National News

September 18, 2013

Q&A: Rick Ross on Reebok, Jay-Z, acting and music

ATLANTA — Even though Rick Ross lost his deal with Reebok this year, the Miami-based rapper continues to sport and promote the sneaker brand.

“I’m still supporting Reebok. I’m still wearing Reebok,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s nothing more than that. I’ve been wearing Reebok my whole life. ...Still got nothing but love for Reebok.”

The burly, husky-voiced Ross became known for his colorful and heavy lyrics, rapping about the grimy street life, money, luxury cars and women. But the Grammy-nominated performer took things too far on Rocko’s song, “U.O.E.N.O,” where he raps about giving a woman the drug MDMA, known as Molly, and having his way with her. Petitions were issued by women’s groups and rape victims.

Reebok terminated its contract with Ross in April following the heavy criticism.

But Ross says he has moved on and learned from the setback. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the 37-year-old talked about Reebok, his acting career — he appears in the Starz drama “Magic City” — his relationship with Jay-Z and his compilation album, “Rick Ross Presents: Self Made 3,” released Tuesday.

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AP: What did you learn from your setback with Reebok?

Ross: You live and you learn. I think the most unfortunate thing about the whole situation was just the fact that my lyrics offended some ladies, especially dealing with the topic of rape. It was interpreted as rape. I really wanted to make sure that I apologize to any woman that I offended in that way. I just wanted to make that clear. When I make music and I’m talking on records, it’s like I’m painting a picture. In my mind, I’m seeing a film. I apologize.

AP: How did the women close to you feel about the situation?

Ross: They know where I stand as far as women. They know the level of respect I have for women. With my mother being the most beautiful woman in the world, she knows where I’m coming from.

AP: Jay-Z has supported you since he signed you to Def Jam in 2006. How has he helped you through your maturation?

Ross: He’s been a part of pretty much every project I’ve put together as a solo artist. He’s always been there any time I’ve made a call. It’s just an array of things I’ve learned from him outside of music, like handling business and money. ...I come from down South where I want the music, bass and the beats that shake the walls. Hov talked to me about performing (and) what live music brings to the table.

AP: This is your label’s third compilation album and it mainly features you, Wale and Meek Mill. Why do you think it’s beneficial to release a compilation album?

Ross: When you see compilations like this, you see longevity. With us, we have people who are on top of their game. But we want to bring more artists into the fold, and give young artists an opportunity to be on the same playing field with us. That in itself speaks volumes to someone at home chasing their dreams.

AP: What was going through your mind when you first saw yourself on “Magic City” as the character Butterball?

Ross: Honestly, when I saw myself come out from around that corner, I was really amazed by how handsome I looked. It’s like I got to see myself outside of seeing myself. I said to myself, ‘Wow, that’s an attractive (expletive) there. Not to mention, he’s rich.’ I just kind of laughed at myself. All the calls I had coming in, everybody was (messing) with me, picking at me and saying how I charged out to the car. They said I was talking like I was not me. I told them, ‘So what ... I’m a boss.’

AP: Do you want to act more?

Ross: I think it’s super cool when you’re able to act, but I’m really exciting if it’s something I’m a fan of. There are a lot of films that I see and like today, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to be a part of it. Even if I had the opportunity or the offers, I could pass. I’ve passed on many films and lost checks, but that’s not what drives me to act. On “Magic City,” in particular, it’s a show pertaining to my city (Miami). Once I began watching it, I became a fan.

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