Rick Ross sits down for an exclusive interview with HNHH, where he explains that he’s made time for his album “Richer Than I Ever Been,” his sprawling Georgia mansion, his role as an elder statesman in hip-hop, and much more.
Ross‘s aura shines, even if it’s not in sight. “What’s going on, what’s going on?” the cheerful baritone voice echoes off-camera as he steps into the frame with an already illuminated Swisher Sweet in his hand. he’s obviously in high spirits, breaking his publicist’s girl’s dorm hoodie while donning a red and black Maison Hideoki sweatshirt. “Are we making fun of the Deltas? We rock with the Deltas. We see you,” he says with a grin on his face.
It’s a Thursday morning in late January and HBCUs are fresh on Rick Ross’ mind. After all, they did have a significant role in putting the Boss in his current position. The night before our call, Ross attended DJ Hemp’s 25th anniversary of Demp Week in Tallahassee, simultaneously serving as a celebration for the release of Richer Than I Ever Been.
The trips to Tallahassee – a city that had a prospering rap scene in Florida during the peak popularity of Miami Bass – expanded Ross’ name through the state. HBCUs have historically played a significant role in breaking up-and-coming artists. Events like those held during Demp Week were opportunities for budding stars, hustlers, and students to expand their network in one of the most influential demographics in America. T-Pain, for example, was blazing hot locally before an opportunity with Akon’s Konvict Muzik came about. “I’m Sprung” became a starting point for Pain’s revolutionary impact with vocoder filters but Ross watched his career unfold during his trips to Tallahassee in the early 2000s. “That’s why I preach about networking to these youngsters,” he says. “Because the hardest working mothafuckas in the room right now, that’s who you gon’ be seeing at the top.”
“This is a reflection of me in the back of my mind when I think of Rich Forever,” says Ross, just days after the 10-year anniversary of his 2012 critically-acclaimed mixtape. “I stayed away from my big beats, and as much of my playful rhymes, and I went straight directly to get my point across on whatever it is I was doing,” he continues.
One could argue that the true measure of wealth isn’t determined by money but by the most invaluable asset of all – time. And the luxury of time isn’t afforded to every artist. Some have fizzled out. Others lose their footing. However, an artist’s consistency can turn the trust of a fanbase into a currency – and these profits seemingly create time, allowing the artist to turn their long-standing vision into a masterpiece. “You got to remember, the music still comes first. That’s most important,” he says, “So, that determines when it’s released.” That’s rare leverage for any artist but Ross has earned the right to move at a pace of his own. Everyone is on standby, waiting for the Boss to pull the trigger. “That’s the best thing any team can tell me,” he adds.
“I remembered when I cut it down to 64 [songs], and I was like, ‘okay, out of these , I’m going to pick twelve,’” he recalls. “You got to understand that I got some of the biggest n***as in the game that I know, but it wasn’t about that. Let’s give them this. N***as know we could call up the big homies and blow up a f***** building in the background with Little X as the director. N***as know we could do that. That’s easy. I can do that out of my pocket; I don’t even need the label for that. I could fuckin’ get Spider-Man to come in and do the f***ing –,” he says with his arms extended towards the camera, mimicking Spider-Man’s web-slinging superpowers, “Like, the real [Spider-Man]. That’s the homie, but it ain’t about that. Let’s go back and sit down with some n***as and do ‘Rapper Estates,’ let’s do ‘The Pulitzer.’”
Thank you HNHH for interview