Hurricanes by Rick Ross

Chad Johnson is one of the present or former NFL players that I follow on Twitter and he had done a little bit of talking and tweeting about Ross’s book. I had seen Rick Ross at a couple of concerts and also at a 40-yard dash competition in Ft. Lauderdale. He is someone that I’ve always respected simply because of his grind and hustle.

The awareness and experience that Ross had when growing up is something that I don’t think many of us can understand or relate to. It was admirable the way that he still has love for everyone and always has, even with all the conflict surrounding him.

Rick Ross, born William Leonard Roberts II, grew up in Miami in the 1980s in the aftermath of multiple race riots. There was extreme tension and resentment between Haitians and Cubans and that shaped his world view though he always had love for everyone.

Interesting how things change when the people we value most express their expectations for us.

Ross was a class clown and didn’t take school seriously. Eventually, his mom told him she couldn’t be coming to the school every other day. He started doing enough to get by for her sake.

I heard this in the book and was reminded just how influential some people can be and how important it is that we speak up and share what we feel is necessary to say. Without what others say, we may never have the opportunity to become all that God has for us; we must also listen with discretion.

He started by writing raps for one month to just one beat. He wrote to Rebbie Jackson’s 1984 single “Centipede” over and over. His music teacher at Miami Gardens elementary suggested he start writing with a theme.

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Crazy that he was involved in so many different areas of the southeast in the drug arena. Love the intelligence and awareness though, a lot of this book was cause and effect. He talked about some of the Reagan administration’s actions and then the effects that the movements had on the world that he was accustomed to.

Rick Ross was pushing weight all across South Florida and even up to the Carolinas. He would move marijuana and even some heroin. He shared that the system was all set up for him, all he had to do was keep building on it. He liked markets like Jacksonville and Okeechobee because they were largely untapped and he could set his own prices. Reagan’s administration passed the Sentencing Reform Act passed in 1984 really had an impact in 1998 when the feds really cracked down.

Very cool experience that he had to meet Shaq and then was able to refocus himself more deeply on music.

After his friend Jabar got indicted, he went to Georgia, had the chance to meet Shaquille O’Neal even he was part of the music scene, and dialed back his drug operations to lay low and focus on music.

It’s all about staying centered. I find it far too easy to get caught up in the numbers and the discouragement of them. We need to remember what we can really do and then actually do it. Ross got serious after this — real serious.

Ross visited Jabar and looked through his 50 page indictment. He saw tons of co-conspirators including his name, “Will aka Fat Boy.” Mike was also there and Mike reminded him what he said years before, “Remember, only 1 out of 1,000 hustlers make it. Everyone else ends up broke, dead, or in jail. Go get yourself a job. I’m not asking I’m telling.”

Crazy opportunity. Trina is one of the female rappers that I respect the most and it was pretty cool to learn about her working relationship with Rick Ross. They were able to create some wonderful art together and really impact the industry.

Ross said he had the opportunity to sign with Slip-n-Slide records, then the hottest label not only in South Florida but also one of the hottest labels in the rap game. The success with Trina elevated their profile to the national level.

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Love this. This is what it’s all about. Building. Building, building, and building. Things don’t come easy and that’s the whole point. If things came easy, more people would do things that they dreamt of, but it just so happens people don’t get kept up at night by their dreams, they fall asleep and dream about them! Only the work matters.

Cars and clothes he couldn’t buy yet. Places he’d never been. People he’d never met yet, that’s what kept him up at night and occupied his thoughts. He didn’t want to limit himself and had ambitious aspirations and rapped not only about his reality but also the dreams he had that he spoke into existence through his music.

When we plan for things to happen, it’s often that we are not able to have them happen in the way that we initially desire, they are redirected. But that’s okay, Ross and Kanye were able to work together in the future, just much later than initially anticipated. As Richard Branson says, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later!”

Ross had the opportunity to spit some flows on Trina’s album which garnered a lot of attention. Kanye West was in the studio when he was 25, when his beats were much cheaper. Ross was rapping over a lot of them and Kanye offered to executive produce a whole album but Ross wasn’t ready for that yet. He got two beats, one for him and one for Trina. He wrote the top two singles off Trina’s 2002 album. Eventually, him and Kanye sought to work together though Kanye got into a head on collision after a late night studio session before that was able to happen and it would then be another 8 years before their paths crossed again.

Need to be assertive, and while I would have acted in a different way, the motive and goal would have been the same.

Ross’s patience was wearing thin. He needed someone who wouldn’t ask for his songs to get played but needed someone who would tell the DJs to. E-class was that guy. He stole equipment from the studio and brought it into his garage. Josh (from his old label) let it slide and just believed in him so much he wanted him to succeed.

I’m not sure what I would have done had I been listening to the radio when Khaled did this. Would I have been annoyed? Probably not, it’s a very well made song and definitely has a great message as I always appreciate in the songs I listen to the most. Crazy how one thing or one song can impact so much for someone.

DJ Khaled took Rick Ross’s song Hustlin’ and stretched out the 4 minute sing over an hour by repeating it back to back to back. That was when everything changed for Ross. After that, all radio DJs in Miami were playing the song so frequently they were getting in trouble with their programs. Then the same thing started happening in New York.

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This is what it’s all about. Recognizing the people who are supporting us even before we do anything for them or can do anything for them is so important. I love the team that was built during this phase of Ross’s career.

Ross found a teenager showing incredible love to him by spinning his records frequently in the club, the kid got himself fired for overplaying the song. He made him his official DJ.
E-class found his true talents within marketing and promotions.
Ted was setting up meetings with all the major labels, they ordered the whole menu when the labels took them out for dinner.
Def Jam made the best impression and Jay-Z had a connection with Ross because of a relationship that Ross developed that preceded music.

Wayne is a legend in the industry and I love the mutual respect between him and Ross but more than that, the motivation that Ross had to launch his own label. I loved to realize and identify the recognition that Ross gave to Wiz even before he took off and became anything near the superstar that he is today. I wonder how different his music would have been had he worked directly with Wiz at a closer level.

After releasing his 4th solo album, Teflon Don, it was 11 tracks and called his best yet when released. Lil Wayne contacted him from jail and said the song “I’m not a Star” spoke to him. Ross then heard Wayne wasn’t being supported by his people as he should be which led Ross to want to focus on starting his own label. The first person he wanted to sign was Wiz Khalifa VHF but Ross didn’t have the same deep pockets as other labels and Wiz signed with Atlantic Records. Ross knew Wiz was a superstar in the making.

Wale is what I would consider one of the game’s greatest lyricists and has been able to do fantastic things throughout his music career.

Ross ran into Wale and was impressed by his lyricism. He liked that Wale had support from HBCUs and his hometown of Washington DC behind him and used his music to tap into his Nigerian heritage. Ross told him he would like to sign him, he didn’t believe his full potential had been tapped into.

Very cool the way that the world works in this way. More than ever before, people are able to be directly connected with their fans at a larger and larger capacity.

Ross’s twitter following wanted him to connect with Meek Mill and they had the chance to meet in NY when Meek was 23. Meek’s song “Rose Red” was hot and he wanted to get a feature from Ross for the remix. While Ross was charging close to six figures for a verse at that time, he gave him one just off of strength, he believed in Meek. Besides, Meek had just been signed to T.I.’s label but due to arrests and legal trouble, Meek was a free agent. When Meek got flown down to Florida to see Ross, he signed to the label on that day.

Crazy crazy crazy experience that Ross underwent but wow what a great friendship and relationship that he had developed with DJ Khaled by this point.

Ross had a seizure on the way to perform at the University of Memphis. After surgery, he spent a few weeks at his mom’s house in Memphis. Khaled had just spent $500,000 on a new tour bus and insisted upon driving him. Ross spent 2 weeks on bed rest, the most since before he started hustling. He read scripture, enjoyed his kids’ company and his mom’s cooking. Khaled and his wife stayed the whole time and recorded his radio spots on the tour bus, that was the kind of friend that Khaled is.

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Love this. Totally agree and support the mindset here. It’s something that I strive to encompass and truly live out.

“If it ain’t a long term play then it’s just small talk.” — Rick Ross

Outside of music, Ross says one of the most he hits moves Ross says he made was empowering his mom and sister to manage his finances full time. That’s when his money really started to pile up.

I agree with this. I remember reading Brad Stone’s book The Everything Store and Bezos shared that he felt it was too early to be writing a book about him. But that’s the thing, there is always going to be, as Ross said, another storm.

Ross said he struggled making peace with the fact that his biggest moments are still to come. He sat with that question for a while but came to peace with the fact that while he didn’t want to miss a hurricane, there will always be another storm. Ross said that what makes him a boss is not the stories that he tells but rather the ones he doesn’t.

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This book was something that forced me to expand my horizons and think about things from a different point of view. I really loved the vulnerability that Ross included throughout the book and the responses he had to what happened to him. He really encompassed the mindset of “You cannot control what happens to you but you can control your response.” Loved his outlook on life and the love, respect, and dignity that exudes everything that he does and has always done.

I gave this book a 4.5/5

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