It’s been over a solid decade since Port of Miami dropped and rapper “Teflon” became who the world now recognizes as rapper “Rick Ross”. Rick Ross has one of the most interesting and uncanny careers ever in hip-hop. He’s literally survived every obstacle that was meant to destroy him and not only has he survived. He’s prospered financially and musically because of it. The general public is always split but the split isn’t 50/50 anymore. Rather You Than Me had been released for hours and I seen a conversation on twitter about “Classic Rick Ross projects”and the lowest number thrown out was 3. That’s putting him in elite conversation.
Who would have thought that Rick Ross would last 10 years with this timeline?
- Slander and a lawsuit with Freeway Ricky Ross over the name and likeness being used to profit
- Having pictures of you as a correctional officer released and being a “Street Rapper”
- Beefing with 50 Cent and having the video of the mother of one of your children getting raw dogged and busted in released to launch a website.
- Beating up DJ Vlad [or having it done] and losing in court
- History of unsuccessful relationships with women, with the narrative of “They cheat on you”
- Ghostwriting allegations
- The infamous “UOENO” verse which had women label him as an advocate of rape culture
- The foggy Detroit situation
- The spotty GD situation in Chicago
- Having your car shot up
- Jail Time
- Having half of your catalog go Gold or Platinum and at what would be deemed a slow pace for an artist of your caliber.
Through all of the above and more Rick Ross has survived. It’s deeper than being backed by a major label or having money. We’ve seen better rappers taken out for a lot less. MMG isn’t the biggest label. Artist for artist they don’t move the most units. If you looked at the numbers, Wale puts out bigger hits than Rick Ross, but yet and still “The Boss” remains in tact and on top. It’s crazy and a lot of rappers need to take notes.
Musically, Rick Ross is best beat picker ever. All the albums may not sell equally well, but there will always be an exquisite selection of production on every project. I remember laughing loudly at the aspect of Rick Ross being a lyricist. However, even I must concede now that from Port of Miami to Rather Me Than You that Rick Ross has shown consistent effort and improvement with lyricism. He’s improved lyrically and yet thought “Musical Acronym” was the correct term to use over “Musical Acumen” and only Combat Jack questioned him on it.
Is Rick Ross the ultimate example of stay focused on your goal and you’ll rise above? Yes! I remember hearing friends and family say “I can’t listen to Ross and feel the same” when those C.O photos dropped. That’s been what? 6 albums ago? And lets keep it a buck. The majority of the people hurt the most about that haven’t done crime either or haven’t really been in the street and could be eligible to be a C.O too if they really wanted to.
No matter how much Rick Ross is labeled a “misogynist” or “rape culture supporter” he keeps a new woman on his arm and a hit single in the ears of the purchasing women audience. When his albums don’t sell well and it looks like “he can’t make music money” here comes a Wale or Meek single or album and a Wingstop.
We can all learn something from the career of Rick Ross. He’s evolved and survived through any and everything. Sure a lot of people don’t like him. That’s life. He may not be as successful through music as a main source of income, but the buzz phrase now is “nobody buys music anymore”. 10 years have passed and although he still hasn’t match 50 Cent in record sells, he’s surpassed him in albums and has been put in a conversation of having one of the greatest catalogs in hip-hop amongst the youth and “Golden Era OG’s”. He may lose some battles, but he’s won every war. Only a Boss can do that. He’s not my favorite rapper, but I have unbelievable respect for Rick Ross. He’s the survivor we should all strive to be.
Be Safe. Be Humble. Live Hip-Hop.