Rap Radar Interview: Rick Ross

Attn: Dumb folks. The following is not the interview I did with Rick Ross for RESPECT. magazine. That was conducted before Ross officially signed Wale, Meek, and Pill and inked up with Warner Bros. for his Maybach Music Group label. This is a phone convo that was recorded last week that focuses on why he decided to pass on mogul pals like Baby and Puff and break bread with Lyor Cohen’s house. What does the future hold for Rozay the mogul and what’s the plan for his ever-growing arsenal of artists? Find out below.

Rap Radar: Why did you ultimately choose Warner Bros. as the distribution home for MMG?
Rozay: Overall it was the best situation for me. Not to go into too many details, it was certain things that were more important than others, and they came to the table. Lyor Cohen, Todd Moscowitz, Joey IE, the whole team, we came to the table and we made it a great situation and I’m looking forward to this year. The decision I made was based on business and what was best for Maybach Music Group and my whole team.

So it was a true bidding war?
Everybody was interested, and some people I may have been closer with than others, but at the same time, they understand the time it took for me to get in this position. I couldn’t afford to leave nothing on the table.

Yeah I think the hip-hop community might not fully understand at this point that you’re more than just an artist, right?
Most definitely. Where I’m going, and where Maybach Music Group is going, it’s most definitely the time to let everybody know that this a brand that’s gon’ be here for a long time. So, you know, just get money.

So when did it click with you that you really wanted to focus on trying to lead as the head of a label?
Ever since I released my first album on Maybach Music which was Triple C’s Custom Cars and Cycles. I started taking more responsibility and really going step through step from the music to all of the business that goes around albums. From the marketing and the handling of the product, I learned a lot. I knew what I needed to really win. So that’s what the focus was just making all the things happen that’ll really put me in a position to win.

So what is your relationship right now with Def Jam? ‘Cause there’s reports that you owe them only one more album and that you’re lookin’ to leave to join your own imprint at Warner.
I’m still signed to Def Jam as a solo artist. I still have another album with Def Jam as a solo artist. When that’s over with, the deal I’mma do for Rick Ross that’s gon’ be like a Albert Pujols situation. On my next shit, I may not even want an advance, I may just want a percentage of the company, you know what I mean? On my Pujols shit.

Are you concerned that since there’s no guarantee that you’ll stay with Def Jam that they’re not gonna properly promote and market the God Forgives, I Don’t album.
Nah, not at all, the people that I work with at Def Jam, they’re winners as well. So you know, we gon’ take advantage of everything we put out, that’s what I believe. With this last album, Teflon Don, all of us developed a bond, and when I brought the last album together and presented it to their team, everybody understood the purpose for each record and for each single. We all handled business and that’s why we got the results we got. I’m not expecting no less.

So basically the decision you made didn’t really have anything to do with you having a fallout with Def Jam, or L.A. Reid in particular, right? You are just making moves as a mogul that you feel are best for your company.
Most definitely. I think that when I see artists who complain on a personal level, it makes them look bad. For one, this is an extremely difficult business and if you think this shit is rainbows—you got the game fucked up. Coming from where I come from and the kind of hustler and entrepreneur that I am, all I request is my lane and gimme that money I need. I’mma bring everything else to the light.

L.A. Reid, always been a good dude, he always cutting checks on time, anytime I made phone calls he was there for me as well as his staff. So it wasn’t about that at all. But most definitely, you know, it’s just about doing what’s best for my company.

You’re making a lot of noise with all these recent signings at MMG. When did you really decide you were gonna really sign artists to your imprint that were outside your personal circle?
Well, my love and passion for making music goes beyond myself so I’ve been in the position where I’ve been able to work with a lot of different artists over time, and I’ve developed a name for being able to put great records together with people. A lot of times I could sit back and look at certain artists situations and always kinda gauge what kind of record, that if I was working with them, I would want to hear.

Now those opportunities have presented itself. With artists such as Wale, I feel he’s one of the dopest lyricists that I’ve worked with. And I think it’s just time to channel all that in the same direction, and I don’t see no problem with that being done. With the music he’s recorded with me in the last three months, I’m excited about muthafuckas really hearing what he’s bringing to the table.

And Meek Mill?
I was on the road, I came into Philly and the streets…it was like the streets almost demanded that I meet this dude. Philly was embracing him from Twitter to the street homies that I knew from Philly.

I got him on the phone, and of course I had him come meet me. He played me his music, we met once or twice after that, and I just felt the energy. Then I heard his story, his struggle, growing up in Philly, the things that he witnessed, his father being slayed, him being incarcerated and coming out. He was really pouring his life into his music, and me hearing his flow and his aggression, I was mesmerized. I understand he’s a self-made dude.

You’ve signed these guys and you’re right in the lab with them, really knocking out records fast. How did the chemistry develop so quickly?
I think it comes from everybody playing their position, and that’s something that we established quick. We gon’ all ride for each other, but we all gotta play our positions. As long as we keep that system, we gon’ win. My key to success is I work hard. That’s the first thing I let artists in on—that’s what Maybach Music is built on. I may sleep two hours a day.

When we get in Swisher Suite studio, we ain’t thinking ‘bout nothing else but hit records. We gon’ drink a little champagne, a little Ciroc, we gon’ smoke good, and we gon’ motivate each other, and we gon’ really create. Create that hot piece, and that’s what it is. It’s no relaxing. Ain’t no beds for niggas, ain’t no beds. It’s pads, it’s ink pens, and it’s beats. We got as many bottles of champagne as you need, and the smoke is unlimited, but other than that, we ain’t relaxing.

He came to the table rocking his gold Rollys and his black diamonds. As a young dude, he may have had five different sets of jewels before he even came into the fold with me. That hustle I automatically connect to and it made it that much more easier for us to make music and talk about the things we talk about.

Talk to me about your latest signing, Pill, who was already signed to Warner, how’d he get moved to MMG?
Yeah we’re the new powerhouse over at Warner and I got an opportunity to look at the roster and Pill was an artist I felt that we should acquire. I’ve been watching him grind for the last 2 years, he was somebody I was a fan of. I like his element of storytelling, the way he presents his rhymes. Especially coming from the A where so much dance music comes from. I most definitely wanted to embrace that.

Let’s go back to Wale, because you know obviously he’s a guy who made a lot of noise through the Internet and mixtapes, and when his debut album came out, it didn’t do so well and he caught a lot of criticism. How do you deal with that, the perception of him? What made you believe that numbers don’t define who he is and the talent that he has?
It’s because I understand his ability, I understand his ideas, I understand the market he’s coming from. You know he’s coming from DC, he’s coming from the DMV. So that wasn’t the strongest area for hip hop artists. And Miami was in that position for a long time. He showed a lot of potential with his album, but I think it wasn’t his time. Maybe the Lady Gaga was a little early, but whatever it was, it doesn’t take away from Wale being a fly young lyrical dude. And that’s what I wanted to capitalize on.
He has a record by the name of “The Andy Warhol Gallery,” and the way he paints pictures, I haven’t really heard anyone do that in a long time. It’s like damn, this shit is so concentrated and his hunger now is even more than before. It’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s gonna be one of the biggest artists this year.

A lot of folks are still concerned and are questioning how Wale’s sound can mesh with the public’s perception of your sound?
It’s not necessarily about our sounds meshing. What we both have in common, is we’re lyricists. We both are storytellers, we’re both great with the wordplay.  And that’s our foundation, that’s our common ground. Other than that he likes different types of music, which I can appreciate. I think that’s what makes it dope.

How much involvement do you feel like you’re gonna have with your artists’ projects? Like should we expect to see you as a featured guest on some singles?
I won’t necessarily say that’s the standard, because it’s not. The records that we bring to the forefront are the records that we feel are the best. And if I’m not on those records, that’s what it is. The records that I bring to the table they may serve a different purpose versus being a single which I’m totally cool with that. Wale got a record now, it’s Wale, Meek, and J. Cole and I did the chorus and it’s just like damn. It’s one of those records, I would love to be on but I’m not. I’m on the chorus but it’s just one of those records that you want to put a verse on. That’s the kind of music we want to make.

Any idea of doing a Maybach Music compilation album to introduce the new movement fully?
I think we will bypass the compilation aspect but we’re gonna be releasing mixtapes. I was on the phone with DJ Drama last night discussing the possibility of a Maybach music, Gangsta Grillz. Like what we could do to make it different, you know. We had a good conversation.

So what is the scheduled rollout for the MMG roster?
It basically boils down to the records determining the setup that we end up doing. Right now, we’re just accumulating music, we’re loading our arsenal up, we’re gettin’ records from everybody. Swizz just sent me a crazy record for Meek Mill. I’m getting in the studio with Mike Dean. But you can expect singles from all the acts in the next three months.

So we’re gonna get a new Rick Ross, Wale, Meek and Pill album this year. Are you on some No Limit shit? Are you concerned with over saturation or anything like that?
No, not at all, I just worry about hit records.

Last question, so are the other moguls still speaking to you even though you went to Warner. Ha! What’s up with Puff and Baby?
Birdman is one of the realest niggas in the game. That’s my blood right there, that’s family right there, that’s my nigga right there. He support me to whatever, you know what I mean. And even though I still got my label deal over at Warner, he still got other opportunities. He want me to fuck with him as well as Puff. So these are dudes that I look up to for any questions I have. I can always go to them and you know they’ve been supportive from day one. I salute them gangstas.

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  • Yes ! Yes! I’m sure its good shit.. shout out to YN!

  • Y.G.R.N.

    great questions, exactly what i’ve been wondering myself. i’m interested to see how this MMG situation unfolds.

  • ya

    dope interview, really wanna see wit these cats r gonna put out wit the maybach movement. specially Wale

  • This cleared up some stuff. Good interview.

  • str8tzmagazine

    i like this interview this is something i was looking for…………shout to Rozay, Wale, ighttttt str8tzmag.com

  • jeezy


  • 5k on my wrist

    ROZAY is the BOSS!!!!

    nigga doing big shit… i know this gonna be a good read

  • Chu Chu

    Ross Is A #Winner #Tigerblood

  • ZoomZoom




    Still think my young bul meek made a bad move.

  • kaoz

    As usual, YN licking ass…a black, smelly fat one at that!!! Is wale credible enough to warrant you making him feel like he signed a jackpot artist. All these artists are simply tax write offs jus as triple c’s (cunts) were….From officer ricky to rozay, the streets are dead the day they embraced this foolery. Fuck Big Meech and all what BMF represents, y’all couldnt even be loyal to Jeezy!!!





    Attn Sellout(This means you Elliot).
    Why didnt you ask Fat Willy the most important question to ask since you on his dick so much lately.
    Why is a nigga who used to be police rapping about stories he read off intake sheets and criminal record sheets, while golden glove checking for contriband in a niggas asshole?

    Even them bias ass question you asked him come off as dickriding man.
    Nobody fucks with these niggas minus the 5 faggots above me and they only stay relevant on the internet because of “journalists” and i use that word lightly, accepting cheque’s to keep these niggas lame assess around.

  • Your mother’s “Friend”

    Mogul ?? smh yn you are worse than flex, the guy took you to one party & you act like the guy took you to the prom , I tried to read the whole thing but it was too cringeworthy ….get of the guy’s nuts , truth is the fans will decide if he’s succesfull or not just give us hot music & stfu

  • ZoomZoom

    kaoz says:
    Thursday, March 03 2011 at 1:57 PM EST
    As usual, YN licking ass…a black, smelly fat one at that!!! Is wale credible enough to warrant you making him feel like he signed a jackpot artist. All these artists are simply tax write offs jus as triple c’s (cunts) were….From officer ricky to rozay, the streets are dead the day they embraced this foolery. Fuck Big Meech and all what BMF represents, y’all couldnt even be loyal to Jeezy!!!



  • still best rite now!!

    somebody ask this nigga why he name his label after a car?

  • kansas

    good job cleartng up wale,,,good interview

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  • puerto-black


  • ZoomZoomDad-Otis

    [email protected]”Birdman is one of the realest niggas in the game.” Guess Officer Roberts never heard Birdman lie about a few things(Being part owner of the Miami Dolphins, Owning a Oil Company, Saying wayne got more $$$ then Jay). Im not suprised this is coming from a guy who said “That C.O. picture was was Photoshopped”.

  • 5k on my wrist

    good ass read

  • the One

    everyday I’m hustling everyday I’m hustling ….

  • 5k on my wrist

    rozay killin da game these niggas hate it hahah


  • 5k on my wrist

    my fav is meek mill overall

  • 5k on my wrist

    there he goooooooooooooo


    rozay a real nigga



  • MinajBangher!

    FUCK this whole movement!!!!GGGGG GGGGG G-UNIT!!!!!

  • i distrust camels

    lol co/sign @ ZoomZoomDad-Otis
    “Birdman is one of the realest niggas in the game.” NO SHIT!
    fuckin´ fat cop

  • Hip Hop Head

    Dope interview YN & RR. I definitely look forward to more.

    #HipHopWontDie #EVER

  • kaoz

    only a fool like YN and this entity known as rapradar can cosign this mediocrity..plus ur only yellow because basedgod took a serious watery number two afer eating pigfeet tacos and urine laced gizzard soup. Meek mills cant write a record to save his life !!

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  • BBoggz

    Officer Ricky is doin big things.

  • PrincePolo

    ” I salute them gangstas.” DEAD

  • B.Dot

    @kaoz: Meek mills cant write a record to save his life
    tell that to the 17thousand fans reciting his shit word for word in Philly fuck boy


  • Truth

    Get off Ross’ dick YN. Every other fucking post on your Twitter is about him too. The dude can pick beats, that’s it. His rapping sucks dick.

  • Ben

    Ha! B.Dot clowned dude. I still think Ross and his crew are super wack. Those 17 thousand are the only fans copping that Meek album…if it ever drops.

  • BiG Hustla


  • kaoz

    B. dot, ur purpose in life is to document a dream you gave up, that shit must suck!!

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  • B.Dot

    yep, now ur visiting my website. see where this is going?…

  • Your mother’s “Friend”

    I just peeped elliot’s twitter & this guy takes dickriding to a whole new level… i mean sure the guy agreed to be on the cover of your lame magazine (that noone reads) but c’mon man have some dignity , be a man & @ B.dot lets be real outside of philly who really knows who meek mills is ?? as for wale the guy had interscope pushing, him a cosign from Jay & Mark ronson & Lady gaga on the hook & still bricked … so please spare us with all this rick ross making major moves nonsense

  • B.Dot

    how would YOU know if the mag is lame if no1 reads it? See the contraction?

    i know who meek is and im from NY. U should get out your basement and travel sometime. i dont expect him to become a household name over night, but at least he has his city and Mid Atlantic on lock. A lot of artist cant say that.

    Stats said, Wale has a strong following. They pack his shows and support the cause

  • Black Shady

    RR stands for Rick Ross now


  • 5k on my wrist

    damn bro when they pandemonium video dropping

  • 5k on my wrist

    we bump meek mill in houston TX nigga

    south west to be exact

  • Word

    Mogul? Has the definition of mogul changed?

    Empire, Mogul, Star, Roster, all these words for a label that has dropped one brick in the Triple Cs album and an album that went gold. I dont see why blogs have high hopes for dude.

    I expect great music from Wale if he dont dumb his shit down, but sales wise? NONE of these dudes selling. AT ALL. Combined 400k. Prolly not even that. They last place forreal.

    Cole rap better than all of them (Killed Wale on multiple occasions like Beautiful Bliss, You Got It, and the joint with Curren$y)

    Roc Nation is way more lyrical
    GOOD Music makes WAAAY better music.
    Shady niggas are way more lyrical, plus they got the sales King backing them.
    YM got the 15 and under group on lock down plus they got the ABC punchline game sewn up.

    I really dont see room for these guys. Maybe they can appeal to the 40 year old journalist demographic. YN they first fan so far.

  • Nathaniel

    lmao @B.Dot

    when will niggas learn… at the end of the day, you lose. (unless of course you’re myself or mac DIESEL)


  • Nathaniel


    on some real shit, as long as these guys get nurtured, are made comfortable enough to channel their ideas and create the music THEY want to make… and get encouraged to do so, they’ll be fine.

    everybody ain’t gone be jay-z in 10 yrs. but these guys are all talented enough to at least make a run.

    now, Pill might have trouble. he’s revisiting the trap of atlanta, and TIP already sewed that entire lane up. that’s not an approach i’d want to take. but that’s just me.

    salute to Ross… i hope MMG brings us some good music over the yrs and after a while we got ANOTHER nigga on jay/puff/birdman/50 level… or somewhere near one of’em.

  • kansas

    [email protected] word i never do internet arguements.. but i swear niggaz dont listen to music ,,,,,u skim thru it ….on beautiful blisss wale went offf but he not a punchline rapppa so he got killed lol…..
    “Peep me how I’m raising up the capital for Nathan,Capital I’m raising like I’m through punctuating
    Or shift keys or it I placement ’cause,Shift the keys get your capital raised up ” lol

    relisten to you go it …i personally think he got cole…”like my remy with no juice u a lot like bishop, 100k in 22hr,if money talk yall mufuckaz is boomhower” on on

  • Word

    Overall though the interview was cool.

    At least you aint ask no generic ass questions.

    Ross getting too ahead of himself though.

    He said he learned after putting out Triple Cs album right? He shouldve learned, “I shouldnt be a label head” cuz that shit flopped. But, we’ll see. I expect quality music but if your “quality music” aint selling, you aint gonna be putting out any music later on.

    And cosign the dude that said they turned on Jeezy. Jeezy was like Ross, street anthems, everybody feeling him, dude had the streets on lock, expecially after the Recession which showed niggas his politcal side and different subject matter other than trapping. Lose My Mind got heavy rotation, but they turned on Jeezy quick.

    Its a cycle, only a matter of time before they turn on Ross too

  • Nathaniel


    it’s 45 million black people in america alone. like 350 million people period. there’s room. lol, just gotta get to the market. who knows… i mean outside of kanye good music is doomed, commercially.

    j.cole… if his single doesn’t chart, he’ll be right back on the shelf. jay is gonna keep winning.

    and slaughterhouse will never sell. yelawolf will prolly be a star though.

  • Your mother’s “Friend”

    Lmao @ Word truer words have never been spoken

  • KB

    An entertaining, informative and professionally conducted interview. Thanks YN!

  • Word


    The fuck you talking about? Cole dont do punclines like that either. Dont go assuming shit just cuz I aint like your favorite rappers verse on a song where I feel like Cole got his ass.

    I aint say Wale verse wasnt good, I BEEN caught on to that capital, keys, line. I was impressed. But thats it, and then it was at the END of the song. You aintr get that “Sunset, Sunrise” like from Cole did you? Plus Cole had a way better flow through out the song. Cole 3 Wale 0

  • Mr. Paul

    Great interview. I wish the best for Ross and his new label deal. I don’t understand why you guys can’t be happy for this black man making moves. Keep it doing your thing Ross!

  • Word


    Real talk, Em got the kind of fans that’ll buy anything with his name on it. Case in point? D12. You would NEVER think them niggas would sell. I know that was then, but still. If those albums came out now itd be gold.

    As for GOOD, imean your right outside of Kanye they doomed but you never know. Big Sean may make a splash. And CUDI has two critcally acclaimed, GOLD albums right now.

    Your right about Cole though. Thats why i keep pushing for dude. Dont want him to get shelved and then who im left to listen to?

  • 5k on my wrist

    i’m burning copies of all of maybach mixtapes for my niggas right now

    got that ashes to ashes on a tape by itself

    imma support that mmg when them masterpieces is ready to drop



  • james

    look at all them faggots

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  • Donn


    And we talking record sales now???? Thought they didn’t matter??
    OHHHH but we’re talking about a rapper you don’t like so now record sales matter


  • Nathaniel


    hahaha yeah i feel you about that D12 thing. we gotta make sure this nigga cudi don’t OD (i kno thats fucked up to say) or some shit, and as for cole….

    God let that nigga make a hit record. Hov is watchin’

  • Word


    Figure out WHOSE sales we’re talking about first, then come back.


    Right. But we all know as soon as he make a hit, some of these backwards ass hip hop fans gonna start hating him. Fuck it though, Cole gonna bang that hit out. As long as he got Jay with him. All he gotta do is make a On to the Next One type record. It dont gotta be no RnB type shit even tho thats cool too.

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  • Donn


    I’m speaking in general, its about the quality of music if i’m not mistaken right????

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  • Anonymous

    Wale killed J.Cole in you got it and rather be with you was a tie between him and Cole in my own opinion..because wale got killed on Beautiful bliss does not make him a wack rapper..most of y’all commenting obviously never listened to wale’s songs other than that beautiful bliss track and I think that shit is wack…You obviously have not listened to Family Affair,Ice and Rain,The Kramer,The meeting e.t.c That guy is one of the best lyricist i’ve heard in d game..He makes me think so hard..before you can understand what he saying you must be deep..for me he has one of the craziest wordplays,His art of story telling his fantastic and finally he is a very wonderful poet.I guess most of those niggas saying he wack are shallow minded dudes…And I agree with Rick Ross on him being ”one of the best lyricist he has ever worked with”

  • LA

    Sales and quality=Great artist. u need both to even beconsider. and sale only matter if ur mainstream or pop tho
    Dope interview by tha way

  • Word


    From a consumers stand point, yes. But we’re discussing the label in this post. Try and keep up. I have already stated that numerous times. We talking about MMG, not Rick Ross.

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  • Citylivin’

    Rick Ross is “Charlie Sheening” right now and all I see is the left over bitter G-Unit bitches hating every Ross post smh….i mean damn 50 is “Charlie Sheening” too, just not musically right now…….
    ……….and why are we talking about album sales? do any of y’all work at labels?….most the niggas that’s selling mad records have albums that aren’t listenable or worth playback……i could care less how low the sales are,if I can keep listening to it that’s all the matters….i still got “Attention Deficit in rotation.

  • Droopy


    Isn’t Rick Ross worried about a C&D Re: MAYBACH Music????
    It’s one thing where a drug dealer sues you for their name…a whole other thing when an established registered trademarked company comes in ESP with the logo being based on the original.

  • mike

    WHAT HE MEANT BY Albert Pujols SHIT ???

  • your pusha


  • Coastin

    I’m waiting for the Ross of course..but I’m really waiting on that Wale cause I feel he gonna really win people over this year. Meek Mills can fill that Philly void because they have not had someone reppin for them mainstream wise in a minute. Masspike Miles will have the females on lock wit his r&b…not sure about Pill, he a trap rapper from ATL so he not exactly original.

  • Coastin

    co-sign anonymous who posted @ Thursday, March 03 2011 at 5:36 PM EST

    wale is a great story teller and a real emcee not just a rapper and he’s one of the few new artists that could go into poetry if he wanted to. People need to listen to his last couple of mixtapes and if there still not convinced then I don’t know what to say. Rozay made a big move in acquiring Wale…niggas are gonna see soon enuff.

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  • Belize

    Not surprised. sigh @Yellow One, sigh.


    I love all these fake-ass internet thugs. Haters gon’ hate. watcha gon’ do?

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    ross is garbage
    G-Unit >

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  • tha truth is…

    I like Ross but damn 99.999% of his songs consist of artificial lifestyle stories and material things. How many white ppl gonna buy there records cuz it sure aint black ppl. If u aint a mainsteam rapper u betta pray heavily on touring

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