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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who is William Leonard Roberts II?

Who is William Leonard Roberts II? The rap world knows him by his stage name Rick Ross.

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.[2]

He took his stage name from the drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross, to whom he has no connection. Ross founded the record label Maybach Music Group, on which he released his third studio album Deeper Than Rap.

Rick Ross is six-foot, 300-pound rap figure who has embraced his city's reputation for drug trafficking on his debut single, "Hustlin',"


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in 2006. While Atlanta and Houston artists were establishing their cities as Southern strongholds, Ross aimed at putting Miami back in rap's national spotlight. Influenced by artists like Luther Campbell and the Notorious B.I.G., Roberts formed local rap group the Carol City Cartel and began rapping in the mid-'90s. (He took his rap name from Los Angeles drug kingpin "Freeway" Rick Ross, who ran one of the largest crack-cocaine distribution networks in the country during the '80s and early '90s.) Ross had a brief stint on Suave House Records, former label of Eightball & MJG, before he ended up on Miami-based Slip-N-Side Records, the label home of Trick Daddy and Trina.

During the early to mid-2000s, he became popular and well known locally through touring with Trick Daddy and guest-appearing on a few Slip-N-Slide releases, but didn't release any solo material until 2006. Once "Hustlin'" caught the ear of a few executives within the national industry, a bidding war ensued that included offers from Bad Boy CEO Sean "Diddy" Combs and The Inc. (formerly Murder Inc.) president Irv Gotti. Nonetheless, Def Jam president and veteran rapper Jay-Z signed Ross to a multi-million-dollar deal. The Miami anthem "Hustlin'" went on to receive gold status from RIAA in May 2006 and sold over a million ringtone units before the physical release of his debut album, Port of Miami. Released in August 2006, Ross' debut was Slip-N-Side's first project under the Def Jam partnership, and it went to number one on the Billboard album chart. His follow-up, Trilla, was released the following year, prefaced with the Cool & Dre-produced title track.



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.[5] Its lead single "Hustlin'" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in May 2006, and nearly a million ringtones of the song were sold prior to the album release. The song also peaked at the seventh spot on the Billboard magazine Hot Rap Tracks chart and #54 on the Hot 100. A remix of the single featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy also achieved some popularity in digital downloads. [6] The second single was "Push It", which samples "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)", the theme song off the gangster film Scarface.[7] The music video for "Push It" was also modeled after the film.[8]



In March 2008, his second album Trillawas released and, as its predecessor Port of Miami had, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200.[9] Its lead single "Speedin'" featuring R. Kelly peaked at #21 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.[10] MTV News ranked Ross on the fourth spot in its 2008



"Hottest MCs In The Game" List among ten rappers.[11]






Music career

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.[3]

Port of Miami (2006)

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.[4][5] Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone magazine predicted that it would be "the summer's biggest rap record".[6] The second single was "Push It", which samples "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)", the theme song off the gangster film Scarface.[7] The music video for "Push It" was modeled after the film.[8] 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.

Trilla (2008)

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.[9] 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.[10] MTV News ranked Ross on the fourth spot in its 2008 "Hottest MCs In The Game" list among ten rappers.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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".[14] 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.[15] 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 dealer's perspective."[16]

Deeper Than Rap (2009)

"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."[17]
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 children.[18][19]
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.[20] 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.[21]

Teflon Don and other works (2010–present)

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 first week.
In November, 2010, rapper and freqient 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".[22] 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".[23]

Personal life

William Leonard Roberts II was born in Coahoma County, Mississippi.[1] and raised in Carol City, Florida, near Miami.[3] After graduating from Carol City Senior High School, he later attended the historically black college Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.[24]

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.[25] Ross initially denied that the photograph was of him;[26] 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.[27] In a 2008 interview with AllHipHop.com,[28] "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.[29]

Legal issues

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.[30]
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.[31]
On June 18, 2010, Freeway Ricky Ross sued Rick Ross for using his name.[32] Freeway Ricky Ross filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ross in a California Federal Court.[32] Jay-Z had been called to testify in the lawsuit, as he was CEO of Def Jam when Ross was signed.[32] The reformed drug kingpin was looking for 10 million dollars in the lawsuit.[32] 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." [33] 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 [34] and his album, Teflon Don, was released on July 20 as scheduled.

Discography

Solo albums

















Collaboration albums

Compilation albums



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