The New Yorker Labels Rick Ross A Con Man Who Might Have Put The Last Nail In The Coffin For Rappers Who "Keep It Real"


Rapper Rick Ross' career has been fueled by the cocaine dealing he often refers to in his lyrics. In his song "Hustlin'" off of his debut album Port of Miami he rapped that he knew former Panamanian dictator/drug kingpin Manuel Noriega.


"I know Pablo, Noriega.The real Noriega, he owe me a hundred favors," he rapped.


In a subsequent interview with AllHipHop, Ross admitted he didn't actually know Noriega. What did you mean when you said “Noriega owes me favors”? [Manuel "Manolo" Noriega, the Panamanian military leader who was tried and convicted for drug trafficking. He resides in a Miami federal prison]? What does that mean?


Rick Ross: Noriega owe a hundred favors, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s just like, you know, I kick it with [Pablo] Escobar nephew. He live down here. That’s my n*ggas, you know what I’m sayin’? So I just meant like, you know, real ties with real n*ggas. That’s what that meant. I don’t know Noriega personally, but I know n*ggas who have met Noriega. I know n*ggas who was in federal prison two, three cells down from Noriega. You know what I’m sayin’? And when I talk to them, I let ‘em know you know that’s something I meant to ‘em in the movies. I’m into sh*t like that. So I’m gonna stand to that. That’s all that means.

So began the rapper's mantra of fake it until you make it that has worked for him thus far.


In a just published article titled 'The Sound Of Success: Rick Ross’ Confidence Game,' writer Sasha Frere-Jones of the New Yorker places the blame on the Miami rapper's shoulders for making it acceptable for rappers to embellish what they say in their lyrics to the point that the motto "keeping it real" has all but left the genre.


Check out an excerpt from the article below.


A central motif in contemporary hip-hop is rapping about drug dealing by artists who may not actually sell narcotics. Among others, Jay-Z, Clipse, and Young Jeezy have rhymed about a past or present involvement in the trade on the street. It’s typically impossible to determine whether they are telling the truth about themselves or simply the truth about their environment, and it’s never been clear whether listeners care. The Miami rapper Rick Ross, who is both physically and culturally very large, talks endlessly about extensive work in the cocaine trade. His involvement with drugs remains a mystery, but, in 2008, the Smoking Gun published documents revealing that Ross—who named himself after the Los Angeles drug dealer Freeway Ricky Ross—was once a Florida corrections officer with a perfect attendance record. He has become more popular, critically and commercially, since the revelation, and has modified his stories of drug selling only slightly. So rap fans must be either very poor listeners or fairly sophisticated ones—much more likely the latter.


Ross’ success in mimicking drug lords has brought him the ability to live like one of them. Profiles have documented his large homes, his fleet of cars, his shopping sprees at watch stores, his solicitous entourage and flexible schedule. Ross may represent the final abandonment of hip-hop’s mandate to “keep it real,” a concept that goes by different names now but has not gone away. Perhaps listeners know that this is a version of “Miami Vice,” a show that Ross claims to have been inspired by. The appeal is less some kind of documentary thrill than Ross’ ability to transmit the confidence that comes from blithely running up roaming fees while driving a Rolls-Royce through Samoa.

Frere-Jones's article reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend recently who asked me if I watched reality tv. (I do not). He explained that even though people know shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" are totally scripted and anything but "real" some people can't stop watching them.


Has rap become the new reality tv? And if so is Ross it's leading actor?

To read all of Sasha Frere-Jones' article head over to the New Yorker.

Originally spotted at HipHopWired




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Tags: A, Coffin, Con, For, Have, In, Keep It Real, Labels, Last, Man, More…Might, Nail, New, Put, Rappers, Rick, Ross, The, Who, Yorker


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Comment by kafkas on February 7, 2012 at 4:01am
NO ONE CARES ABOUT AUTHENTICITY!!! or the background story... its a bout making hits!!!
Comment by kafkas on February 7, 2012 at 3:58am
Who cares!!!! Rick Ross make good music! END OF STORY
Comment by john smith on February 7, 2012 at 3:54am
It’s almost as if the loss of authenticity has freed him to push the Rick Ross character to its utmost extreme
When Rick Ross compares himself to Big Meech and Larry Hoover on “B.M.F.,” the semantics are important. He has gone from saying that he “knows” infamous drug traders, to saying that he “thinks” he is one. The “I think I’m” in “I think I’m Big Meech/ Larry Hoover” implies that Rick Ross in fact knows that he’s not a big time coke dealer, but that he has convinced himself that he is. Again, Ross is winking at his own play-acting.
By himself, Rick Ross is an interesting case study. But his self-awareness and the bifurcation of his persona into character and actor could also have interesting ramifications in hip-hop music as a whole
Comment by Sharice J on February 7, 2012 at 3:35am
@Rell Jada did do time. When u start listenin' to rap? last year?
Comment by B'easy on February 7, 2012 at 3:18am
rappers are just story tellers man they just here to entertain they talk about what people actually out here doin that all
Comment by shownowt on February 7, 2012 at 2:45am
@Jay Truth there are many rappers out there talking about that kinda stuff
jasiri x , immortal technique , lowkey just to name a few
sad thing is tho they get no air play
Comment by Jay C. on February 7, 2012 at 2:41am
It's always the c0cksucker ChasinDatPaper that writes articles to try to bring down Ricky Ross.. 1) 50's music career is DONE. 2) Rick Ross is putting better music than 50! 3) F U C K chasindatpaper fggot!
Comment by F***THEWORLD on February 7, 2012 at 2:26am
He was a corrections officer.
So he knew how to mock them cuz he was around them everyday
Lol he had a perfect attendance? U can't be anymore of a square then that!!!
Its bad enuff rap sucks now, we also have to listen to ppls Fairy Tales!
I'm stick in to Rock!!!!
Comment by Ksirrah on February 7, 2012 at 2:21am
Rick was a C.O.!! That's different from anything any other rapper will say, and have said!!
Comment by acha franklyn on February 7, 2012 at 2:18am
maybe i should try it myself fake been a millionaire till i become one

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