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Rick Ross on Bossing Up, Building His Empire, WingStop, and his Investments

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Rick Ross (via Shutterstock)

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Joining me on the show is Rick Ross—rapper, entrepreneur, mogul, and record executive. He has over 20 partnerships, and he just recently published “The Perfect Day to Boss Up” which he wrote during the pandemic. In this episode, Rick discusses his passion for music and business, highlighting the importance of finding joy in the things you do. He then talks about his home which has been featured in the movies “SuperFly” and “Coming 2 America”. He also weighs in on the feature market and ways to go viral.

Strap in for some gold nuggets from a man who has found success in both music and business, and get into the mindset that you need to be in to level up!

Episode Highlights:

[02:41] How Rick has changed since the pandemic

[05:08] How he evaluates which brands or businesses to partner with

[07:51] On doing live performances

[11:07] About Rick’s Wingstop franchises and his thoughts on artists getting involved with the fast food industry

[14:21] How Maybach Music Group fits into Rick’s vision

[16:55] About his 280-acre estate, The Promised Land

[24:44] On investing in physical and intangible assets

[27:23] What to expect when doing features and from Rick’s upcoming album 

[30:00] On going viral, networking, and building an empire 

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

Watch:

Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

Guest: Rick Ross, @RickRoss

Link:

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo

Transcript

Dan: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. Today’s podcast guest is the one and only rapper, entrepreneur, mogul, record executive Rick Ross.

 

Rick Ross just wrote his latest book, The Perfect Day to Boss Up: A Hustler’s Guide to Building Your Empire, and this book is perfect timing because Ross started writing this in the pandemic and it was an opportunity for him to reevaluate, reassess things, and see how he was gonna have to shift his business because he relied so much on live performance and touring, how was he going to shift things, and that’s so much of what I write about in Trapital so this was a really relevant topic here, especially given the interviews I’ve had on this platform and the conversations we’ve had as well.

 

Ross also talks about where his broader business ventures fit in. He now owns over 25 different Wingstops, he’s a partner with Belaire Sparkling Wine, which is one of the fastest growing bubbles companies in the world, and he has over 20 different partnerships overall so it was great to talk to him about how he assesses that, how he looks at all of that.

 

We also talk about how Ross has monetized the home that he now lives in. He purchased this home from Evander Holyfield, learned from a lot of the financial mistakes that Evander had made, and Ross has now used this home as an asset where he has hosted films like Coming to America and Superfly, which have used his property to film many of the scenes in their movies.

 

This was a good chat all around. We also talked about music, a whole bunch of different business ventures and just the mindset that you have to be to level up. I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you do too. Here’s my interview with Rozay.

 

Interview

 

Dan: All right, we got Rick Ross here today, who is now a second-time author of this book here, A Perfect Day to Boss Up, and, Ross, I gotta give you credit because I read this book, I think I’ve read it in a day and my wife had asked me, “Oh, how’s the book so far?” and I was like, “Oh, I finished it already,” and she was like, “Wait, what?” and I was like, “No, he just has a way of writing that just keeps you compelled and it just makes you wanna keep going,” so good job with this one. Really enjoyed it.

 

Rick: Man, that mean a lot, man. That mean a lot. I appreciate it.

 

Dan: So, one of the things I noticed while reading it is that it definitely seemed like COVID was an opportunity for you to reevaluate things, assess things, right? This fungus, as you put it, is here and it’s gonna change the game up.

 

Rick: This fungus is among us.

 

Dan: So, how do you feel like you’ve changed as a person since the pandemic?

 

Rick: Well, since the pandemic, I most definitely have more time to spend with myself, reflect on myself. I was on social media a lot more. And I just got the answer and really see the same questions that I got 90 percent of the time, you know?

 

People wanted to know, “Rozay, you really lost weight, you did it naturally, how did you keep it off?” And then the question I got the most is, “Rozay, how’d you become so wealthy? Tell me.” You know what I mean?

 

And, you know, the more time I spent on my Instagram, on my IG, I’m like, damn, I see this 5,000 times and so I just began talking on my Story in the morning a lot more, showing them what I ate, just to answer those questions, showing them how I move, showing them different things like that so I said, I felt it was time for this.

 

Dan: Definitely. And in terms of that wealth generation, because I feel like that was the central theme throughout the book, and it’s funny, I actually had your attorney on the podcast a couple months ago, Leron Rogers, and he was talking about how you and him were on this road to a billion and how that’s really the way that you’re trying to set things up. What does that look like for you? What’s Ross’s road to a billion?

 

Rick: Shit, it’s a reality, baby. It’s a reality. And, as a matter of fact, let me just applaud. Let’s just — let’s applaud each other. Let’s applaud each other. But, man, I’m still inspired. Man, I’m really inspired.

 

I’m currently, you know, I have 20 plus current partnerships and I think what’s really impressive about it is not the partnerships themselves but I wake up every day looking to overdeliver, you know?

 

Looking to overdeliver, you know? I wanna make it to the office first and be the, you know, the one to leave last. That’s just my secret, you know? I wanna outwork everybody that’s in the room, you know?

 

Me becoming an artist, I had majority of the time, I wrote for years, much more years, than other artists and when I got in the studio, that’s when I realized the real gift I had developed when it would take artists usually three or four days to write a dope record, I could write three records in a day.

 

And I’m talking about in, you know, leave and go do some other stuff, you know what I mean? So, I just really believe in it. Taking advantage of the time and the opportunity we got. We got tonight.

 

Dan: You mentioned that you got 20 partnerships right now. How do you evaluate all of those? Because I’m sure you get a lot inbound. What makes the cut? How do you decide what makes the cut?

 

Rick: Because, usually, I move the best when I’m involved with things that I love, things that I care about, you know? The same way Ricky Rozay, that was a nickname that was given to me maybe 15, 20 years ago so when it came to me being around champagne, when it came to me celebrating, me being in a club, it just came naturally.

 

So, for me, I wake up in the morning, I have me a glass, you know, and I share that with the friends. I let them see that. Before I had the opportunity to be a part of Belaire, I remember when I would be in a club and just see Puff Daddy’s Ciroc and just because he was a brother with alcohol, I will pick it up in the club and take pictures with it, you know? And I did that for a year before we sat down and I became an official Ciroc boy.

 

But, you know, when it comes to things that I enjoy, I’m gonna go above and beyond, you know what I mean? So, for instance, you know, I turned down a seven-figure cigarette situation. I can’t do that. I don’t smoke square, homie. I won’t help you with that, you know what I mean?

 

But I partnered with Berner and created my own strand, Collins Ave, and once again, me being a fan of partnerships, because I believe, as a partner, if you get the opportunity to create something special with the best person in that market, you get to watch and learn firsthand and that’s something you could keep forever.

 

Dan: Right. And you doing the type of partnerships that are true to who you are, I think that’s the difference because one of the things you mentioned in the book was about how you learned from Evander Holyfield, right? And you learned from the things not to do. He was out here trying to sell barbecue and he was starting record labels, I’m like that is not his brand. Why is he doing that? I thought that was a really good point.

 

Rick: And it was true. If I was him, I would have been selling my boxing gloves and my protein and stay fit workout. Shit, you know, I would have been on the peloton bike if I was the homie but — which is real, you know? So I try to stick with the things that I love the most and, hey, man, we winning.

 

Dan: Definitely. I thought the other part that was interesting, you talked about how live performances have been your biggest source of income to date in your music career so far.

 

I feel like, over time, that’s probably shifting, not just because of the pandemic but because of the moves that you’re involved in, right?

 

You got Belaire, you got the Wingstops, and I feel like, over time, especially on that road to a billion, it probably may look more like some of those partnerships and product sales as opposed to some of the live performance.

 

Rick: Oh, it is without a doubt. It’s without a doubt. My performing, my fans, and my music, you know, most definitely where my heart is, but it’s without a doubt, and I remember when I sat with one of my partners many, many years ago and he told me, “This is gonna be the most lucrative venture you have,” and I’ll never forget, I laughed in his face because I was like, “Yo, yo, it take real arrogance to say that [inaudible],” and, yeah, he was really right. But, you know, once again, through experience, you learn what committing 10 years of dedication that gets you, you know what I mean?

 

And as successful as my recording career is and me being one of those artists that are clubs, concerts, arenas, whatever it is, I feel Rozay could come out here and do every damn “Hustlin’” and “Stay Schemin’,” “Pop That,” and the list goes on so I’ve always been one of those artists that was performing and, yo, it’s just, you know, some big things going on. It is.

 

Dan: Yeah. And I feel like, for you specifically, performing is something you love. Like you’re never gonna give that up completely.

 

Rick: I love it. I love going to the — I love seeing fans, I love seeing the reaction of the records because, for so many years before I got on, you know, I felt like it wasn’t no love.

 

So, even after 15 years of being on, I still could be in a smaller venue and when my records come on, I look at those first five rows just for the eyes and then, you know, I could be paid just for 20-minute performance and do 30 or 40 just for that response.

 

Dan: And, with that, like what would your ideal mix look like? Because I assume that you never wanna stop performing but you also wanna have more and more of these deals. Do you feel like you’re still gonna have an occasional tour? You may do a pop-up thing?

 

Rick: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, without a doubt. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s Rozay. That’s the hustler that sent me, because at one point, who would imagine that I could have 20 partnerships? I really believe I will be able to have 50 with no stress.

 

And, to me, that’s the key to being a winner. That’s the key to the book, it’s finding a way to not be burnt out, not stressing yourself, finding the joy in the things you do and just turn up on that. Lean on that. You know what I’m saying?

 

Yo, this is the cool part about, you know, if I’m you, this is the cool part about the interviews. Look, let’s start ’em like that. Let’s lean towards that and let’s see where it takes us. And when you realize and you look up, you’ve been and did an hour interview with somebody and that shit felt like nothing, then some of the things you discussed from the interviews, you make notes and you turn that into a film in three years. That’s just the wait, let’s capitalize on everything we got going, everything we doing. And, over time, it’s only going to become more valuable.

 

Dan: Definitely. And I feel for you, one of the things you’ve leaned into over your career has been Wingstop and it’s been dope to just see how you’ve built that up. And I know at the time of publishing, you said you had owned 25 of them. Is that still the number or…?

 

Rick: I’ma be honest, I don’t even know now. I don’t know. Because I remember, at one point, every one I bought, it was a big deal to me and it still is. I don’t take nothing for granted. It still is. But I always make it clear for all the youngsters, you know, the young ones that was just like me, who never knew where to start to become a franchisee.

 

It’s one thing that I have a couple of dollars and you buy but where do you find the employees? How do you find who’s going to manage it? Who do you trust with the money? What do you, you know, and so those are the real questions and so, when I first began, I count, and after 25 I was like, man, who could fathom this? Who could imagine this?

 

And then I went on and went back to, you know, my mom’s hometown, Clarksdale, Mississippi, opened a new one and, you know, it’s just one of them things, man, I’m happy, I’m excited, and I thank my team, my mom, my sister and everybody that worked with us.

 

Dan: What do you think of the other artists right now that are starting to get more involved with fast food? Not necessarily in franchisee the way you are but the way that you’re reppin’ lemon pepper wings, you got the Travis Scott meal, you got the Saweetie meal. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Rick: I’m happy because our culture drove so many of these products for so long without the brands just really putting us up front, when really that’s what we should have been doing. That’s from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeye, everything, you know, and so it, to me, is dope when you see the Saweetie meal, when you see the Travis Scott because it’s gonna encourage these same artists to make some investments.

 

And let’s continue to invest in ourselves because you could carry these brands, and a lot of times, a female rapper wouldn’t know, I could carry an entire movement as far as working alone with a franchise and I know they can now. And Saweetie just gotta keep pushing it, keep tagging it, keep posting it, every day, the same way I wake up and do it every day because the ones who rock what you’re gonna embrace.

 

Dan: Definitely. And I think too this is the part that you’re at least at now, you have ownership in this to some extent. I don’t know what their deals look like. A lot of them, I assume, are probably cash up front.

 

I don’t know what getting equity in McDonald’s may look like but it would be cool to see them have that equity stake or that ownership stake and I know that’s a bit more common in the startup investing but that’s the one piece of it that I do think and maybe that will evolve. Maybe that’ll be the next level to this.

 

Rick: And to me, I feel like you gotta start somewhere, and you gotta start somewhere and that’s how you begin to sit at the table. That’s how you begin to sit at the table with those who make those decisions.

 

And they may just say, “Hey, instead of me getting paid for this little movement, I wanna put it in stocks. I want some shares. I want some of this, I want some of that,” and that’s how you started those conversations.

 

Dan: Definitely. And I think too, for you, one of the things at least I’ve realized is that you have your food, you have Belaire, you have all these things, and all of that is part of the empire, and I’m curious, where do you see MMG? Where do you see Maybach Music Group in the future fitting into that vision?

 

Rick: That’s my heart. You know what I mean? That will always be the anchor for everything I do. Everybody that’s on the lineup from Meek, Wale, myself, we often get ready and release new projects. And, to me, that was — that will always be the anchor, that will always drive me.

 

We brought some new artists to the table and I look forward to the next drive we’re gonna make, beginning at the end of this year to next year, without a doubt.

 

Dan: One of the things that stuck out to me in the book, you had written about how you really lucked out with having Wale and Meek on the label and how, early on, it could have been a completely different vibe based on some of the other artists.

 

I remember even reading a few things at the time and I know you mentioned this in Hurricanes as well, you were trying to get Wiz. I know at one point you may have reached out to Tyler, The Creator, and I gotta be honest with you, I couldn’t even imagine what the MMG vibe would have been like had it not been the three of you that were there at the core versus some of the other artists that you were looking at or trying to sign.

 

Rick: I always been — I’m real creative, you know, and I got an open ear when it comes to music. I love all types, all vibes of music, and that’s why I ended up signing artists like Stalley, Omarion, Rockie Fresh, and it goes on.

 

Of course, I love street music and that’s, you know, the easiest type of music for me to make, it’s just what comes from my heart. But, like I say, I was fortunate for Meek, Wale to just take off the way they did and they still winning, you know what I mean?

 

And I felt like, for the last few years, I just wanted to focus on everything around me, just to plant the seeds for these things, the books, the potential films, the other brands, and now we could go back into the music.

 

I wanna sign some artists but when I sign artists, you know, I really dedicate not just the brand and the resources but myself as well into ’em, because I really believe when I sign somebody, you’re gonna win, you know what I mean? So, I look forward to next year and the artists that, you know, I got cooking up right now.

 

Dan: Yeah, and you mentioned film. So I wanted to talk about that and I wanna talk specifically about how you’ve made use of your home, which you referred to as the Promise Land. This is an asset that you’ve been able to monetize. You’ve had Superfly, you’ve had Coming to America film there.

 

And I think it’s cool that you’ve been able to do it in that type of way and I gotta ask, was that always the vision? Like when you first got this spot, like, “Oh, yeah, this can be a dope setting to have films,” or did it just kind of develop over time?

 

Rick: No. When I purchased it, I most definitely had a vision of taking advantage of these 280 acres. These 280 acres, you know? I don’t know nobody else with 280 acres so whoever need 280 acres, you could come use this, you know what I mean?

 

And once again, me purchasing this from Evander Holyfield, who, at one time, you know, 550 million came through this package, you know what I mean? He spent 25 million on this estate. I gotta make sure I’m not in his position, you understand?

 

So, I’m gonna commit more of myself to it, you know? So when he had the 17 employees maintaining the yard, I went and bought a tractor, a John Deere tractor, so it’s me and my couple homies who I let them handle the mulch and the weeds and the edging and I’m gonna cut the majority of the 280 acres, you know what I’m saying?

 

And that’s how we spend time, you know, out there, we talk business and then, you know, while I’m cutting grass, man, I’m really spending time by myself. No music, no nothing, just quiet time, you know, and just get into focus so, like I said in the book, for a real boss, there’s no job too large or too small because if I’m walking my franchise and if the floor needs to be swept, instead of me calling somebody from the register or somebody from the fryer, I grab the broom myself and sweep that up. That’s the hustler I am.

 

Dan: I respect that. In terms of the lawn care though, I know you’re a busy person, you’ve got a lot on your plate, how often do you get to cut the lawn yourself?

 

Rick: Well, you know, even when I’m at my busiest, you know, I may be gone for two weeks and then I come back so I make sure before I leave and when I come because it’s something I’m looking forward to. Of course, I love my yard manicured, beautiful. I want it to look like a golf course but it’s a part of me that when I get back, when I see the weed sprouting up, oh, I’m coming to get your motherfuckin’ ass, I’m coming. I’m back, motherfucker. That really is a part of me that’s whispering that in my gut. I can’t help it, man. I can’t help it.

 

Dan: Bro, I know that you talked about getting John Deere and ultimately having some type of sponsorship for something like that with them, I feel like that’s fitting, but I think the next move after that is something like Scotts Turf Care or something like that. The way you’re talking about weeds, that is a commercial pitch you just did right there, bro.

 

Rick: I may have somebody send them an email today. Ricky Rozay to Promise Land, baby. We got a bright future. I mean that shit too, and I just really had the team send out emails like, yo, let them know, you know, I’m a fan of what they do and if there’s any way we could sit at the table and make something happen and, you know, when I do that, you’ll be surprised how many people hit back and say, “Yo, we watch you all the time, we see what the play is. Yo, let’s do something.”

 

Dan: Right. And I can even see how you were thinking a few steps ahead. I think it was a few months ago, you had had that Forbes interview where they took the picture of you on the tractor, right?

 

And I know in the back of your mind, you must have just been like the social media, the blogs is gonna go wild, John Deere is gonna see this, everybody’s gonna be tagging them and that can at least start the conversation. You knew what you were doing.

 

Rick: Sure was. But, yo, that’s how we gotta plan everything. You know, as young brothers, the same way we lay out a week worth of outfits, shirts, pants, shoes, and lay that shit out across, you know, we already know what we gonna wear for a week, we should strategize the same way we do our business moves, our marketing. The people we wanna be in business with.

 

There’s so many people, I sit down with homies and, man, I wanna do this with ’em. Well, did you reach out to ’em? Nah. What the hell are you waiting on? That’s what this social media for, this ain’t for the pretty chicks in high heels and all that shit. You could just like that shit as you go by, but it’s time to get to the business.

 

We gotta reach out to the people that we really wanna do something with, that’s what this for. Put your email together, proofread it for two or three days, and then send it. Straight up. Yeah.

 

Dan: Especially now. I mean, I feel like you gotta send those stuff, like during the pandemic, there’s no reason to not at least try to make some moves to change the position, like you never know what could happen.

 

Rick: You never know. You never know. And when you really feel like you got something to bring to the table, stand behind it and let them know. And that’s what it is.

 

“Hey, man, we got something to do. Hey, man, we got some big business going on and we could do this together and this is what I feel we need to do to elevate it.” If you got your ideas, give me your ideas.

 

Dan: Definitely.

 

Rick: I’m a great partner, you hear?

 

Dan: So, in terms of the Promise Land itself, one of the other things you mentioned is that you got so many rooms in there, you don’t know if you’ve been able to get to all of them yet. Where are you at right now? Have you been able to get to every corner of the house yet?

 

Rick: You know, of course, I’ve got to all the bedrooms but when I said that, I really mean that because, you know, it was not — it was a few months ago where I found a room inside of a room in a room, like — it’s like that. You know what I mean?

 

And when you look, okay, because you could go into a room, like if you’re on the first floor where I have everything set up to wash the clothes at, you know, of course, it’s a closet, you go in the closet, there’s another big room, and then you walk in there and then you find another door and then it’s just — it’s one of those things.

 

So, you know, of course, when I say 109 rooms, it’s nowhere near 109 bare rooms but when they say rooms, it’s rooms on rooms and you’re always finding different things and I’m like, damn.

 

You know, I went in the bowling alley and, you know, let’s say I have the bowling lanes so I had never went behind where the pins get picked up and that because there had never been a reason for me. I just bowl, you know, everything is go, I put the pins back down, but one day, I went behind into the room where — and then there’s another room in a room back there as well, which I had never needed to go into so that’s what I meant by that, you know what I’m saying? It was just — It’s different, but it’s cool. It’s cool. It’s cool, yeah.

 

Dan: And I think there was also a line in there that you have the largest residential swimming pool of anyone in the country. How did you determine that? Because, I mean, how do you know like what —

 

Rick: I mean, that was — that’s what the fact checkers came and told Rozay, and then, you know, they pulled it up, they Googled it. Oh, okay, okay, I see you. I see you, you know what I mean? But it was nothing that I went looking for, you know what I mean? That’s all the dudes who, you know, check the facts. That’s what they told us, you know what I mean? You know, I had a few people Google it and that’s what it was.

 

Dan: No, I respect that. I respect that. One of the things that I think that you mentioned that really stuck out to me was how there is all of these new things that are popping up in business and you may not necessarily be doing all of them at the moment but you still need to find a way to level up on them, whether it’s cryptocurrency or Bitcoin or even looking at something like Wingstop and its stock, to some perspective.

 

And I imagine that that can be critical but it can also be tough because it’s like the things you are already doing are working so well so it’s not as if you’re not doing things but it’s like that tradeoff, right? And I’m sure that to some extent that never stops.

 

Rick: Right, most definitely, but like I try to explain is the more successful you become, the more opportunities that surround themselves around you. You find yourself playing golf with such and such and such and such and such and they say, “Rick, I love what you’re doing and are you interested in…? We’d love for you to be a part of this.” When, you know, a few years ago, you wouldn’t even had that opportunity.

 

So now, you look around, there’s more things going on and there’s better ways for people to explain it and then they put you — they put you, they bring you in at the top, on the top floor versus you find your way to get in through the basement, you know?

 

So you find yourself sitting down with Dan Fleischman and these other guys talking about online crypto, etc., etc., introducing you to people that’s basically ready to hold your hand and make sure you win.

 

You know, it’s a different thing because I was never a fan of — like my mom always told me, “Let’s invest in things we could touch.” You buy that building on the corner, they can’t build that building over, they gotta buy that building, so that was just one of them things.

 

Dan: And I’m sure, like I was raised similarly in terms of the intang— like what is intangible and wanting to have things you can actually touch, but, yeah, I’m sure that there must have been a time where you must have been told about Bitcoin or some of these years ago and it may have at first been like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, you know, I’ll think about that later,” because I did the same thing but then, eventually, things changed.

 

Rick: Right, without a doubt. We miss a lot of things you see, wow, I regret not moving on that. But at the same time, you take the good with the bad so my homies that I watched when they also come back and tell me, “Damn, Rozay, over the last month, man, we took a gift that I ain’t never seen,” and then you just gotta let them know, you know?

 

Just you gotta follow your heart. If this is something you love doing because, hey, man, I know buddies that love to go to Vegas to gamble and then you doing your Bitcoin thing, I would probably do the Bitcoin thing, you know what I mean? So, you just gotta take the good with the bad.

 

Dan: No, definitely, without a doubt. The other thing you mentioned too in the book, you were talking about features and just how so many of the artists that, you know, want you, you’re still in high demand for your features, which is good, and you were able to help, you know, rattle, you know, a bunch of those off, especially early on in the pandemic.

 

I’m curious, has the feature market itself changed for you at all? Like, I mean, I’m sure you have your ranges and your rates but I imagine that you can probably charge even more, to some extent, just given how many artists wanted to make music the past 18 months because they couldn’t tour.

 

Rick: Yes, a lot of artists that wanted to make music and we have done some incredible features. I wanna salute DJ Snake, we just did the “Run It,” the hit single for, I don’t wanna say the movie wrong, I don’t wanna say that, it’s in that Shang Li vibe, you know what I mean? But I just went to the world premiere and the movie is super dope.

 

But, yeah, you know, they running with the record, it’s on ESPN for the football commercial, so on and so forth, so, you know, we still making. Me being in the game since ’05, man, I’m 15 years in and I’m still having fun with the game and I’m still having fun with the wordplay and, you know, we still making it happen.

 

And I’m trying to drop a bomb-ass album. I’m talking some big boy shit too. I’m talking some big boy shit so everybody gotta be ready. They gonna say, Rozay, hey, you have to it like that, but I did. I did. The game ain’t based on sympathy, man. That’s one of the chapters in the book.

 

If you wanna sit at the table with the big boys, don’t nobody wanna hear about your great auntie that died two weeks ago. We know it’s unfortunate. We know you had to walk 18 miles to get to work and your ingrown toenail hurts. We know that.

 

But the big boys at the table only wanna win. And when a big boy like me allows you to sit at the table, I owe it to all my other partners that’s sitting at the table to bring somebody to the table that’s going to help us win. So, know the game ain’t based on sympathy, so if you wanna win, yo ass better go hard, straight up.

 

Dan: So what should we expect from this next album? I know you said you got some big things coming, but —

 

Rick: Oh, I’m talking big shit. I’m talking big money and I’m talking big shit, you know? That’s what I do the best. I talk big shit and that’s what I’m doing. I’m talking some shit. Some people may take offense to it but some people should. It’s only right.

 

Dan: In terms of taking offense to it, I was impressed and appreciated your honesty when you were talking about Kanye West and that dynamic in the book and, obviously, that’s still your boy but you didn’t hold back in terms of, you know, some thoughts about, hey, like this was an interesting situation and I see how they’re moving in terms of trying to get the word out but I’m not necessarily gonna do that the same way in terms of trying to get awareness or trying to go viral.

 

I thought that was a really interesting point because I don’t think that a lot of people, especially at your level, talk about that in terms of how to get attention and how to get awareness for things.

 

Rick: There’s so many different ways that you could do it, as simple as just waking up in the morning and wearing, you know, these dudes who wear tight underwear just to, you know, to go viral— you know, to be trending and sell something, you know, three days later.

 

But I’m not gonna do that, you know? Whatever my record sell, I want it to be genuine, you know? I want that to lean on the music. You know what I’m saying? Whenever I talk shit in my records, it was just not for the attention of talking shit but I really had a point to make.

 

Even when I first came in the rap game and I targeted 50 Cent, it wasn’t to just target him but, really, it would have been anybody that the streets or the game considered to be the big boy or the realest one, because I wanted to make sure people understood my lack of fear, my wordplay, and I knew that will give me an opportunity to show people my wordplay, I could create records like “Mafia Music,” you know, so on and so forth. So, it wasn’t just personal for 50 Cent, it ain’t matter, whoever was in that position, I would have did it to. You know what I mean?

 

And I understand that and being in our culture, you gotta stay prepared for that. So, as one of the chapters say, I’m always war ready because if you step on Rozay’s shoes, I’m gonna have a good time teaching you a valuable lesson. And that goes for any artist that’s in the game.

 

But I think it’s clear to these guys. I think it’s clear because I actually enjoy it. I enjoy it. I go listen to some instrumentals for a long time and just think about the ways I’m feeling like, you know, whoever was related to this person, come and put their arm around them and say, “Hey, I heard what Rozay said,” you know?

 

That’s my goal, you know, when I entered it but me being a fan of the music, me being a fan of Ice Cube, watching what him and NWA did and, you know, me growing up in Miami and I never took that personally the differences Ice Cube and NWA had but it made me love Ice Cube as a writer and a rapper when he dropped that AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.

 

I was like, oh, man, I gotta make an album like that. Oh, so you gotta be the underdog and have your back against the wall to make this shit feel like this? Oh, that’s what I’m trying to do. I don’t give a damn. I’m the underdog and I want — I’m still the underdog, even though the dudes that I came in attacking, I’m much more valuable than these guys, but I love the way being the underdog feels so I’ma stay there. And that’s my choice.

 

Dan: It’s a mentality thing. I think it’s a mentality thing and I feel like you’ve been able to stick with that and even though I don’t necessarily think of you as like an underdog in the general sense relative to 50 Cent, but I think that you’ve like maintained that persona, you maintained that vibe and I feel like, in a lot of ways, like it’s a breath of fresh air, right?

 

I know that, right now, you know, you have like Kanye and Drake going with their back and forth with their beef but you don’t really hear and see the same amount of like beef records and diss records that you once did so I’m sure part of you, even just like from a hip-hop perspective, may also miss that because you feel like you’re bringing something.

 

Rick: Of course, I miss the shift of hip-hop because when that came in, the focus was getting money. That’s why I let them know, I didn’t just say I’m a boss because it rhymed with Ross but, shit, it could have been anything else. That was really the mentality of it.

 

And a lot of times, when I listen to the music now, it’s more about getting high, you know? Let’s get high, let’s get, man, let’s get to the money. Let’s go buy back the block. Let’s link up and do records. Let’s network and that’s what we was doing, me, DJ Khaled, Young Money, Lil Wayne, Drake, Drizzy, French Montana, that was — when I executive produced French’s first album, that’s what it was about, us networking. And I wanna make sure we keep that alive in the culture, man. Let’s get stronger. Let’s build an empire. Let’s network with each other. That’s what it is.

 

Dan: Definitely, definitely. It’s funny, I feel like you mentioned the names, whether it’s French Montana, Drake, Wayne, and I feel like “Pop That” probably was like one of the last posse cuts that was like a legit club banger that like stayed a club banger for like a year plus. Man, that was something. I miss that.

 

Rick: Yeah, that shit’s still banging right now. That shit’s still banging right now. It still is, straight up, for real.

 

Dan: All right, well, Ross, we’re getting to the end here but before we let you go, anything else that you wanna plug or you wanna let the Trapital audience know about?

 

Rick: Man, you already know, man. The book, it hit shelves September 7th and the book is filled with gems. I just want the hustlers and the entrepreneurs know, go and get it. You know, like I said, I got 20 plus partnerships and I wake up every day trying to find a way to overdeliver, let’s overdeliver. Let’s be the first ones in the office, the last ones to leave.

 

That’s what’s cool. And the rest of this shit gonna come to you, man. It’d be easy, man. The rest of it is gonna come to you. I’m having a virtual toast with everybody tuned in. Virtual toast, man. And anytime you need me, big homie, I’m here for you anytime.

 

Dan: Appreciate that. And if there’s anyone that wants to send you stuff like the products, I know you had that plug in the book, where should they send them to?

 

Rick: Send it to the Promise Land. It’s the biggest residence in the US, man. Just Google it, baby. It will get to me.

 

Dan: Appreciate that. All right, well, Ross, thank you. This has really been a pleasure. I’ll coordinate with everyone else but, yeah, we’re gonna run this the week that the book comes out.

 

Rick: Man. I can’t wait, man, and I appreciate it, bro.

 

Dan: Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate that —

 

Rick: Much love —

 

Dan: Hey, I’m curious, I gotta ask you, were you familiar with Trapital at all or have you heard of the outlet already or anything that we’re working on with the business of hip-hop?

 

Rick: Trapital?

 

Dan: Trapital, yeah.

 

Rick: No, I haven’t.

 

Dan: Okay. Yeah, so this is the platform that it is so that’s what this podcast is and it’s a media company, covers the business of hip-hop so how artists are making money, what type of business moves they’re making inside and outside of the music industry so this book is a perfect fit for stuff like that —

 

Rick: Right. I’m gonna be tuned in. I’m gonna make sure I check it out. I’m gonna have you locked in.

 

Dan: Definitely. All right, man —

 

Rick: Without a doubt.

 

Dan: Enjoy the rest of your day, man.

 

Rick: Much love, man. Yeah.

 

Dan: Take care.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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