On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN invited legendary rapper, entrepreneur, and ultimate hustler Rick Ross to talk about his upcoming car show, Luc Belaire, “GOD DID,” Maybach Music Group, and much more. Brett Berish and Gunplay were also special guests on Saturday’s (May 13) installment.
Born William Leonard Roberts II in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Rick Ross moved to Carol City, Florida as a child. His debut album, Port of Miami, released in 2006, topped the Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album spawned the hit single “Hustlin’,” which went Gold and set the tone for Ross’ gritty, opulent, lyrical narratives.
Ross’ success continued with subsequent releases like Trilla, Deeper Than Rap, and Teflon Don, all of which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. His offering God Forgives, I Don’t went Gold and received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. It boasted the Platinum-certified hit “Diced Pineapples” and more. Over the years, Ross has been consistently recognized for his music, earning several Grammy nominations and multiple BET Hip Hop Awards. Fast forward to 2021, the “Stay Schemin’” rapper debuted his 11th studio album, Richer Than I Ever Been, with features from the likes of Future, Benny the Butcher, 21 Savage and Blxst, to name a few.
Beyond his music career, Ross has demonstrated a keen eye for business, amassing significant wealth through various entrepreneurial endeavors. He owns several franchises of the popular restaurant Wingstop, which he frequently mentions in his tracks like “Us (Remix),” “The Devil Is a Lie,” and “U.O.E.N.O.” Furthermore, Ross is a global brand ambassador for Luc Belaire, a premium French wine and champagne brand, further showcasing his business acumen and influence.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Rick Ross “Drink Champs” episode. Check them out below and watch the full interview here.
1. Brett Berish on how Ace of Spades helped launch Sovereign Brands
Launched in 2006, Armand de Brignac Champagne — also known as Ace of Spades — is the brainchild of Brett Berish. Serving as one of the original hallmark brands of his family-owned wine and spirits portfolio, it was the entity that started it all. Although he sold the brand to JAY-Z and LVMH in 2014, the purchase helped him launch an assortment of other labels, including Luc Belaire sparkling wine, Bumbu Rum and more.
“So Ace was my first brand. Huge success, it’s a great brand. It catapulted me and gave me the ability to do all these other brands. So D’USSÉ, Belaire, Bumbu, McQueen, Villon, and now The Deacon,” he shared. “Ideally, I want to be in both sections. You want to be in the champagne section and you want to be in the sparkling section.”
2. Rick Ross on his second annual car show
In 2022, Ross organized his inaugural car show at his opulent mansion in Fayetteville, Georgia. While speaking on the upcoming second annual event, Ross revealed that he has over 200 cars in his collection.
According to Ross, “This is not one of those car shows where you come and if you win, they give you the $50 plastic trophy. This is where you get to network, really boss up; the chains and keys that I’m giving you are damn near six figures. We got big boys coming from out of the country, so it’s going to be a really huge event. I know we’re expecting close to 7,000 people.”
When asked how it sizes up to DJ Envy’s Drive Your Dreams Car Show, he replied, “Envy was never on my level to battle. I wouldn’t do that to Envy. I like Envy but in the car game, he’s not ready for that, but I support his s**t. Anybody that goes there, you got a lot of heart. Anybody that goes to Envy s**t, I f**k with you too.”
3. On his relationship with DJ Khaled and the “GOD DID” collaboration
Both Florida transplants, DJ Khaled and Rozay’s extensive relationship spans back to the mid-2000s with a formidable catalog full of hit records spanning across a decade. First appearing on Khaled’s second studio album, We The Best, the pair have collaborated on a plethora of tracks, including “We Takin’ Over,” “I’m On One,” “I’m So Hood,” and “No New Friends,” to name a few. Their latest joint effort was September’s “GOD DID” alongside JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, John Legend, and Fridayy, to which he spoke to N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN about.
“You gotta realize when it comes to something between me and Khaled, I never know who’s on the record because I’m the first one my brother goes to. The relationship me and Khaled got, when we catch that vibe, he sends it to me first,” Rick Ross revealed, sharing that he didn’t know Hov was going to be on the track. “I had the verse back to him in 30 minutes.”
4. On watching Wale and Meek Mill become superstars
Having signed both Wale and Meek Mill in 2011, the following summers spawned hit singles like the Miguel-assisted “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro).” Later in the conversation, Ross reflected on helping cultivate two of the industry’s most beloved artists.
“Without a doubt, to just see them grow and for me to be a young CEO. Of course, I’m already f**king with my brothers Gunplay, them my n***as. But going out and signing Wale and signing Meek, and watching what they both blossomed into, it felt good because I just knew I was correct on what I seen,” Rozay explained. “I saw that they were both geniuses. I saw that they were both dope as f**k.”
He went on to share, “The pictures that Wale painted, they know you can’t duplicate those. You can’t photocopy those. The energy that Meek creates when he’s in those stadiums, you can’t photocopy that. You can’t fake that s**t, so don’t waste your time.”
5. On his extensive catalog with Drake
Since 2010’s “Ashton Martin Music,” every time that Ross and Drake have collaborated, it’s led to a major payoff, whether it be in the form of several RIAA plaques or timeless cuts that transcend generations. They’ve worked together on tracks like “I’m on One,” “Take Care,” “Diced Pineapples,” “No New Friends,” and, most recently, “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” from 2021’s Scary Hours 2. Though the two have teased a joint project for over a decade and running, the Florida native opened up about their brotherhood.
Regarding his long list of collaborations with Drizzy, Ross stated, “I’ma be honest, I don’t know how much music we got because it’s so easy working with the homie. I’ma be honest, we’re in the two percentile when it comes to writers and creators… It’s when you walk into the room, you hear a beat that you actually love, think of it, create it, write it, and execute it right then. I can’t say I’ve done that with many artists.”
6. On JAY-Z rapping his verse for “Free Mason” 20 minutes before going onstage
Pivoting from the conversation about two percenters, Ross recounted a memorable interaction backstage at Madison Square Garden where he joked about Illuminati rumors and proposed the song concept to JAY-Z. After hearing the beat, Hov instantly freestyled his verse just minutes before going onstage, leaving Ross in awe of his effortless talent. The song ended up being “Free Mason” from Rozay’s 2010 album Teflon Don, serving as their third-ever collaboration.
“I’m backstage, Hov finna go onstage [at Madison Square Garden]. It’s 20 minutes right before the homie go on, so I play my verse and the beat from ‘Free Mason.’ He leaning against the wall right before he’s finna go onstage, I play it for him, and he was just damn rapping right there. What he’s saying is pertaining directly to what I’m talking about,” he explained.
7. On coming out of a coma
In March 2018, Rick Ross was found unresponsive in his Miami home, leading to hospitalization due to a suspected heart attack. Luckily, within a few days, he made a recovery and was subsequently released. Reflecting on the time, Ross talked about how his mother and Berish stayed by his side every day until he was finally conscious.
“I went through a health situation. I was unconscious for two or three days. When I came out, it was my mama right here, and Brett was sitting right next to her. Guess what? When I was in the trial situation, I ain’t say, ‘Homie, come to my trial. I got trial tomorrow, come there.’ I looked up, I looked back. Guess who was sitting in there every day for my trial? Brett Berish,” Ross told N.O.R.E. and EFN.
He also reminisced, “I woke up out of the coma and said there’s so much unfinished business I got. I want to do it now. I popped half that s**t of me in the hospital, and I told everybody that I wanted to see — which was very few — to meet me at Circle House Studios… We sitting right by the pool right there in that photo. I was like, ‘Yo, if I f**king died, I wouldn’t have been able to put my f**king album out. So one time for the team.’”
8. On “B.M.F.” being accidentally sent to Styles P instead of JAY-Z
A standout cut from his Albert Anastasia EP, “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” is another hit record that helped laminate Ross as one of the most legendary musicians of his era. The track peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart and laid the groundwork for producer Lex Luger whilst Rozay and Styles P laid down several references to the Black Mafia Family, Larry Hoover, and many more. According to the MMG rapper, the track was initially meant for JAY-Z, but his A&R at the time, Spiff TV, sent the song to the wrong person.
“When it comes to my records, Sam Sneak and Spiff were the only ones that if you ever got a record from Rozay, would send it to you. Spiff is definitely the one that’ll f**k up and send some s**t,” he joked. “I love the hip hop game so much that when I knew that I was going to send ‘B.M.F.’ to JAY-Z [but] we send it to Styles P, it ain’t even a mistake. I just felt that’s what it’s meant to be. And when Styles sent that verse, let’s mix it, let’s run it.”
9. On being scared of Tesla vehicles
Toward the end of the interview, Rick Ross expressed his reluctance to drive a Tesla due to fears of the vehicle being hacked. He shared via Instagram his concern that the government could potentially tap into the car’s system. The rapper painted a vivid picture of his Tesla, once hacked, autonomously driving him from a Wingstop restaurant straight to authorities awaiting interrogation.
“I’ve never had beef with Tesla. I’ve just been able to ride in cars that was controlled by other devices, that’s it. I’ve never had beef with Tesla, so y’all [tell] my big homie [Elon Musk], I send my love,” Ross stated. When asked if he would drive one if it was gifted, he added, “If he rode with me.”
He continued with a personal message to the Twitter CEO, stating, “Elon Musk, wherever you’re at, this the biggest boss in the game, Ricky Rozay. I want to go to space. I want to get in the rocket!”
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