it echoes the “normalize Black nepotism” discourse that has grown in popularity online in recent years. In addition to highlighting the importance of building generational wealth as a means of advancing the Black community, Ross dropped another unexpected gem — this time, in a much more subdued fashion.

“It’s not about just being the first rich nigga in the family. It's a great experience, I’m sure,” he thought aloud. “But when it's the fifth and sixth, it's a whole ‘nother type of situation. And of course, I haven't experienced that myself, but I think of that a lot.”

Rick Ross, while extremely vocal about his love for “talking about getting money,” had once again subtly hinted at his interest in unlocking new perspectives. At the start of our interview, he advised me to share and compare perspectives with him, and when discussing generational wealth, Rozay had now revealed that he often wonders about what his descendants’ experiences and vantage points might look like one day. He tells me that sitting down and looking at situations from hundreds of perspectives is “what being a boss is about” and, quite interestingly, the key to doing something that is “transcendent.” According to Rozay, if you can do that while making money, anything is possible.

“Let's make history. Not just have the biggest home, let's make sure they understand our face and our credentials is flawless,” Rick Ross proclaims with the same energy that he brings in every one of his “Morning Glory” stories on Instagram. “That's what excites me the most. The empowerment of the self. Nigga, empower yourself.”

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JesusOfTrap
top comment
JesusOfTrap
May 23, 2022

Great interview, this was hnhh needs the most, mf been talking about kardashain and shi* i just want real hip hop articles

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PhoPhoBulldog
PhoPhoBulldog
May 27, 2022

Lol tf is this

NMP
NMP
May 24, 2022

I actually really enjoyed reading this interview. Content itself is great, but I also like the overall design of it. Y’all stepped it up with this one, we need more of this!

JesusOfTrap
JesusOfTrap
May 23, 2022

Great interview, this was hnhh needs the most, mf been talking about kardashain and shi* i just want real hip hop articles

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mixedandhung
mixedandhung
May 23, 2022

More prosperity

Truuu Rap
Truuu Rap
May 23, 2022

Let's be real, Rick Ross is everything 50 Cent's washed up ass wants to be

Boi Nitro
Boi Nitro
May 24, 2022

Nah dawg, 50 cent is a great man. Ross is good rapper.

BK The Great

William is my favorite actor

Weili
Weili
May 24, 2022

@Boi Nitro : A great man? What does he do besides sit on his ass at home and troll people on twitter

Boi Nitro
Boi Nitro
May 26, 2022

@Weili : we all know 50 has made more impact on the world that ross

Adam Ly (FuzzyLotus)

Who gives a shit about rick ross

Boi Nitro

Me, i do

Big Steppa
Big Steppa
May 23, 2022

Who cares about Rick Ross. Kendrick dropped album of the year

Boi Nitro

Well haven't replayed that album, maybe in months or years I'll come back to it. But rn.... Nah

HowSway?!
HowSway?!
May 23, 2022

The fuck is this shit?

Madrell
Madrell
May 23, 2022

Let us know your thoughts on Rick Ross' possible return to Def Jam, and promise to release new music this summer!