William Leonard Roberts II (born January 28, 1976), better known by his stage name Rick Ross (often stylized as RICK RO$), is an American rapper. Ross founded the record label Maybach Music Group, on which he released his studio albums Deeper Than Rap (2009) and Teflon Don (2010). Ross was also the first artist signed to Diddy's management company Ciroc Entertainment. In early 2012, MTV named Ross as the Hottest MC In The Game.
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 albums.
2006: Port of Miami
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 after its first week. 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.
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.
2009: 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 children.
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.
2010: Teflon Don and other works
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 frequent collabourator, Diddy, who in 2009 signed Ross to a management deal with his Ciroc Entertainment, 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".
2011-present: God Forgives, I Don't
Rick Ross had also announced the release of his next album God Forgives, I Don't, for December 13, 2011, however it was confirmed on November 17, 2011 it has been pushed back for release in 2012.
Rick Ross premiered two songs from his new album "God Forgives, I Don't", titled "You The Boss" and "I Love My Bitches". Along with his music projects, Rick Ross was nominated by The Source as its "Man of the Year".
Rick Ross performed at BET Awards 2011, which aired on June 26, 2011. He also received a nomination for Best Male Hip Hop Artist. In early 2012, Ross was named the Hottest MC In The Game.
God Forgives, I Don't will be in stores July 31st 2012. Ross premiered four songs titled So Sophisticated with Meek Mill, Touch N' You with Usher, Hold Me Back and 3 Kings with Dr. Dre & Jay-Z.
Maybach Music Group Albums