Rick Ross has developed a musical signature built on louche bombast and cinematic drama. His latest album, the recently-released Hood Billionaire, maintains the high standards to which all bosses must aspire.
But what artists, songs, and albums helped form the Ross perspective? EW caught up with the Bawse for a conversation about his musical development, his rap obsessions, and his plan for the most badass funeral in hip-hop history.
The Music I Grew Up With
“There was a lot of music around the house. My mom would play music all day and night. She had one of those huge old school big long eight track players where you could play the record and the eight track player. The shit would take up more than half the wall. I think it was really fly back in the ’70s. She most definitely played jazz and the blues. I don’t even believe it was R&B back then, but it was Tyrone Davis and Bobby Womack and Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly. That’s what I was growing up listening to the most. At first, I felt it was a little torturous, but after you spend so many summers driving cross country listening to it, you actually grow fond of it. Now on my off time I listen to more of that R&B music than hip-hop.”
The First Song I Was Obsessed With
“Right now, I want to say, ‘We Want Some Pussy,’ by 2 Live Crew. I was maybe in the third grade, and that shit hit my elementary school like a f—ing hurricane. On the playground, I’d hear, ‘Hey! We want some pussy!’ It was set up in the way where if you heard it the first time, it was in chant form where you knew you could join in on the first line. If I had to pick one group or one name that represented Miami music, I’d say 2 Live Crew.”
The First Album I Bought With My Own Money
“It’s kind of blurry. I just think back to the first place I used to buy records at, and then I try to sift through there. I had my favorite record spot. It was at a flea market. That’s a popular spot in Miami. There’s shoes over here, a barber over there, food over here, music right here, a jeweler right here. You wanted to go there and see all the sexy chicks and fly cars outside. I[‘d walk up there, or if I had some money I’d catch the bus up there and I’d buy my cassettes and my records. I just remember lots of 2 Live Crew.”
The Music That Made Me Want To Rap
“I was young. When I was watching 2 Live Crew videos and listening to the music, that didn’t make me say, ‘I want to rap.’ I loved watching the girls, but that wasn’t me. I wasn’t the party type. I loved the music, but that just wasn’t my lifestyle. When west coast music began to emerge, I thought, ‘This is what I see. This is what’s going on where I’m from.’ I felt like NWA was most definitely describing what was going on in my neighborhood. I was a youngster, but I was seeing these things coming from Carroll City, in the middle of Miami. I was heavily influenced by the east coast fashion—the style, the jewels, the cars. That’s such a huge part of the culture and the game, and a lot of people don’t understand that. West coast was more about the actual statements that they wanted to get across, that vibe, the feeling. New York was always about some fly shit. When I think of the early east coast that made it to Miami and influenced my generation, of course the music was phenomenal, but the style was second to none. Like Slick Rick, when I saw that—when I where jewels now, that’s just me staying in touch with what I saw back then. I remember an MC I really liked, and he didn’t put out a lot of music, but his name was Cool C, and he was from Philadelphia. He had this song ‘I Gotta Habit,’ and they had the silk sweatsuits on with the suede Ballys, and west coast wasn’t wearing that. They weren’t into Bally shoes. They were in all black and talking about pistols. I just kind of absorbed all of it and took what I loved the most.
The Song I’m Most Proud Of
“Of course, you love the work you put out, but over time when you see the reaction it draws from fans, and that’s what makes you put it that much higher to the top. ‘Rich Forever.’ Of course ‘Maybach Music I.’ Of course ‘BMF.’ I just ran out on stage to do the ‘BMF’ record, and the mosh pit was just thousands.”
Music That Reminds Me Of Miami
“Other than my music, of course, I would have to tell you Trick Daddy, that Thugs Are Us album, or the very first one. That’s that uncut pure Miami street shit. That is so dope. Trick Daddy is underrated. I went out on tours with Trick early on, and I was featured on two or three of his albums. He was always a motherf—er you could depend on to give you some street anthems. I always loved him. Still love his music.”
Music That I Love That Might Surprise People
“I don’t know. People may know my infatuation with Sade. I believe they may know that. There’s never been a bad Sade track. I love all different sides.”
Song That Reminds Me Of A First Love
“I remember the first time I walked into a strip club and fell in love. I walked into the strip club and I was a little young. I wasn’t even supposed to be in this strip club. This was in Miami, and they knocked it down but at the time it was called Bootleggers. It was right in the middle of Carrol City. They finally let me in the door, and as soon as I walked in the door the shit was just like a movie. Everything else just went into a blur. All I saw was this beautiful female. She was spinning around the pole, and all she’s got on are these glass clear heels. And all I heard was a song called ‘Pretty Brown Eyes’ by a group called Mint Condition. I think I might have had 40 dollars on me, and the dances were five, and I gave them my 40 just off the rip. I told them, ‘You just let me when I can’t go on.’ For some reason, as much shit as I have forgotten, I never forgot that.”
Song I Want Played At My Funeral
“Whatever the biggest record is in 2061. Whatever is number one at the time, that’s what I’m going out on. On top, baby!”