Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Sneakerheads love Air Jordans. Sure it’s an obvious statement but sometimes it has to be reiterated just to further cement the legacy Michael Jordan and the influence his sneakers have had on the culture. One the most culturally significant Air Jordans is the Jordan 12 “Flu Game” which will forever live in infamy thanks to Jordan’s otherworldly playf performance while suffering from a stomach bug. 

Now, Jordan Brand is updating the “Flu Game” color scheme by replacing the red features with royal blue ones. This has given way to the Air Jordan 12 “Game Royal” which is set to drop tomorrow: Saturday, September 21st. It’s an incredibly clean colorway that Jordanheads are excited to get their hands on. If you’re planning to cop, it’s important to know what your options are and we’ve got you covered. 

According to Sneaker News, the shoe is going to cost $190 USD and will be released at various retailers. Some the shops carrying the shoe are Finish Line, East Bay, Dicks Sporting Goods, JD Sports, the Nike webstore, and, course, the SNKRS App. The shoe will be available as 10 AM EST across all these different platforms.

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Air Jordan 12 "Game Royal" Officially Drops Tomorrow: How To Cop

Nike

Two Members Abruptly Depart the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)

Earlier this week, the recently-named Mechanical Licensing Collective  — just to get off the ground.

That included a $37.25 million tranche of cash before the MLC’s opening day.  Another $29 million was requested for the first year of operations, leading to a hefty $66.25 million startup ask.

We’d report on the second year (2022) funding request, though the figure was blacked out of the Collective’s official submissions document to the U.S. Copyright Office.  Other details, including salaries for a sizable staff in well-appointed offices, were also blacked out.

Now, it appears that two separate MLC board members are jumping ship.  The details are just emerging and remain unconfirmed, though it appears that two members — one representing indie songwriters and the other on the publishing side — are out of the organization.

We’ve contacted David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), for clarification on the departures.  The NMPA’s EVP & General Counsel Danielle Aguirre has also been contacted, as well as the MLC’s newly-appointed PR company, Jaybird Communications.

According to one source, the departures aren’t related to the recent budgeting proposal or any internal disagreement.

In one case, a conflict of interest has arisen, while another is reportedly recusing his/her position because of a serious health issue.  We’ll hopefully have more clarification before the weekend on the exact reasons, as well as the identities of the departing board members.

Meanwhile, some less-than-savory details are also surfacing on back-channel discussions involving major streaming providers like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music.

The mega-streamers will be paying the bill for the MLC’s creation and operation, which helps to explain the lofty $66.25 million demand. According to one insider, the Mechanical Licensing Collective and its major publishing backers aren’t expected to receive that figure, but are starting at $66.25 million as a negotiating tactic.

Separately, executives at streaming platforms are grumbling that major publishers are requesting that matched mechanical payments to songwriters and publishers be temporarily frozen while the MLC gets formed. That means that songwriters and publishers making claims on past mechanical licenses could face extreme delays so that payments can be routed through the MLC at a future point.

Back to the departures… it’s unclear who gets to determine the board member replacements.  It’s highly likely that Israelite will attempt to slot the replacements, though much will depend on what the Music Modernization Act (MMA) stipulates.

More as this develops.

Black Moon Reveals "Rise Of Da Moon" Album Tracklist & Cover Art

Buckshot, 5 FT and Da Beatminerz’s DJ Evil Dee — collectively known as Black Moon — have revealed the tracklist and cover art for the trio’s upcoming reunion album, Rise Of Da Moon. 

Along with the announcement, Black Moon has also shared a visual for “Black Moon Rise,” one of the 15 new tracks on the upcoming project.

“It’s all thanks to my Duck Down family and everybody that participated in making this project come to light,” Buckshot said in a statement, while 5 added, “I would like to salute and thank all my champions for all of their support and energy for all this time and for sparking the motivation to what we bring y’all today.”

In June, Black Moon returned with their first visual in 16 years titled “Creep Wit Me.” They celebrated the 25th anniversary of 1993’s Enta Da Stage last year.

As far as Rise Of Da Moon guest features go, the trio has recruited Method Man, Smif-N-Wessun and Tek, among others. The album is expected to arrive on October 18. Pre-orders are available here.

In the meantime, check out the “Black Moon Rise” video above and the tracklist and cover art below.

Black Moon Reveals "Rise Of Da Moon" Album Tracklist & Cover Art

1. Creep Wit Me
2. Da Don Flow
3. A Haaa
4. Pop Off
5. Ease Back f. Method Man & General Steele
6. Impossible f. Smif-N-Wessun
7. Black Moon Rise
8. Children Of The Night f. Rockness Monsta
9. Glory
10. General Feva
11. Look At Them
12. At Night
13. Pay Back
14. Roll Wit Me f. Tek
15. Time Flys

Antonio Brown Released By New England Patriots: Twitter Reacts

The New England Patriots have decided to release Antonio Brown amid a number f the field issues, including the rape allegations filed against him by his former trainer.

The Patriots issued the following statement on Friday afternoon: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

Following the stunning announcement, Brown simply tweeted, “Thank you for the opportunity @Patriots #GoWinIt.”

The Pats signed the 31-year old All Pro receiver less than two weeks ago and he made his debut with the team last Sunday in Miami, where he caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. AB was previously cut by the Oakland Raiders ahead their season-opener following a tumultuous f-season during which he refused to play without a specific helmet, which led to a heated altercation with the team’s general manager, Mike Mayock.

Most recently, AB has been accused by a second woman ual assault and sending her threatening text messages, which prompted another investigation by the NFL.

Despite his undeniable production on the field, Brown’s issues f the field simply aren’t worth the headache. If it couldn’t work with a well run franchise like the New England Patriots, than what other team is there?

Check out some the instant reactions to the latest AB news below.

21 Savage Dresses Down Next To Rihanna At Savage X Fenty Show

When he attended Rihanna’s Diamond Ball a few weeks ago, 21 Savage was dressed to the nines. He rocked a dapper suit with all the right accessories, shining hard on the red carpet. A number other stars were also present at the gathering, putting on their best gowns and suits for the event. RiRi has been keeping herself busy, throwing another bash during New York Fashion Week for her inclusive Savage X Fenty lingerie line. The show pulled rave reviews and it’s currently live to stream on Amazon. 21 Savage was in the crowd and he did his part in promoting the online release the show, plugging it on his socials with a joint selfie with the pop star.

This morning, Rihanna found herself in the headlines because the Amazon news, as well as some controversy after her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown slid into her comments box yet again with some flirtatious remarks. With the amount press circulating around the release her new lingerie collection, Rih didn’t exactly need the extra promotion from 21 Savage but it’s not a bad thing at all. The two posted up for a quick selfie (which admittedly looks a little uncomfortable). Savage is dressed down in a plain white t-shirt and black jeans while Rihanna, who stands next to him, is in an extravagant gown. Their facial expressions are both a little awkward but all in all, they look happy to be in each other’s presence.

Take a look at the shot below and be sure to check out Savage X Fenty on Amazon.

Future & Drake Share BTS Video From "WATTBA" On Album Anniversary

It’s one the best modern-day collaborative albums to have come out the hip-hop genre. When Drake and Future teamed up to release What A Time To Be Alive, nobody quite knew what to expect. Some fans believed this was a cheap way to replicate the success Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne but ultimately, both projects have gone down in hip-hop history. Drizzy and Pluto have undeniable chemistry. Every time they link up in the studio, magic is made. WATTBA is a modern classic. On its birthday, Fewtch decided to let his supporters in on what happened behind-the-scenes during the creation the body work, sharing a video on his socials today.

“4 years ago today,” wrote the Atlanta icon, tagging his Canadian homie in the caption. Private conversations between the two rappers, producers DJ Esco and Metro Boomin, and more can be heard as Future marvels over how this album never should have been. Noting that they were in the midst “changing the game,” Future was confident about the album hitting. “We never, ever thought this would happen,” he said. “This shit shouldn’t have ever happened. Who let it happen? There are so many questions.”

Clearly, Drake and Future knew what they were sitting on at the time. Revisit What A Time To Be Alive on its anniversary today and let us know your favorite song f it.

Taxstone’s Murder Trial Gets Date

New York, NY – Daryl “Taxstone” Campbell is reportedly heading to trial this fall for the May 2016 murder of Troy Ave’s bodyguard Ronald “Banga” McPhatter. According to AllHipHop, the trial kicks off in New York City on November 12.

The former media personality is facing a life sentence for a fatal shooting inside Irving Plaza during a T.I. show. At one point during the event, a fight erupted between Campbell and Troy Ave backstage.

Troy was caught on camera pulling Campbell out of the green room while firing off shots as the frightened crowd scattered.

Police eventually discovered a gun in Troy Ave’s van and determined it was the weapon used to kill McPhatter. During the investigation, police found Campbell’s DNA on the handgun’s trigger, handgrip and magazine. Troy Ave’s DNA was also detected on the firearm.

Campbell was charged with second-degree murder by the State of New York in July 2018. He’s currently behind bars on federal gun charges.

Troy Ave, on the other hand, was originally arrested while still in the hospital recovering from his leg injury and charged with second-degree murder as well as criminal possession of a weapon.

In June 2016, it was downgraded to attempted second-degree murder and four counts of criminal possession of a weapon — all felonies.

Troy Ave was released on bail.

Cam Newton Officially Ruled Out For Panthers On Sunday, Fans React

Cam Newton has been fairly injury-prone throughout his career and at times, it has kept the Carolina Panthers from achieving their true potential. Heading into this season, many thought the Panthers could turn it around this season since they had Newton back in the lineup while supposedly being healthy. So far, the Panthers are f to an 0-2 start and Newton has struggled at passing the ball. Some feel like his shoulder could still be an issue although earlier this week, we found out that he’s been suffering through foot problems.

After missing multiple practices throughout the week, it was finally revealed today that Newton won’t get the start on Sunday and instead, it will be back up quarterback Kyle Allen. It is believed that Newton’s injury is simply day-to-day and that he will be good to go sooner than later.

This development doesn’t exactly help the Panthers chances as they have been struggling enough already. If they lose again on Sunday, they will fall to 0-3 and their playf chances will already be in the gutter. Needless to say, it’s “do or die” and they have to do it without their star QB.

Panthers fans immediately caught wind the news and as you can imagine, they’re not happy about it in the least bit. Below you can find some the best reactions to Ian Rapoport’s initial report.

K. Michelle, City Girls & Kash Doll Say “The Hooder The Better” On “Supahood” Single

Los Angles, CA – K. Michelle isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she lets everyone know in her new song “Supahood” men from the streets hold a special place in her heart. With the help of City Girls’ Yung Miami and Kash Doll, the Love & Hip Hop Hollywood star asks “if he ain’t a hood n***a, why bother?”

“Supahood” is an ode to men everywhere with a lot of hood, as each woman lists what they love most about this hood life. K. Michelle inconspicuously posted a minute’s worth of behind the scene footage last month (August 19) of the video that’s likely to release soon.

K. Michelle may love a roughneck, but she also loves her dentist bae Kastan Sims. The two have been together since 2016 and in a 2017 interview with Essence, she said Dr. Sims knows the real her. “We’ve been friends for over 19 years now, and I just looked at him and said this is the type of man that I should be with, someone who is my friend,” she said.

Birdman Reportedly Facing $20 Million Lawsuit Over Miami Mansion

It looks like Birdman is having another run in with the courts again. This time around, the Cash Money founder is accused owing $20 million dollars on his former Miami mansion.

The Blast reports that the company EMG Transfer Agent is back in court over the lawsuit they originally brought against Birdman in 2017. The company says Birdman defaulted on the $12 million loan. As a result, Birdman, who used his house as collateral, was kicked out his home and had his property seized as part the ongoing battle.

The case is still heading to trial, but EMG Transfer Agent wants the court to grant a judgment beforehand. They accuse Birdman lying to obtain wrongful loans.

The company says Birdman claimed at the time the $12 million was for a vodka business, but he was just lying. They believe he never intended to use the money for business at all and instead used it for his personal bills. EMG says, “As the close business on September 13, 2019, Borrowers and Guarantor are indebted, jointly and severally, to Plaintiff at the sum $20,544,656.49, plus attorney fees, costs, and default interest that continues to accrue.”

The judge has yet to rule on the matter, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Read more about the story right here.

Bill Belichick Shades Reporters After Barrage Of Antonio Brown Questions: Watch

Antonio Brown has been causing a ton headlines since he signed with the New England Patriots which is interesting when you consider just how tight-lipped the franchise usually is. The Patriots have always acted as though they are the beacon morality when it comes to their players and their conduct on and f the field. Despite this, Brown has been able to dominate the news cycle and it’s starting to get on the nerves head coach Bill Belichick. 

We have no idea how Belichick is handling Brown behind closed doors although it’s clear that he has no interest in doing anything in front the public eye. During a press conference today, Belichick was bombarded with questions about AB and as you can imagine, he didn’t really have much to say other than the usual scripted Belichick answer. After seven questions about Brown and just 3.5 minutes talking to reporters, Belichick decided he had enough and walked f.

The Patriots are taking on the bottomfeeder New York Jets this Sunday so with or without Brown, the team is going to come away victorious. Belichick knows exactly what the team was getting into when it signed Brown, so his inability to be held accountable and answer questions is pretty disconcerting.

When you’ve won six Super Bowls, you can get away with stuff like that.

A Response To Ben Shapiro’s Claim That "Rap Is Not Music"

On the latest episode The Ben Shapiro Show, the titular political commentator, in all his insufferable glory, attempted to convince his audience that “rap is not music.” “In my view, and in the view my music theorist father who went to music school, there are three elements to music. There is harmony, there is melody and there is rhythm,” Shapiro said shortly after the 30-minute mark. “Rap only fulfills one these, the rhythm section. There’s not a lot melody and there’s not a lot harmony. And thus, effectively, it is basically spoken rhythm. It’s not actually a form music. It’s a form rhythmic speaking. Thus, beyond the objectivity me just not enjoying rap all that much, what I’ve said before is that rap is not music.”

It’s not the first time that Shapiro has voiced such a half-baked assessment. You’ll remember his unintentionally funny “Rap Is Crap” column from 2009, or his opinion-masquerading-as-fact tweet from 2012 that was neither rational or well thought out (the comments said Twitter gem have since become littered with ridiculing memes and acknowledgements Kendrick Lamar’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for DAMN.). Mind you, this is coming from the same emotionally-stunted individual who tweeted that Trayvon Martin’s death was deserved and demanded that rape victims remember what their attacker’s genitilia look like. And if we’re being completely honest, can you really take someone who uses “thus” in consecutive sentences seriously? Shapiro’s credibility is next to nonexistent; he’s a bottom-feeding influencer who subsists on the fear, hate, xenophobia, and racism the 24-hour news cycle. But if you’ll indulge me for the sake this article, let’s take a moment to dissect Shapiro’s argument piece-by-piece, shall we?

1. “In my view, and in the view my music theorist father who went to music school, there are three elements to music. There is harmony, there is melody and there is rhythm.”

Check out the big brain on Ben! It seems as if congratulations are in order, because little did we know that Shapiro has bestowed upon himself the first doctorate by paternal association. Tragically, this one’s a rotten dud a diploma. Beyond the fact that this route persuasion is nothing more than a blundering appeal to authority, Shapiro’s curtailed conceptualization music would seem to speak to some unknown childhood trauma in which his father bludgeoned him over the head with the aforementioned “three elements music.” It’s as if he plucked a few nouns out a MAGA hat, decided that they were serviceable, and called it a day, sweeping definitive statements be damned. I hate to burst your bubble, Benny boy, but none the three exceedingly basic criteria that you selected even begin to encapsulate music’s makeup. Shapiro’s essentially setting up the argument that a piece music qualifies as music if and only if it checks the boxes that he’s deemed mandatory. And yet I have a hard time imagining him discrediting, say, a cello solo from Yo-Yo Ma simply because the virtuoso isn’t backed by adequate “rhythm” and fails to achieve the “harmony” that would come from playing alongside an expanded strings section. Newsflash: not all music needs to share a common equation.

2. “Rap only fulfills one these, the rhythm section. There’s not a lot melody and there’s not a lot harmony. And thus, effectively, it is basically spoken rhythm. It’s not actually a form music. It’s a form rhythmic speaking.”

How hoity-toity can you get? Forgetting for the moment that there are a host additional components that go into the creation music, such as tempo, texture, and timbre, I can think a number  contemporary rap artists (since they’re the ones he seems to be targeting) whose music fulfills the bundled Shapiro family requirements. Kanye West’s incredibly diverse fusion influences crate-digging ushered all three into the 21st century in novel fashion, while melody in its most rudimentary form has been popularized through the dynamic success rap-crooners like Drake, Young Thug, and Travis Scott. In truth, rap has never been more melodic in its roughly forty plus years existence than it is in 2019, in part due to its adoption the more accentuated elements pop. Surely Shapiro has heard one “Old Town Road”? That’s to say nothing rap’s now commonplace integration harmony on hooks (just give the latest Post Malone record a spin) and its complementary relationship with R&B that dates back to the genre’s earliest manifestations.

3. “Thus, beyond the subjectivity me just not enjoying rap all that much, what I’ve said before is that rap is not music.”

This is really the crux Shapiro’s “argument”: that he simply doesn’t enjoy rap, and is content to let his opinion inform what he proclaims to be factual evidence (strange, because this is exactly the kind narrow-minded behavior that he loves to lambast on the daily). He even openly admitted that he has little to no knowledge the genre, and his tired cultural case against rap (which I’ve already cross-examined in a prior piece) as it relates to his musical case against rap is entirely besides the point. At its core, it’s a reductive and snobbish attempt to refute the musical talent required to rap. If you’re close-minded enough to write-f a genre music, or really anything for that matter, based on a few scant samples or what you glean from the mainstream, then you’re bound to have a skewed perspective that is in no way reflective the breadth and depth the entire artform. With the utmost respect to the Famous Cryp, Blueface’s discography stands as a poor example on which to judge rap as a whole, even as a number his catchiest singles have infiltrated the public consciousness in recent months. But does this discount the musical legitimacy  his Courage the Cowardly Dog yelps? Not in the slightest; Shapiro just can’t be bothered to do his research. 

Once again, ignorance has proven to be Shapiro’s drink choice, and he’s slurping down the Kool-Aid with a passion. For someone who struts around under the pretense being an intellectual, Shapiro truly made a fool himself in expressing such a stinking heap hot take, one that was quickly and mercilessly discounted by internet trolls the world over. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he failed to respond to the subsequent outrage; he gets his rocks f being divisive, and this latest stunt is no different. All this is to say that Shapiro’s opinion rap isn’t the least bit surprising. Rap is a malleable and ten celebratory embodiment the black experience in America, which as we’ve seen makes him mightily uncomfortable. I don’t know that Shapiro has a musical bone in his body. What I do know is that rap music is realer than anything that has ever come out his godforsaken mouth. 

Ben Shapiro is a walking-talking case study on why you should refrain from pressing an ability to speak on things that you’ve never genuinely taken the time to understand. His take on rap is the same dumb talking point that has been regurgitated time and time again by people who are so clearly out–touch with the times that it’s outright embarrassing. Though slightly less overt in its racist intentions than the 20th-century critics jazz who pooh-poohed the genre for not being “dignified” enough for their tastes, it’s cut from the same unsavory cloth. Not that anyone should be giving him the time day at this point, but I can already hear Shapiro’s bumbling evaluation being flipped in the intro the next J. Cole single, or castrated by DaBaby in what are quickly becoming some the music industry’s most entertaining visuals. So yes, based on your limited view the matter, Ben, rap is indeed music. And for the record, facts don’t care about your feelings.

Jim Jones Alleged Recording Calling For 6ix9ine To Be "Violated" Leaks: Report

There have been tons twists and turns in the Tekashi 6ix9ine case. The rapper took the stand this past week where he snitched on damn-near everyone and their family. Unfortunately, a Harlem legend was unfortunately dragged into the case after 6ix9ine ID’d him as a member the Nine Trey Bloods. 

Jim Jones Alleged Recording Calling For 6ix9ine To Be "Violated" Leaks: Report
Bennett Raglin/Getty s

An alleged wiretapped phone call between Jim Jones and Mel Murda was presented in court yesterday where the Dipset rapper called for 6ix9ine to be violated. The call reportedly leaked online overnight because, well, nothing is safe from the Internet. The call reveals how Jones’ name got thrown into the mix during the trial.

In the call, Jones is heard telling Mel Murda, who 6ix9ine said was the Nine Trey godfather, discussing the Tekashi situation with Jones describing the ways this could be handled. “He ain’t a gang member no more. That’s what Shotti need to make sure he do. Tell that n***a that he ain’t a gang member no more… Shotti need to expose him,” he says before suggesting what 6ix9ine’s former manager needed to handle during an upcoming interview with TMZ.

Jim Jones name popped up after the rapper was asked if the Harlem rapper was a member the Nine Trey Bloods to which 6ix9ine replied, “Yes.” He also described the Dipset MC as a “retired rapper.” And course, this only prompted 50 Cent to stir up some sh*t.

J. Cole Says Gang Starr’s "Family & Loyalty" Is The Last Feature Verse He’ll Ever Do

Earlier today, the first single f Gang Starr’s upcoming album dropped. It was the first time hearing a new verse from Guru, and course, with J. Cole on it, it’s a reminder how timeless Gang Starr’s music is. Unfortunately, this also means that J. Cole’s epic feature run is coming to an end. The Dreamville rapper took to Twitter where he revealed that “Family & Loyalty” will be his last feature ever.

J. Cole Says Gang Starr's "Family & Loyalty" Is The Last Feature Verse He'll Ever Do
Bryan Steffy/Getty s

“This a honor to be on this song. NEW Gang Starr,” he tweeted. “This is the last feature you’ll hear from me. Thank you to everybody I got to work with during this run.”

It wasn’t until last year that J. Cole actually began doing features for people. Between 2015 and 2017, hearing Cole as a guest on someone else’s song was pretty rare. In 2018, he did a ton notable features with 6lack, Wale., Jay Rock, Moneybagg Yo, and many others which helped open the floodgates for the uber-collaborative Dreamville project, Revenge Of The Dreams III.

While we might not hear the rapper on anyone else’s track, that doesn’t mean that we won’t hear from him entirely. He had a few projects up his sleeve that he teased in 2018 including a mixtape titled, The Off Season and his sixth studio album, The Fall Off. It’s unsure when we could expect it but hopefully, it’s sometime in the near future. 

Interview: Rick Ross Doesn’t Fear Death

Miami, FL – One conversation with Rick Ross will have you questioning the definitions of success, wealth and opportunity; how to identify opportunity, how to achieve success and how to maintain it while keeping your soul and bodily faculties intact. Ross, born William Leonard Roberts II, rose to prominence in 2006 with his breakout single, “Hustlin’,” a word that defines his character and approach towards life.

Rick Ross’ fans are believers in his use of language and his unabashed celebration of riches. He’s proud to remind people that he created a palatial oasis out of the urban desert that was his early life.

The way Rozay explains it, the flash and cash his lifestyle portrays go deeper than flagrant materialism. It leaves a roadmap for others behind him to follow – from no way out to a yellow brick road of possibilities.

The focus of our conversation was Ross’ memoir, Hurricanes, and the rags to riches story he loves to illustrate for his supporters.

HipHopDX: You come across as nostalgic in your memoir, Hurricanes. If you could travel through time and bear witness to the making of any classic album, which one would you love to be a part of?

Rick Ross: A rap album? That would have to be Paid In Full with Eric B. and Rakim. Rakim was such a supreme lyricist and B. was the epitome of a DJ/dope boy. They were the center of style and fashion with their Gucci suits on the album covers, sitting on the hood of a Mercedes Benz S550. It was the epitome of what rap music really represented.

Interview: Rick Ross Doesn’t Fear Death

Photo: Bob Metelus

Rick Ross Talks Escaping Death, Drake & Coming To America 2

HipHopDX: Generational wealth or artistic legacy — which means more to you?

Rick Ross: Generational wealth, without a doubt.

HipHopDX: You’ve had some close calls between your health issues and an attempt that was made on your life. What was the greatest lesson or insight gained from those experiences?

Rick Ross: Ha! Something just ran across my mind, and I want to say that if it was the end, I would want to make sure I smoke all the roaches down until they’re by my fingertips (laughs)! But it boils down to appreciating and enjoying every day.

HipHopDX: Do you believe in destiny, free will, or both?

Rick Ross: Destiny, for many different reasons. When there was [sic] twenty shots fired at my Rolls Royce, I had the audacity to go back and get my Cuban link chain. Not only did I go back to get my Cuban link chain, I went back to go get my girlfriend. It had to be destiny.

HipHopDX: It’s nice that you went back for your girlfriend but thank God you didn’t lose the Cuban link (laughs). Kidding!

Rick Ross: (Laughs)

HipHopDX: What is the source of your drive and ambition?

Rick Ross: Other than my DNA, it comes from my neighborhood, and being so blatantly aware of the haves and the have nots. I knew I was one of the [have nots]. It may not have been traumatic at all. It could have been something as simple as me not having the Nintendo with the Mike Tyson’s Punchout! game.

HipHopDX: That was my favorite game! You’re taking me back…

Rick Ross: Mine too. Mike Tyson’s Punchout! and Double Dragon. When you’re the one on the block, where your friends have to bring the game and cartridges in a Winn Dixie bag to come spend the night at your crib, you kind of know.

HipHopDX: Do you pray? And who or what do you pray to, and what do you pray for?

Rick Ross: Daily. I call him The Big Homie because there’s only one Big Homie; I don’t care what nobody else calls him. I just let Him know I’m appreciative of everything, and I’m really under his command. The second he calls for me or is ready for me, I’m going to open my arms to him.

HipHopDX: What are you here in this life as Rick Ross to learn and to teach?

Rick Ross: Just that others like me, who never learned math, that you can still be the CEO, you can still become authors and artists. Nobody ever told me that. I had to learn that on my own. When I was in school, I sat in the back of the class making jokes, trying to cover up the fact that I never learned multiplication or algebra. I want to let youngsters who are in the position I was in, know that they can be in this position I’m in now.

My father wasn’t there to tell me that, and I never had a big brother. The people I looked at were the ones in the street. I know the advice I always got from them, but I want to teach others that you can become a CEO, a huge success. I’m not only the CEO of one company but close to a dozen. That’s what I want to be able to teach people on a major scale.

HipHopDX: To divert a bit, let’s talk about a song from your recent album, Port of Miami 2, “Gold Roses” featuring Drake. It’s a great song. Describe the dynamic between you and Drake, musically and personally.

Rick Ross: Drake is a genuine human being, and I think that is what I admire and respect about him so much. The role I’ve always played with him was Big Homie, and he always played my Lil’ Homie. That dynamic has always been as natural as it comes, and that’s when we’re in the recording booth and when we’re outside the recording booth. He’s not afraid to show his sensitive side, and that’s what makes him the artist he is.

HipHopDX: You’ve been quoted as saying that you never question God. Even in your darkest moments, you’ve never asked, “Why?” or questioned Him in any way?

Rick Ross: If I have, it was many years ago before I began to understand what life is. Life can be a cruel place; it can be a cold place. But it also can be as beautiful as you make it. I didn’t even question Him on the morning I woke up with my closest friend dead in the room next to me. We had just been together three hours earlier, and now three hours later, he’s dead and gone. I never questioned when my other closest homeboy was gunned down in a home invasion in front of his two, three and four-year-old sons. I’m not going to question the Big Homie. Whatever His plans are, that’s His plans. However I go out, it’s destiny.

Interview: Rick Ross Doesn’t Fear Death

Photo: Bob Metulus

HipHopDX: Have you ever stopped to reflect on, and question, the violence that’s surrounded you throughout your life?

Rick Ross: Growing up where I grew up, I never questioned it because questioning it did nothing for it. Hearing AK47s going off for sixty seconds at a time, you can cry, you can pray, you can question it, but you better just sit back, shut the fuck up, and wait for the ambulance to come. Year after year of seeing and hearing it and walking to school while passing a dead body, it gets to a point where you don’t question it. You got to decide, am I going to survive or am I going to die?

HipHopDX: You discuss your solid financial prowess in your book. What do you teach your children about money?

Rick Ross: The disadvantage my children have is that they’re my kids, and my entire family is in a different position. They’re receiving money from everybody. I could put my kids on an allowance, but my daughters have credit cards. I do explain the importance and the value of building a brand. I don’t speak to my daughter about coming up from the mud to the marble and starting with nothing, because that’s not her life. She’s not in the position me and my sisters were in. Instead, I talk to her about the importance of maintaining our brands and bringing something new to the brand. By the time she was fourteen, my daughter knew how to run a Wingstop (one of Ross’ several business interests).

If we left her in a Wingstop [restaurant] with two other people, they would be able to run it for a full day. With my haircare line, RICH Haircare, I allow her to be in the conference calls and to sit in on the meetings. At the same time, she gets to live and enjoy life much more than I did at her age. You have to take the good with the bad, but I most definitely let them see firsthand what hard work is.

HipHopDX: You’re raising your kids in the Holyfield Mansion (Ross’ 44,000 square foot Georgian estate, once owned by Evander Holyfield). I would imagine there has to be a sense of entitlement when your kids are growing up in what is, for all intents and purposes, a palace.

Rick Ross: It’s not something I overthink. As parents, we need to set examples because we have to let our children grow into what and who they are going to be. I really don’t put a lot of pressure on my kids, because they’re good students and they are very respectful of me and of everyone else around them. I’m allowing them to become young adults, and to decide what college they want to go to, what they want to be, what they want to do, how they want to do it, and where they want to do it. I’m pretty free about that.

It’s not an upbringing I would know about firsthand, and I’m pretty sure I would feel entitled if Eddie Murphy was walking around my dad’s home and Coming to America 2 was being filmed at my father’s estate. They’re filming Coming to America 2 at the estate right now.

HipHopDX: Okay, well that’s awesome! Are you in it?

Rick Ross: I have a small role and I did my first scene a few days ago.

HipHopDX: I’ll have to look out for you when it comes out.

Rick Ross: Most definitely. You’ll have to look out for Rozay in the movie when it’s out (laughs).

HipHopDX: I love how in the back of your book you thanked a jeweler who let you browse his watch collection for hours and ask him a bunch of questions years ago, when he knew you couldn’t afford to buy one. Do you think you envisioned your dreams into existence?

Rick Ross: Without a doubt. I think that’s a part of destiny. I believe that if you believe in something or anticipate something coming to you, you try your best to prepare for it. For example, I’m trying my best now to prepare to be a huge actor one day. Before I finished my book, I wanted to thank Mr. Morgan; that was the name of the jeweler. He was extremely kind and patient with me. For some reason, he would always let me, for two hours at a time, look and ask questions about the jewelry. He knew I didn’t have money. I probably didn’t have money for a damn soda at that time. He’d take the time to describe the different watches to me, and my mind was just blown. I was fascinated by the idea of having jewelry. He would let me stand there for a long time and I never got the opportunity to purchase anything from him.

I just wish he knew who I was, and I wish I knew where he was now, because I would personally want to thank him.

HipHopDX: How do you feel about your fans getting to know you on a more intimate level when they read your book? Does that make you nervous or excited?

Rick Ross: I would never be nervous at the idea of my fans getting to know me, and I feel like if they really knew who I was, they wouldn’t even believe me. The book paints some pictures for you but can never really give you an idea of what the real play was, because I came up in the era of some real things happening. Neil [Martinez-Belkin] did a great job of putting the book together. He spoke to maybe sixty or seventy of my closest friends and family, because talking to me there’s only some much conversation I’m going to give you. The shit I’ve seen, when we talked, it got no realer. When I talked about getting real money it got no realer. That’s what made me the businessman I am. Unlike a lot of other artists, I was familiar with money before the music came. Most artists, by the time they get their first advance, they got to go get a car or a home. I already had these things, so by the time I got money in the music business I was ready to invest in other things and do other things.

HipHopDX: At the end of your book, you also pay tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle. Why do you think his life ended the way it did and when it did?

Rick Ross: As painful as it is to watch this type of shit online (referring to surveillance video footage of the shooting), that’s what I grew up seeing. As painful as it is, I almost became numb to it over the years. I’ve always been the one that’s been the shoulder for others to cry on. Why did it happen? I can’t answer that. Was he a special individual? An incredibly special individual! Would I still consider Nipsey Hussle blessed and highly favored? Yes, I would. I’ve stood in those shoes before, and I was blessed to walk away. But for some reason, if it was to happen to me and that’s how the Big Homie upstairs chose for me to go, I’m going to open my arms to him.

“I don’t fear death, personally.”

I’m sure if Nipsey was here, Nipsey would still love and support his community the same way. Would Nipsey still love flossing in Crenshaw? I believe so. I would still love Miami 305, even if that was the city that took my life.

HipHopDX: What do you hope fans are getting out of reading your book?

Rick Ross: I just hope the youngsters that are from where I’m from can see the potential in them in becoming authors, becoming CEOS or whatever they want to become. Do I really think I’m going to make money off this bullshit? Probably not. Do I think it will be successful? Really, anything with my face on it could be successful, but I didn’t do it for that. I wrote the book because I’m another youngster from a failing situation that’s seeing some success. Ultimately, that’s what it’s about. Going from being the hunted to becoming the hunter.

Interview: Rick Ross Doesn’t Fear Death

Hurricanes: A Memoir by Rick Ross with Neil Martinez-Belkin is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Port of Miami 2, Ross’ 10th studio album, is also out now. Follow him on Instagram @RichForever.