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Rick Ross’ new album stays true to the South — and features Nas, Future and Wale

The Boss on wanting to see Egypt and the night Trick Daddy got his record deal

It’s been a little more than 10 years since big Rick Ross released his first album, Port of Miami. Now, a seasoned — and slimmer — Ross finds himself sandwiched between two generations of hip-hop. He labels himself a youngster of the previous generation and an “OG” to today’s new wave. Rather You Than Me, his ninth album, and first on Epic Records, marks the return of a subgenre Ross believes the mainstream is both missing and needs — something he calls “big boy” rap. It stays true to his Southern rap foundation and to a brash sound that has cemented his place in the industry. Last week, he released his album’s track list, and the project features Nas, Future, Yo Gotti and Young Jeezy, as well as his Maybach Music Group (MMG) proteges, Wale and Meek Mill.

While Ross has his sights set on a 10th album, it’s no surprise that the founder of MMG, “ambassador” of Luc Belaire sparkling wine, owner of 10 Wingstop franchises, and the host of Thursday night’s 2017 MTVU Woodie Awards is looking to further diversify his endeavors. He’s working on his first independent film, which both he and Gucci Mane will be executive-producing. Ross said they plan to start filming this summer. “Let’s get it out on the streets. Let’s do something dope. Let’s do something big. We finna give it to ’em.”

How do you find out about new music?

I find out from my closest peers around me. My DJ, Sam Sneak. It don’t matter if it’s Lil Yachty or if it’s Three 6 Mafia. If it’s something that came out and it’s dope, he always talks about it, makes sure I’m up on it, and he’ll play it for me.

What was the first concert you went to?

I remember my first real nightlife club event was when Trick Daddy won a rapping contest, that’s when he won his record contract with Luke Records. I was in the crowd when that happened.

Which musical artists inspired you growing up?

I really was a huge fan of Ice Cube. Of course, 2 Live Crew, that whole Southern movement. And those album covers by Run DMC.

Do you have a routine you do before a big performance?

I usually will smoke something real good, sip me some Belaire Rosé. If we backstage, we usually play a little music, keep s— live.

The dream collaboration would be with Lionel Richie.

Is there a place you’ve been wanting to travel to?


Why Egypt?

It’s a lot of history, a lot of culture. As a young brotha, I got to do my own personal research.

Have you ever been starstruck?

Yes, I have. Naomi Campbell. I still would kiss her feet.

Is there a celebrity you would like to meet but haven’t?

The dream collaboration would be with Lionel Richie.

Who is a living person you admire?

[Barack] Obama. He’s just a great example. Great businessman and a great father.

Spirit animal?

The eagle, the golden eagle. That would be Rozay.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

The First 48. It ain’t really nothing to like, it’s actually a bunch of f—— up s— but I try to find something in it. Whatever that is.

Most embarrassing quality?

I do a lot of business talking while on the toilet. Soon as I [wake] up, I call business partners, wake everybody up.

How many times do you eat Wingstop each week?

At the minimum two, on the average like three or four.

The eagle, the golden eagle. That would be Rozay.

Favorite flavor is lemon pepper, right?

Without a doubt. It’s just the best, it’s the bomb.

Are pears still your favorite fruit?

Without a doubt! M—–f—–s just taste good. You love what you love, know what I’m saying?

Choice for NBA MVP?

I’m gonna go with [James] Harden.

How have you changed since Port of Miami first dropped 10 years ago?

I always wanted to make sure I kept the same foundation, which was really being a boss. Being a boss is, at the end of the day, coming back to ownership. Even if you grew up and you was the one sweeping and mopping like all of us was, it still was already inside of you — it’s just up to you to go and get it. When I made records talking big, I was really talking about owning things. Let’s go buy some things, let’s boss up. We could party, we could do that, but let’s live. That’s more important to me than partying on drugs and [having] a good time and all that. Let’s live. Let’s go to the club have a good time and go home to a big a– house with marble everywhere — know what I’m sayin’? Kids running around pissing on the floor and you ain’t even tripping. To me, that’s what being a boss is.

Liner Notes

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Sean Hurd is a writer for Andscape who primarily covers women’s basketball. His athletic peak came at the age of 10 when he was named camper of the week at a Josh Childress basketball camp.