Long before “Hustlin'” was released, during the summer of 2006, Rick Ross built a name for himself in the streets of Miami. Rising from the streets, Rick Ross eventually signed with Slip-N-Slide Records and began releasing mixtapes. By 2005, Ross had caught the attention of several record executives, including Jay-Z and Irv Gotti. Declining an offer to become the flagship artist of Murder Inc. South, the Miami rapper would sign with Def Jam and become an immediate success.
Because of his size, his skin tone, his voice, and his lyrical content, Rick Ross was immediately compared to late rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. While Rick Ross was compared to Biggie, there were many who were not sold on the rapper. Despite the name he made on a national level, Rick Ross’ fan base was still in the South. Wanting to gain true, national, and then international, fame, Rick Ross continued to release hit records.
Earlier in his career, Rick Ross’ Biggie comparisons were all most casual fans knew about him. This all changed during the first few days of 2009, with the release of “Mafia Music.” In the song, Rick Ross dissed 50 Cent, who was declining in popularity and looking for a fight. Fresh off the release of Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne was the hottest rapper in the game and 50 Cent decided to pick fights with him. However, when Rick Ross dissed him, 50 Cent responded, but called Ross the “appetizer,” saying Wayne was the full course meal.
Rick Ross quickly proved he was more than a small meal to the established rapper, when he released an onslaught of disses aimed at 50 Cent, who soon turned to social networking antics to diss Ross. During the spring of 2009, Rick Ross released his Deeper Than Rap album, which was led by the hit single, “Magnificent.” Deeper Than Rap remains Rick Ross’ lowest-selling album, but this period of time did wonders for Ross’ overall legacy. During this period of time, fans and critics saw Rick Ross as more than a rapper with similar traits to Biggie, they saw a rapper who had the potential to become one of the biggest stars ever.
Motivated by his “victory” over 50 Cent, Rick Ross recorded Teflon Don, his highest-selling album to date. The album was met with critical acclaim for its originality. By this time, not many were focused on Rick Ross’ Biggie similarities, nor were they discussing his feud with 50 Cent, the spotlight was on Rick Ross for his own work. Thinking ahead, Rick Ross used this buzz to expand the roster of his Maybach Music label, adding Wale and Meek Mill, along with a host of other popular mixtape rappers. The major signings were followed by a bidding war, with Ross eventually starting a business relationship with Warner Bros. Records.
Initially, Rick Ross intended to close 2011 with the release of his fifth studio album, God Forgives, I Don’t, but the album was eventually delayed following two seizures from the rapper. Despite what he called minor setbacks, Rick Ross still won ‘Man of the Year’ with The Source and his music continued to generate popularity. Early in 2012, Rick Ross remains one of the hottest rappers in the game, setting a record for mixtape downloads, with Rich Forever getting 10 million downloads in a little over a month since its release. Meanwhile, the “Stay Schemin'” single has received more radio play, video attention, and buzz than most album singles from other popular rappers.
For well over a decade, Rick Ross has been releasing music and making popular records. Over the past six years, Rick Ross has done so in the public eye. During this span of time, Rick Ross has proven himself to be more than a rapper who shares traits with a legend. Rick Ross has proven himself to be deserving of the legend title in his own rights. Moving from recording with local producers to recording with Dr. Dre, Rick Ross has a long list of projects ahead of him for 2012. Among the top of the list is finally releasing God Forgives, I Don’t, the album Rick Ross said would officially give him the top spot in the game.