Hip-Hop is a genre that is known for being real. Rick Ross is a rapper known for fabricating his image, yet he still manages to remain one of the hottest rappers in the game. Having a great ear for beats and being able to tell beautiful stories over them is an undeniable talent of his. Between his latest beef with real street gangs and rape related lyrics, how does Rick Ross manage to overcome his shenanigans? I think it’s a mix between him actually being a good rapper, that Boss character of his, and the fast-talking he does, that keeps him on top.
Rick Ross came into the game with his hit “Hustlin,’” spitting big drug talk. His stage name is even taken from the man who allegedly popularized crack cocaine. He had us fooled for some years, until the truth unfolded with that infamous picture of him in a Correctional Officer suit. When once asked to explain, all he said was “the truth is sinister.” He then came out with one of his most well received albums Deeper Than Rap, forcing us to forget all about it. Ross then continued on, starting his own empire, MMG, with a squad of talented rappers, and even became Grammy nominated for his album God Forgives, I Don’t. But the questioning of his street credibility did not end. Ross found himself immersed in problems with real gangs, like the Gangster Disciples, due to his mention of street legend Larry Hoover, on his smash “B.M.F.” Again when asked about this he simply talked in circles, using key words like “loyalty,” “respect,” “gangsta” and mentioning things about beautiful women. This tactic that he takes in interviews is a part of his Boss persona, and it typically tricks the masses into believing he’s real, but it has me thinking that he may be a sociopath. It’s fair to say, we may never know the ‘real’ Rick Ross, because he never slips up and comes out of character. As much as he gets called out by rappers like Young Jeezy and 50 cent, who allegedly lived street lifestyles, there seems to be no stopping him. Even a barrage of bullets aimed at his car can’t budge Rozay.
Ross’ most recent scandal is centered around his featured verse, on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O,” an undeniable knock, but to many the self proclaimed Boss takes away from that with this bar: “Put Molly all in her champagne/she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/she ain’t even know it.” Sounded like date rape to me, and apparently the masses agreed. There was constant media outcry, rappers like Talib Kweli have, and continue to take a stand tweeting: “Ross needs love and education on this issue. He has a platform that can be used for good, especially if he takes responsibility here.” As the backfire continued Ross decided to address this issue the way he always does, using his go-to words like “boss” and “respect” to justify this bar. During an interview in New Orleans, he addressed the issue by repeating, “MMG and the Boss don’t condone rape” and “the word rape, was never used.” It seemed as though Rozay was not going to get away with this, and a radio station in Michigan, even decided to ban the song. What the people received for their concerns was a far from genuine twitter apology from Ross: “I don’t condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS. Apologies to my many business partners, who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics@ultraviolet.” Still using “Boss”, and mentioning his sponsors, as if it was something he was forced to do. Just as fast as the controversy has started, it seems to be dying down, with the exception of a group of rape survivors demanding that Reebok drop Rick Ross from their sponsorship deal. Perhaps, it’s about time that the masses stand up to Rozay’s persona, and demand realness, but obviously he’s not budging, and we are obviously backing down. He’s still in heavy rotation on every radio station and highly regarded in the blogosphere. This allows him to constantly comes off as if he doesn’t owe rap fans an explanation, because he’s such a Boss.
What’s next for Rozay? I think he will ride on with this Boss character until the wheels fall off. I also think that his next album Mastermind will make everyone forget what he said in that controversial line. With that said, a genre that is supposed to portray the actual lives of its artist has been tainted by his fraudulence and there is no turning back from it. We cannot deny that the music is good, and his business tactics are impeccable, and that’s what keeps him rich. But we can demand a little more honesty and responsibility from the big guy.