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EXCLUSIVE RICK ROSS INTERVIEW + Port of Miami 2 Tour Detroit Concert Details
October 13 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
By Allison Kugel
Originally published on September 7, 2019, on Good Life Detroit
One conversation with rapper Rick Ross will have you questioning the definitions of success, wealth and opportunity; how to identify opportunity, how to achieve success and how to maintain it while keeping your soul and bodily faculties intact.
Ross, born William Leonard Roberts II, rose to prominence in 2006 with his breakout single, Hustlin’, a word that defines his character and approach towards life. Though Ross doesn’t speak like a scholar, his wisdom permeates our conversation. He is an alchemist; aware of his power to transmute base metals to gold.
“Would I still consider Nipsey Hussle blessed and highly favored? Yes, I would. I’ve stood in those shoes before, and I was blessed to walk away. But for some reason, if it was to happen to me and that’s how the Big Homie upstairs chose for me to go, I’m going to open my arms to him. I don’t fear death, personally.”
— Rick Ross on his tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle in his new Hurricanes memoir
Rick Ross’ fans are believers in his use of language, and his unabashed celebration of riches. He’s proud to remind people that he created a palatial oasis out of the urban desert that was his early life.
Where many others in the Carol City district of Miami where Ross grew up saw few options, Ross saw the opportunity to translate his experiences into music. He came on the scene as hip hop left its golden era behind in favor of corporate commercialism, and then helped to usher in a rap renaissance of which he has become one of the genre’s most powerful voices.
The way Rick Ross explains it to me, the flash and cash his lifestyle portrays goes deeper than flagrant materialism. It leaves a roadmap for others behind him to follow – from no way out to a yellow brick road of possibilities. Even Ross’ palatial Georgia residence can be dubbed rap’s incarnation of The White House, with A-listers paying homage to the famous property (once owned by Evander Holyfield) on occasion.
With eighty-seven singles under his belt, Rick Ross moves through the music business with the urgency of being on borrowed time. Not since the late Tupac Shakur has an artist been quite so cognizant of, nor vocal about, his own mortality, and for good reason. Witnessing the loss of life has been a constant for Ross since his childhood. In recent years Ross survived a grisly drive-by shooting and multiple life-threatening seizures. He’s emerged more prolific than ever with his tenth studio album, Port of Miami 2 and the release of his new book, Hurricanes: A Memoir.
From sleeping in his car in the early 2000s while doggedly pursuing the American dream, to holding tremendous clout among the most successful artists of the moment, Port of Miami 2 features guest appearances by Swizz Beatz, Meek Mill, the late Nipsey Hussle, John Legend, Lil Wayne and Drake. The relationship between Rick Ross and Drake goes back nearly a decade, when Ross showed tremendous support for Drake’s career after the release of his early work, with the breakout mixtape So Far Gone. The two have been allies and collaborators since.
The focus of our conversation was Ross’ new Hurricanes memoir, and the rags to riches story he loves to illustrate for his fans.
“I would never be nervous at the idea of my fans getting to know me, and I feel like if they really knew who I was, they wouldn’t even believe me. The book paints some pictures for you but can never really give you an idea of what the real play was because I came up in the era of some real things happening.”
— Rick Ross on getting personal with his fans
Allison Kugel: You come across as nostalgic in your memoir, Hurricanes. If you could travel through time and bear witness to the making of any classic album, which one would you love to be a part of?
Rick Ross: A rap album? That would have to be Paid In Full with Eric B. and Rakim. Rakim was such a supreme lyricist and B. was the epitome of a DJ/dope boy. They were the center of style and fashion with their Gucci suits on the album covers, sitting on the hood of a Mercedes Benz S550. It was the epitome of what rap music really represented.
Allison Kugel: Generational wealth or artistic legacy… which means more to you?
Rick Ross: Generational wealth, without a doubt.
Allison Kugel: You’ve had some close calls between your health issues and an attempt that was made on your life. What was the greatest lesson or insight gained from those experiences?
Rick Ross: Ha! Something just ran across my mind, and I want to say that if it was the end, I would want to make sure I smoke all the roaches down until they’re by my fingertips (laughs)! But it boils down to appreciating and enjoying every day.
Allison Kugel: Do you believe in destiny, free will, or both?
Rick Ross: Destiny, for many different reasons. When there was [sic] twenty shots fired at my Rolls Royce, I had the audacity to go back and get my Cuban link chain. Not only did I go back to get my Cuban link chain, I went back to go get my girlfriend. It had to be destiny.
Allison Kugel; It’s nice that you went back for your girlfriend but thank God you didn’t lose the Cuban link (laughs). Kidding!
Rick Ross: (Laughs)
“Drake is a genuine human being, and I think that is what I admire and respect about him so much. The role I’ve always played with him was Big Homie, and he always played my Lil’ Homie.”
— Rick Ross on his nearly decade friendship with Drake
Allison Kugel: What is the source of your drive and ambition?
Rick Ross: Other than my DNA, it comes from my neighborhood, and being so blatantly aware of the haves and the have nots. I knew I was one of the [have nots]. It may not have been traumatic at all. It could have been something as simple as me not having the Nintendo with the Mike Tyson Punchout game.
Allison Kugel: That was my favorite game! You’re taking me back…
Rick Ross: Mine too. Mike Tyson Punchout and Double Dragon. When you’re the one on the block, where your friends have to bring the game and cartridges in a Winn Dixie bag to come spend the night at your crib, you kind of know.
Allison Kugel: Do you pray? And who or what do you pray to, and what do you pray for?
Rick Ross: Daily. I call him The Big Homie because there’s only one Big Homie; I don’t care what nobody else calls him. I just let Him know I’m appreciative of everything, and I’m really under his command. The second he calls for me or is ready for me, I’m going to open my arms to him.
Allison Kugel: What are you here in this life as Rick Ross to learn and to teach?
Rick Ross: Just that others like me, who never learned math, that you can still be the CEO, you can still become authors and artists. Nobody ever told me that. I had to learn that on my own. When I was in school, I sat in the back of the class making jokes, trying to cover up the fact that I never learned multiplication or algebra. I want to let youngsters who are in the position I was in, know that they can be in this position I’m in now. My father wasn’t there to tell me that, and I never had a big brother. The people I looked at were the ones in the street. I know the advice I always got from them, but I want to teach others that you can become a CEO, a huge success. I’m not only the CEO of one company, but close to a dozen. That’s what I want to be able to teach people on a major scale.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OF THE RICK ROSS INTERVIEW!
RICK ROSS DETROIT CONCERT DETAILS
WHEN: Sunday, 10/13
TIME: 7 P.M.
WHERE: Fillmore Detroit
TICKETS: Click HERE to purchase your tickets to the Rick Ross Detroit concert at Fillmore Detroit.
Hurricanes: A Memoir by Rick Ross with Neil Martinez-Belkin is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Port of Miami 2, Ross’ 10th studio album, is out now. Follow him on Instagram @RichForever.
Allison Kugel is a syndicated entertainment columnist, author of the memoir, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record, and owner of communications firm, Full Scale Media. Follow her on Instagram @theallisonkugel and at AllisonKugel.com.
Photos Courtesy of Bob Metelus. Creative Consultant: Sheldon Wright