Rick Ross Learns a Valuable Lesson

December 10th, 2012

(Photo: Maybach Music Group)

By Dan Reagans

Rappers glorifying certain aspects of street culture is the norm in hip hop. In fact drugs, guns, gang life and violence sound so good over a beat that it has become a surefire money maker for record labels and the surest way for an artist to establish a musical connection with fans in gangs or infatuated with gangs. Until recently, Rick Ross has been able to perfect and capitalize off this formula intertwining gang culture with his music, but after dropping his latest mixtape, The Black Bar Mitzvah, nearly two months ago he has discovered that not everyone is a fan of his efforts. The “Hold Me Back” rapper may be in the midst of an eye-opening experience that could change the course of his career.

Immediately after the mixtape’s release, Ross received an ominous warning from the North Carolina sect of the notorious Chicago-based street gang Gangster Disciples. The North Carolina GDs were not happy with the MMG boss for adorning the cover of the mixtape with the gang’s adopted symbol, the Star of David. Prior to the mixtape, Ross had also referenced the GDs founder, Larry Hoover, on his 2010 hit single “B.M.F.” But here’s where the rubber meets the road — after the Gangster Disciples made menacing PSA’s and threats toward Ross and his MMG label mates via YouTube, the Miami MC was reportedly forced to cancel the remainder of his MMG Tour due to threats of violence.

Though statements from Rozay suggest that the concert promoters were to blame for the cancellations, there is the more serious issue of that awkward moment in rap culture when gang life becomes too real for rappers. We saw it unfold right before our eyes in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. As public figures and voices we all have to watch what we say and the mannerisms we portray because politics in the board room often don’t shelter you from real-life repercussions. That goes for artists, DJs and journalist alike. Record executive Barry Weiss doesn’t visit little Haiti or the Magnolia projects in New Orleans. We all have a duty to keep it trill, but to do it within reason, and, more important, take some accountability for our actions.

While some would go as far as to say Ross’ star is starting to dwindle, only time will tell how and if the “Diced Pineapple” rapper can get out of this sticky situation. But one thing that is certain is that Ross must definitely alter the material in his music or these supposed threats could create a serious roadblock for him going forward.

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