Rick Ross, aka Renzel, Talks ‘Black Market,’ Healthy Living, and Moving Past His Mistakes
"I have so much more to say. I’ve got some game to give."
“The biggest boss that you’ve seen thus far” is gearing up for the December 4th release of Black Market—the eighth and final album he will owe Def Jam since his initial 2006 contract with the rap powerhouse. Since the days of “Hustlin’” and “Pushin’ It,” Rick Ross has been through a lot more than just a few nicknames. Soon after taking on the moniker Renzel (he explained to Hot 97, “Renzel comes from the blend of ‘Rizzle’ and Denzel.”), life has certainly thrown a few curveballs at the 39-year-old emcee. This past summer, Ross found himself in legal trouble that caused him to serve jail time on charges of kidnapping, assault, and battery. Overcoming this obstacle did not prove to be difficult for the 10-year veteran. Quick to revive his morale, Renzel announced that he was finally settling down. The lucky gal was a 22-year-old model named Lira Galore, on whose finger Ross wasted no time putting a ring. However, According to TMZ, the two recently broke off their engagement. Despite yet another setback, Renzel trails on like a boss.
Moreover, Rozay let loose Black Dollar: a free 17-track project containing the standout single, “Foreclosures,” as well as features from the likes of Future, Gucci Mane, Wale, and Anthony Hamilton. There is definitely a statement being made when an artist puts out that much free original music in such close proximity to their album’s release. The Maybach Music Group CEO is clearly on a mission to stay on top at all costs. By cutting an impressive amount of weight, making smarter food selections, and constantly knocking out records in the studio, Ricky Rozay is more active than ever. What could possibly be his motivation? Maybe it’s that 109-room Atlanta estate (formerly owned by boxing legend Evander Holyfield), where he was recently legally confined to. Hey, if you’re going to spend time on house arrest, you might as well do it inside an opulent mansion. With the support of his fans, and legal team, Ross seems reasonably content with his progress. He reveals his newfound zest for life in an exclusive chat below, breaking down his “RossFit” regimen, giving an update on his predilection for pears, and elaborating on the Black Market experience.
Mass Appeal: First of all, much respect to you for being able to work on music despite your personal trials and tribulations. You just put out a free project called Black Dollar, and now you’re about to release your third studio album in two years. There is no holding you back, is there?
Rick Ross: That is most definitely without a doubt. That’s how you fight battles and win wars. Dudes like myself, you know, we go all out and keep moving. Right now, I’ve got everything on the table. It’s that burning passion to win that has always given me that drive. It’s what’s always motivated me and kept me in that top tier. The passion that I have for the music and my competitive spirit kick in at some point—and that combination becomes deadly.
Have you always been this active, or was there a recent push to churn out more music?
This is where I’m at with it right now. I was incarcerated for three weeks in confinement, laying under a light for 23 hours a day… The whole time I was in there, so many things ran across my mind, between the disconnection from my fans and everything I was going through. That was one of those moments where I felt the biggest hole in myself. That was the first time in so long that, if I felt something on my chest, I couldn’t just go and create something. This was my first time in that situation, and I felt that hole. So when I finally arrived home on that first day back, I believe I did five or six records. I just knew I was ready to give the streets and my fans something that they would love. This has got to be the most thoughtful music I’ve made. On this project, I have so much more to say. I’ve got some game to give.
Your new Chris Brown-assisted single is called “Sorry.” You let everyone know that God Forgives and you don’t, but are you sorry for anything?
I’m just sorry for everything, really. I’m sorry for any past fuck-ups committed. That’s it; we just move on.
Water under the bridge…
Yeah, let it flow…
Scott Storch produced this particular record. That is a man who has had many ups and downs in his career. Was “Sorry” your way of extending a helping hand to the eager producer trying to make his comeback?
You know, Scott has always been a big homie that I’ve looked up to for a long time. I’ll never forget, when he was the most sought after producer in the game, he always took time out and made room in his studios for myself and others—and that was reciprocated. Once it was time for Scott, he reached out and said, “Yo, I’m ready to get back in,” and I said, “C’mon, I got a spot ready for you. C’mon…” He really gave me a special one this time.
Is the future finally looking bright again for Scott?
He’s most definitely more motivated than ever; that’s Scott. The beauty of it is that he has so much to bring to the table: his ideas, his concepts, et cetera. I’m just happy for the homie to be back in that lab, doing what he do: trying to get those number-one records. He’s back on his A-game. Any homie advice and family advice, I got that at all times for him, and vice-versa. He’s seen the vision. We put it all together, made it happen, and the record is really taking off. The big homie Scott is gonna shine, believe that.
Besides Storch, who else assisted with Black Market?
I got up with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. They always bring the most to the table when it comes to creating those sounds and feelings I look for. We did that once again, but just on a higher level. It’s gonna feel like Rick Ross and you are sitting in the room. When you listen to this album, you’re gonna sit back, dim the lights, light up yourself a smoke and feel like Rozay’s in the room with you. On this one, Rozay ain’t talking to the crowd—he’s talking to you.
You have always kept it genuine with Pitbull throughout the years as you rubbed shoulders with him. Are you aware that Pitbull has hired the same bass player you used on Trilla?
Oh wow, that’s dope. That lets you know, it’s that Miami ear.
What do you think is so unique about people from Miami?
You know somebody’s from Miami when you see ’em; there’s just a confidence to ’em. It’s the way we can interact with anyone because we’ve been around everyone, coming from where we’re at. It’s such a huge melting pot of every different race, hustling everything you can imagine. That’s exactly what the Black Market is.
Black Market will be your eighth LP. It shares the same name as the 7th album from jazz fusion band Weather Report, which happens to be the album that introduced the world to the late great Jaco Pastorius. He went on to lead the band to stardom and became renowned as the greatest to ever play the bass. Jaco was not only a Broward County native, but he also came up in the Miami music scene in the early ’70s while teaching at the University of Miami with Pat Metheny. Were you aware of this South Florida connection?
Wow…I like that. I’m most definitely gonna be looking into that. That’s dope. I see you’re really into that bass, I like that. Coming from South Florida, we ride around in cars with the windows down and the music turned up, and it was the basslines that were always the most significant part of the music for us.
From Weather Report to Rozay, it seems like South Florida is all about that bass.
You called it right out; most definitely.
For those trying to get their RossFit on, will this album be workout-friendly?
There’s most definitely some workout bangers on here. This is gonna be the soundtrack for that RossFit clique. RossFit is the mantra, and we’ve been having discussions with a particular company for about four months now, so hopefully at the top of the year, we’ll have some good news for RossFitters across the globe. It should be fun. RossFit is just all about staying in shape and trying to better yourself a little bit at a time. It’s no military academy vibe—it’s just for somebody that’s easing the bread out of their diet, easing the rice out of their diet, and most definitely cutting the soda off.
— Amaris Jones (@AmarisJones) October 4, 2015
The tweet above is from your personal chef, who has helped implement healthier cuisine into your diet. Have you found it difficult to latch onto trendy, healthy food choices, like kale?
You know, there’s a lot of stuff that I haven’t tried yet. My chef just began introducing kale into my diet, and with the different ways she steams it and mixes it in with the things I love, it’s cool. I definitely love broccoli and cauliflower, I just can’t go straight kale yet; not Renzel.
Shout out to all the pears. Are they still just as present in your diet as they were when you first cosigned them?
I’m most definitely still on them pears. They’re still my main, go-to fruit. I’m still eating good and maintaining where I wanna be, weight-wise. Everything is coming together.
What is Renzel’s RossFit playlist looking like right now?
You know, Renzel is an old-schooler, so the music always has to be vintage. I love vintage music. My playlist consists of Anita Baker, Sade, Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory, Eightball & MJG’s On The Outside Looking In, the classic Biggie, the classic Tupac, and maybe some Bobby Womack. I work out to that music all of the time.
Closing out, the influence you have over your city is certainly worth noting. As someone so heralded in Miami, there could definitely be an opportunity to participate in the political sphere—like 2 Live Crew’s Uncle Luke, who ran for mayor a few years ago. Would you ever run for mayor of Miami? And if so, what would be your agenda?
I doubt that I would ever really consider that. My position would more so be to support whoever was running, and maybe try to influence whatever the plans were. For me, my goal is to always go to the kids first, because I always think back to the things that I felt would have helped me a lot more when I was growing up.