Trilla is coming out in about two weeks. Are the people ready for Trilla?
Oh, you already know. The streets are ready. It’s going to do big things. On March 11, it’s going to be a huge day for the game and a huge day for me and a huge day for my camp. I’m excited.
Was the extra time you got with the album being pushed back good for you?
Of course. We just polished everything. It’s like, I could have not put a date, but why not? I let people see the process. You know, we the best. This is what we do.
How does Trilla compare to Port of Miami?
Port of Miami is a street classic and what I mean by that is that we’re still doing a lot of concerts off that album to this day. With Trilla, I made the concepts bigger, the records bigger, the beats bigger and I gave them new flows. I just tried to keep them with me. It was a process and I learned a lot.
Did anything change for Trilla when Jay stepped down as president of Def Jam?
No, no. I’m a boss. I handle all my music myself. It wasn’t ever a factor if he was there or if he wasn’t when it came to recording the music. Now of course I love being in business with Jay and I still am. He was just at my birthday party a few days ago. I’m proud of Jay-Z. I’m proud of what Jay-Z has done and the barriers he’s overcoming and what he’s doing as a young, Black entrepreneur.
You’ve dropped a lot of freestyles lately. Do you look at those as gifts to the fans?
That’s exactly what they is! It’s not about money when you’re doing mixtapes and freestyles. A lot of times I’ll be in the studio and I’ll have Papa Smirf around me and a few DJs that have been showing me love. I’ll just load up five beats and knock them out and send them out. That’s what it is.
How important is it to reach your fans on the freestyle and mixtape level?
I think that’s the most important. I was in the struggle way longer than I was successful so I still feel like I got a long way to go. I still don’t feel comfortable. Nah, that’s what’s keeping me fresh in the game and keeping me on the streets. On every corner you go, I’m right there and that’s what the definition of being a hustler is about.
On “Dey Know” you talked about how the feds are hacking your Blackberry. The last time we talked you only had a cell phone. Did you upgrade?
Yeah. I got the Blackberry and the iPhone. I got the hook-up.
How’s that working out for you?
I’m still at it, however the bitches can send me nice pussy shots now.
No doubt. On “Girls” you mentioned how you could probably buy Slip N Slide Records. Not that you’re going to buy them, but did you ever think that you would be in a position where you would have that kind of money?
I’ma be honest, man. I struggled so long making music that I had accepted being whatever it was I was gonna be. For it to actually happen, I was blessed to be getting paper on the streets already, so when I got my deal, I didn’t have to go buy a house and whips because I pretty much had it. I pretty much locked it in the bank account. I’m pro-savings. When I made that statement, I made it in a way that I really could buy Slip N Slide. Like, I really could. If they wanted to sell it, I’m pretty sure I coulda bought it. And I love Slip N Slide. I got nothing but love for what they’re doing, not just for Ricky Ross but for everyone that has dreams.
On “Speedin’” you talk about throwing money around, but it seems like you’re much smarter than that with your money. What kind of investments are you looking to make?
I got a fetish, I can’t lie. I smoke a lot of green and I buy a lot of diamonds. I got vices. Hey, I’m not perfect. But I’m making some modest real estate buys. I got a little restaurant. I’m looking at a Burger King later this year. Shout out to Magic Johnson. I’m just looking at doing different things. Me and Birdman are putting a movie together called H and we’re doing an album too. I’m just looking for a lot of different things to transpire, you know, like my label deal for Mayback Music Group. I’m looking for all these things to come into effect at the end of ’08.
When you shout out Magic Johnson, is that because of the role model he’s been or because he’s helped you personally?
Both. My charity was doing some things this past summer and Magic Johnson and his corporation stepped in. He helped the kids get some things and we gave it all out to the kids. Rick Ross was right out there at my old school right across from my old projects. The kids came out and they walked away with bags of shoes and a bunch of different stuff. I expressed interest in kind of following in his path and his entrepreneurship and I let him know. It’s going to get big for Rick Ross in that avenue.
What made you want to cop a Burger King?
It’s just about franchising. I travel a lot and I see what’s everywhere and it don’t take a rocket scientist to get a positive income and right now that’s something that I want to do. I feel like if I could get me one, I could get me 15. That’s just my mentality and that’s just my grind and that’s just my hustle. I might be able to spend a few dollars and get in on the game, learn something new and maybe branch off and open me up a steakhouse or some shit when I get big, fat and old. I can smoke cigars and walk around with my nice watches, sporting all the nice bitches and have nice, tender steaks.
I hope you do that. What kind of financial advice would you offer to the rest of us?
You know, man, it’s just like anything else. You get a little bit of paper, you’re going to fuck something up, so always expect and accept that. But you gotta understand life go on and I would rather be prepared for tomorrow than today. So that’s the way I look at it.
What do you think of the Miami Heat trading away Shaq for Shawn Marion?
Man, I’m pissed off right now. I ain’t gonna front, Shaq, that’s my man, man. We both got our motorcycles built by the same exact dude. I look at it like the city lost a major power-player and big money and a big baller. I hope Shawn Merriman or whatever his name is, I don’t even know. But I know D. Wade and Udonis Haslem. Those are my friends. We talk all the time. Shaq was my partner, but that was what was best for the franchise. I’m a little pissed off but I understand the business. Now if we start winning, I’ll be happy. But if we done traded Shaq and we’re in the same predicament, I’m pissed.
Did you get a chance to party with Shaq before he left?
As a matter of fact, I was at Puff’s crib for the New Year’s, bringing in 2008. It was me, DJ Khaled, E-Class Fat Joe, P. Diddy and Shaq and every other celeb you could name. We was at Puff’s crib. And you know Puff’s got those Chinese security guards, niggas that look like they could jump on the roof of the house from off the ground. He got them. And they be looking at you, watching. I told him he had to let us smoke this year. I didn’t want nobody else to think they could smoke in Puff’s crib, but he gave me the green light and we blew big. Shaq walked up on us and he was like, ‘What’s going on over here?’ We busted out laughing. We walked away and we enjoyed the party. That’s Miami.
Now that Shaq is gone and the Miami Dolphins released Zach Thomas, that makes you the biggest guy in Miami right now.
Of course! I been the biggest even if they was here! I’m in a different aspect of life. And now with them gone, I still got Dan Marino and them that I gotta worry about, but I’ll be patient. I’ll give it another year or two.
As a native Miamian, were you at all embarrassed by the actions of the 1972 Dolphins during the New England Patriots run at almost going undefeated?
No, I wasn’t embarrassed because I know those motherfuckers haven’t been on TV in 20 years. It was a great opportunity to capitalize on that look. It was a great look. I ain’t mad at them. But we are the only motherfuckers to go with a perfect season. The New England Patriots, sit y’all’s ass down and start all over because we are perfect. Believe that.
The 2007 Dolphins only won one game last year.
Yeah, you know, that’s last year. We’re talking about history. Everything becomes history. When we wake up tomorrow, today is history. Yeah, we only won one game last year, but yeah, you know what it is.
Can the Heat turn their season around?
Yeah. I believe those boys are going to do it big. I ain’t even gonna lie, I love the Dolphins and I wish they woulda lost the one game they fucking won. It makes sense. Now we can have a great fucking year and we’re going to get us some money.
You’ve been rumored to be on KRS-One’s new “Stop the Violence 2008” track. Is that going to happen?
I believe it is. When I was blessed with the opportunity to meet the legendary KRS-One, he freestyled for me for like 20 minutes. We talked about a lot of things. He was like, ‘Ross, I know what you represent in the streets and what you talk about. It would mean that much more if you would talk to the kids and tell them to put down the gun and all of that.’ And I let him know sincerely that I was with that. I done had homeboys that were accused of 80 murders and were on America’s Most Wanted. I saw more than my fair share. I saw everybody’s share of homicides in my time. So that’s something that I’m sincere about. I want you to get money. Find a way to get money and stay out of prison and stay away from behind and in front of those pistols.
Have you laid your verse down for that?
No, no. But I actually seen him three or four months ago and he said it was still going on, so we’re going to knock it out.
I’ve been meaning to ask you this since I saw the “Speedin’” video. If I get pulled over by a cop in Miami, can I give them a watch to get out of a speeding ticket?
Of course. That works everywhere!
Do you think they would want my running watch? It’s not as nice as yours.
I ain’t gonna lie, they might arrest you if you pull out a running watch. If you give them that talk, “Officer, I mean, what did you pull me over for? Is it really that serious? Here’s a gift. Go home and eat a steak. Jump in your swimming pool with your kids and enjoy life”, you’ll be all right.
Do the cops bother you more after that video or do they pull you over hoping for a watch?
They always are hoping to get something from me. Usually when they see me I’m in a half-a-million dollar car, so you know what it is.
I guess you could also hope DJ Khaled is in the passenger seat so he can tell the cop, “We the best.”
Yeah, you tell them, “We the best, here go four courtside tickets to the Heat game. I mean, the Heat are playing Carmelo Anthony tonight. Take your wife and enjoy life.” You know? Show ‘em that love.
I might have to move to Miami.
Why not? The city is dope. It’s the greatest city in the world.
What’s going on with your guys Gunplay and Torch?
My label deal is coming in effect later this year. That’s my priority right there.
Where are you trying to take your label?
Once I officially make that deal, I’ll make that announcement. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be able to go wherever we want to go.
What can you tell us about the movie you’re doing with Birdman?
It’s going to be like a new Menace 2 Society.
And you’re acting in it?
Yeah, we the stars.
How’s the whole acting thing working out for you?
It’s all good. You know, I’m a natural with that shit. I just, it’s like I ain’t gotta choice. Let’s go! Let’s shoot the shit! Fuck the script and all! I just know what to say.
So you just improvise?
All the time. That’s every day. I’ll improvise anything. If you put me in a fucking tooth store, I could improvise how to run that shit. All this shit is the same thing. I only know one thing.
It sounds crazy being Rick Ross.
It’s a struggle. It’s a hustle. But I just make the best of it, you feel me?
No doubt. How do you balance what you get yourself into on a day-to-day basis?
Whatever’s going to get me money and whatever I love the most. It’s about my passion and the paper. If it don’t fall under them two then it ain’t gonna get done.
How can your fans get the perfect Rick Ross beard?
You have to go find my barber. He’s named Peter Graham. You have to find him. It’s In Style. That’s the name of the shop. There’s one open in Atlanta. I opened one in Atlanta because I loved it so much. I forget that I owned barber and beauty salons and shit. That shit slipped my mind, man.
How do you forget you own stuff like that?
‘Cause, when that’s not your primary income, your primary income is going to cover that up, you know?
Do you see yourself making that transition one day to where you don’t even rap and just make investments?
That’s the reality for me. I can’t make music forever. But I’m going to keep on making great music. I’m young and I’m fresh in the streets and they’re feeling your boy. I’m going to keep making that hot music, but you know, it’s a reality, so you gotta start doing everything. I just want to be to the point where I can just smoke good and sit back and do what I do.