Though Rick Ross has managed to capture the respect of industry peers and the adulation of fans across the world, many of the men who are actually living the thug life that he raps about just aren’t that into him. If ‘real recognize real,’ Rawse looks pretty unfamiliar to a whole lot of goons and that may have been what led to the end of a planned tour.
In the last couple of months, a few videos featuring actual, real-life gangbangers threatening the portly rapper have made their way from the dark underbelly of the internet to the rap blogs. Members of the Gangster Disciples were offended, apparently, by Ross’ casual use of founder Larry Hoover’s name. Yet many gave him a pass, until the so-stupid-it-looked-like-a-joke cover for the MMG founder’s Black Bar Mitzvah mixtape was released, featuring the “BMF” rapper’s face superimposed against a Star of David. Though Ross was making a strange attempt at likening himself to successful Jews (as many rappers have emulated Italian and Columbian criminals in the past), that particular symbol is of significance to the GDs as a nod to founder “King David” Barksdale.
Note: Did your head explode reading that? ‘Cause mine did as I wrote it.
If perping Kappa Alpha Psi is enough to get you stomped out at homecoming, just imagine how appropriating gang iconography reads to someone who actually lives and dies by it…even if you were actually just trying to appropriate Judaism.
On at least one of the videos, a Georgia Gangster Disciple member mentions that Rick Ross had not made good on a payment: “We ain’t gonna release this pressure on you until you release that check.” For years, rappers have had to pay local thugs for the ‘privilege’ of performing in their cities without being robbed, assaulted or worse. Essentially, they have to purchase a hood pass or prepare for the consequences. Even a real thug from New York could find himself in trouble out-of-state if he doesn’t have adequate representation in the local goon gentry, so it should come as little surprise that many of your favorite emcees have paid the toll.
When it was announced that Ross had canceled the entire MMG tour, many folks assumed that the videos (and perhaps other, less public threats) were to blame. If that’s true, this may be the one and only time I’ll tip my hat to the ex-cop. There is absolutely no reason to put himself, his artists, his staff and his fans at risk.
Stories about the rapper getting dissed, and later sued, by the original Freeway Ricky Ross have circulated for a while, yet they failed to cost him many fans. Why? Because most listeners accepted that dude’s tales of drug dealing and violence are largely-if-not-entirely fabricated, but find them entertaining enough nonetheless (a troubling phenomenon to explore another day.) I’d wager that the majority of those fans who do think Ross is telling the truth are under the age of 16 and/or look like Jamie Kennedy in Malibu’s Most Wanted. So, basically, this guy has been able to live out his gangsta fantasies and be handsomely rewarded at the same damn time.
Until now, perhaps.
I wonder if this will shatter the fantasy. After all, if Rick Ross were as bad as he and his fans like to pretend, he wouldn’t be worried about these threats or the guys who made them. But the ish just got real, reminding those who idolize or embrace Rawse that it really is “deeper than rap” in these streets and there can be consequences for fronting.
I have questions: Does the halfway-crook lifestyle look less appealing now that Rick Ross is living out "Shook Ones, Part II?" Is it still fun to pretend to be Ross as seems to have lost his ability to travel freely across the country? Can he still perp gangsta hyper-masculinity after being humiliated by a bunch of small-time hustlers who find him to be so non-threatening that they’d appear on camera declaring their intentions to get at him? Am I the only one who feels incredibly depressed at the existence of ALL of these people?
Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com.