Waking up in a bed and going outside to get the morning paper seems like the common thing to do. It’s so common that most people don’t even think twice when they complete the routine each morning. For inmates, waking up in a bed and going outside is a dream. Rick Ross, probably the most well known Black Drug Boss in History, was recently released from prison and earned his opportunity to freely wake up in his bed and go outside.
“Everyday I am so overwhelmed that I’m able to walk the streets without looking over my back. It is peaceful. I am getting an unexplainable joy from kids who hear my story and decide to rethink their decisions before going down a bad path”, he explains.
Ross started selling drugs at an early age. He says he was more exposed to drugs than he was to education when he was a kid. “Nothing has changed. The Drug Business is steal the most common form of success in the hood,” he says.
He recalls an occasion where he spoke to students at a high school in Tulsa, OK. “I asked them if anyone knew a Doctor in their neighborhood.” He says no hands were raised. He asked them the same question again in reference to lawyers. Still no kid raised his hand. He asked them if they knew a Drug Dealer and 75% of their hands went up.
“Until people in our community become successful then return to their neighborhoods to share how they made it, Drugs will continue to control our people.” He says Black Business Owners find success then leave their neighborhoods. Most never return. Drug Dealers earn lucrative money in the neighborhood and never hesitate to show a young kid how he does it.
“I started selling drugs with $125. It was a slow process. I had to become a drug expert. It took me a few months to make a real load of money. I had to look at it from business perspective. I had to learn when my consumers were paid, where they cashed their checks, how much they made, and I made sure I was one of the first people they saw when they were paid.”
When BET aired, Amercian Gangster: The Rick Ross Story, Rick Ross was in jail. He was awaiting to be released after serving a long sentence behind Drug Conspiracy. “I saw the BET American Gangster. I felt I set out to accomplish the goals that I had accomplished during that time in my left. I rose to the top. But I do not want that to be my complete legacy. I am completely transformed from that lifestyle.”
Many people believe the American Prison system is not a Reformatory System. Rick Ross knows by experience. “Our prison system is not set up to reform anybody. They are just time capsules. They are just holding men in cages like animals in a zoo except in the jail there is no trainer. You learn more violence in jail than you do on the streets.”
Your environment shapes your abilities. It tells you that you are a thug or a pimp by what is promoted to you within it. Once the environment has trained a man to think a certain way he won’t change. “Most men don’t even want to leave the hood. He feels he can’t compete in other parts of society. He’d rather stay where he feels he is getting ahead,” he says.
One of the most popular rappers in today’s Hip-Hop Industry is a man who calls himself “Rick Ross.” It’s no secret that the rappers identity was designed to mirror the original gangster. Many of his lyrics further confirm it. “I do not like the rapper using my name. I have a lawsuit against him right now. He is the epitome of the problem. He was a correctional officer. So, now he makes records telling people he has all this money from selling drugs and it’s a lie. He is totally disrespectful. He doesn’t want anyone to know who he really is. He took my name and uses it for his personal advantages,” says the Original Rick Ross.
He explains he was arrested for Conspiracy. In a nutshell, Conspiracy is the promotion of Illegal Substances with intent to distribute. “This rapper tells kids they can sell drugs and gets houses and get away free while doing it. If you go through your neighborhood and tell kids to sell drugs they will arrest you but a rapper can get in a song and say the very same thing to millions at one time and nothing is done,” he disapproves.
Ross remembers when he became interested in selling drugs. “I was illiterate until I was 28 years old. I couldn’t read or write but I learned to count and I developed amazing people skills.” He says Record Labels are responsible for today’s Drug Epidemic in the Black Community. “It’s criminal what they are doing.”
“The first time I ever heard or saw cocaine was on a movie called Superfly. When I left the theater I was determined to be a Drug Dealer. The movie planted a seed in my mind and I moved on it. The Music Industry does the same thing today. The records plant seeds in the minds of the kids and they honestly set out to be what they hear in these songs,” he believes.
While a very dark past will forever hover above his head, he says he loves where he is as a man in this season of his life. “I’m working with kids, youth groups, and many community programs and I feel I’m re-writing my legacy.” He has a talent agency that he travels the country with and gives positive advice to young people of all ages to help them discover their gifts and use them in a productive manner. Ross continues to remind himself daily. “It’s not how much time your spent doing wrong but how much time you’re willing to spend to make sure you can prevent another kid from making the exact same mistakes. This is how I plan to spend the rest of my life.”