For years now, Freeway Rick Ross, the real life drug dealer upon whom rapper Rick Ross bases his stage persona and kingpin image, has been trying to nail Ross (the latter) for making millions by selling his music under an appropriated drug lord persona. Last week, a California judge dismissed Freeway Rick’s most recent appeal, citing the rapper’s creation of original works that only used the name as a jumping-off point. Freeway Rick was not amused.
In a statement issued following the judge’s rejection of his appeal, the real Freeway Rick Ross remarked: “There is a teachable moment about the state of our community when a man who has a respectable job as a correctional officer, has to recreate himself in my former image as a large-scale kingpin to gain what he feels is social acceptance as a successful man.” Though Freeway Rick’s indignation does have a point here, he misunderstands Ross’ motivations. Ross was never thinking about perceived social acceptance as a successful man. He was thinking about actual success. And he actually achieved it by making insane amounts of money because he understands the fan inclination to want to believe that artists’ music reflects a truthful depiction of their lives.
Hip-hop culture has always been based on the appropriation and re-interpretation of communal objects from the past. It’s called sampling. And hip-hop artists have been doing it in with their stage personas forever, pretending to be harder and more dangerous than they actually are. So when Ross took on the symbolic identity of a historical drug dealer, he was doing just that: “sampling” someone else’s life and then turning it into something new. And that is exactly why Rick Ross’ recent lawsuit against LMFAO for interpolating the lyric “Every day I’m hustlin” from his 2006 song “Hustlin” is so ironic, because when LMFAO jokingly altered that line, they were doing the exact same thing. Though Ross’ lawsuit states that LMFAO’s similar lyric is “an obvious attempt to capitalize on the fame and success of “Hustlin,” the reality of the situation is a bit more nuanced.
Hitting iTunes in time for the album premiere, The Gifted can now be streamed in full on Apple’s music service. The album is the follow-up to Wale’s highly successful label debut Ambition, and having heard it ourself we can tell you firsthand it’s a great listening experience. Whether you’re a longtime listener or casually clicking through, visit iTunes and stream The Gifted today.
Maybach Music Group member Wale is back in the OurStage headlines today following the release of the video for his latest single, “Street Runner.”
Taken from his December 2012 mixtape release, Folarin, “Street Runner” is a Beat Billionaire-produced track that pairs perfectly with the extravagant lifestyle detailed in the music of Maybach Music Group. The visuals feature Wale and a few pretty faces enjoying the night life, which isn’t exactly a new concept, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Click “play” below to enjoy the video for “Street Runner.” (more…)
Last week, Maybach Music Group made big waves when they announced some serious plans for 2012 that include a new Reebok clothing line with Swizz Beatz, three summer release dates for MMG artists and a surprising new addition to the team.
Rick Ross was joined by Warner Bros. and Def Jam Recordings executives Steve Bartels, Todd Moscowitz and Lyor Cohen, who spoke quite highly of The Boss.
When I got a chance to meet him, I saw someone that was going to be undeterred in achieving the success that he has, said Cohen. He’s not satisfied. There’s no stopping him. I’m so grateful that I’m associated with him and that the Warner Bros. label is associated with him. The possibilities that Rick and Maybach Music are going to bring is going to be, in my mind, unprecedented.
Swizz Beatz hit the stage to announce his partnership with Ross on a Big & Tall clothing line for Reebok. He’s going to lead the big and tall movement, said Swizz. There’s a limit with clothes that stops at a certain point. With Ross, everything has to be custom made. I felt that instead of just doing a regular sneaker, we give Ross his own big and tall line.
Pill is making headlines in more ways than one this year. First, for his end of the year Twitter rant against his label, Warner Music Group, then with the revelation that he is NOT part of MMG. Now, he’s announced a new album with Killer Mike and Outkast‘s Big Boi is in the works.
On December 28, the Atlanta-based rapper took to Twitter to air his beef with Warner, who he says failed to push his album. I bet u can name you favorite artist and the turn on the TV and see the video and hear it on the radio. It’s not rocket science,” he vented. Despite major media hype on the heels of his uber-successful 2009 mixtape, 4180: The Prescription, his 2009 deal with Warner never resulted in a full-length album. Instead, a string of mixtapes and features followed. He was featured on the cover of XXL‘s 2010 Freshman 10 issue alongside J. Cole, Nipsey Hustle and Jay Rock, among others, and gave a great showing during the 2011 BET Awards cypher. Still, no album, and no major radio push. To have all that set in stone, I thought it would’ve been pushed a little bit harder, went a little bit further, but it didn’t,” he said.
In February 2011, Maybach Music Group insinuated that Pill was their latest signee. He was featured on the MMG compilation album, Self-Made, Vol. 1 and posed alongside the Maybach Music crew on XXL’s October cover. Still, the rapper says despite speculation, he was never signed to the imprint.
I never signed any paperwork with Ross. It was just my deal was over at Warner already,” Pill told MTV News last Tuesday. “I never really went on tour with them; I never really did anything with them,” Pill said. “The only time I performed on tour with them is when it stopped in Atlanta. They still showed love to a n—a when it was time to go to Vegas, or Cali, you know, whatever the label had put together for us to be on as a whole.”
Now, Pill and his attorney want to dissolve their deal with no word of where he’s going next. They do plan, however, to release his latest mixtape, The Epidemic within weeks. While he’s clearly peeved with Warner, Pill says he’s not mad at Rick Ross.
“I ain’t got nothing against none of them, nobody. It’s just the situation don’t work,” Pill said matter-of-factly. “It’s cool with us, I don’t got nothing against Ross either. It’s just I don’t talk to him. Despite the it’s all good attitude, there seems to be some lingering disdain on Pill‘s part. I ain’t really got too much to say to somebody that ain’t got too much to say to me. I’m not a brownnose, I ain’t a punk ass n—a and I’m not finna go trying to chase behind somebody that ain’t sayin’ nothing to me.” Ross isn’t too concerned, as he’s busy promoting his latest mixtape, Rich Forever, which hit the streets Friday.
Now, Pill is busy making music with two of his hometown’s heavyweights, Killer Mike and Big Boi. In February, the trio teased a possible group formation to fans. After eleven months of crickets on the subject, it looks like the plan may be coming together after all.
“We working, we thinking about dropping a tape, honestly ’cause me and Big and all us we done did records already,” Pill told MTV’s Rap Fix Live last week. We thinking about droppin’ a tape and then droppin’ an album. We already workin’, we getting’ it in. It’s a full-time grind,” he said. “Them two are rap greats and for them two to actually want to do a project with me, it’s unbelievable.”
Even with endorsements from some of hip hop’s most respected rappers, Pill still feels he has something to prove. “For other people to try to think that I’m not lyrical enough or I’m not as good a rapper”you got guys that everybody looks up to as rappers doin’ a project with me,” he said. “So you know I’m just ready for that sh– to actually take off so we can show people what hip hop look like in the flesh.”