William Leonard Roberts II (born January 28, 1976), better known
by his stage name Rick Ross, is an American rapper. He derived his
stage name from the drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross,
to whom he has no connection (Ross even sued the rapper for $10 million
for using his name; see Legal Issues). Ross founded the record label
Maybach Music Group, on which he released his studio albums Deeper
Than Rap and Teflon Don.
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 rap albums.
Port of Miami (2006)
Main article: Port of Miami (album)
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 its first week out. 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.
Main article: Trilla
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.
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 seem 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". where he states "Rick Ross, I'm a fuck your life
up for fun". In addition, 50 Cent released the first of a series
of "Officer Ricky" cartoons. Early February, 50 Cent once
again made a video which he uploaded to YouTube where he interviews "Tia",
the mother of one of Ross's children. She verifies his being 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. The 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
Deeper Than Rap (2009)
Main article: Deeper Than Rap
"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
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–present)
Main article: Teflon Don (album)
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
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". The
song is produced by Diddy and Lex Luger.
Along with his music projects, Rick Ross was nominated by The Source
as its "Man of the Year".
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 in Albany, Georgia.
Corrections officer photos
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 corrections 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 corrections officer.
During a deposition of Officer Rey Hernandez, a Miami Beach cop
who arrested Ross in January 2008 on gun and marijuana charges, 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. Freeway Ricky Ross filed a copyright infringement lawsuit
against Ross in a California Federal Court. Jay-Z had been called
to testify in the lawsuit, as he was CEO of Def Jam when Ross 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.
Main article: Rick Ross discography
* 2006: Port of Miami
* 2008: Trilla
* 2009: Deeper Than Rap
* 2010: Teflon Don
* 2011: God Forgives, I Don't
* 2009: Custom Cars & Cycles (with Triple C's)
* 2011: Bugatti Boyz (with Diddy)
* TBA:The H (With Birdman)
* 2007: Rise to Power