He professes to be “realer than the fake” but after images and documents surfaced on the net confirming his past as a correctional officer, Rick Ross’ authenticity has been challenged. While he’s repeatedly denied ever working as a C.O.; SOHH caught up with a few industry insiders in Ricky’s hometown to get Miami’s take on how the rumors will affect his career and see what his own streets are saying about the buzz.
Turns out, the talk is nothing new in the MIA.
“People have been saying he was a C.O. in Miami since he came out,” said Ali Muhammad, the publisher of 21st Century Hustle magazine who also manages DJ ChipMan, a pioneering Miami street DJ.
Apparently the pictures weren’t anything new either.
“Everyone had knowledge of those pictures here in Miami,” said femcee Jacki-O, who has been accused of leaking the photos, which she vehemently denies. “Everyone knew of his past job or whatever.”
Regardless of who knew before, the world knows now. But some don’t think it’ll have any affect on the Trill rapper’s career.
“People forgot about R. Kelly,” Muhammad pointed out. “As long as Ross keeps making hot records that people want to listen to it’s not going to matter. It’s only a core group of people who will be saying he’s not real but most will like him for his music.”
Though it will inevitably matter to some, TJ Chapman – a Florida DJ who is not from Miami, but is famous for breaking Southern rap tracks with his TJ’s DJ’s record pool - said he doesn’t see why it should.
“It doesn't change the person he is,” he said. “Whether or not he was a corrections officer from '95 to '97 and now it's 2008. That's 11 years, man.”
Miami radio personality DJ Irie knows Ross personally and said anyone who does is gonna ride with him.
“He shows love to the people who have been supporting him,” Irie said. “He’s not one of these dudes who thinks he’s better than anybody else.”
And who’s to say Rick’s raps aren’t real, even if his was a C.O.?
“It's very easy to be a correctional officer, and you in Miami, the cocaine capital of the world and you got all these big drug dealers locked up. They need a middle man,” TJ pointed out. “They still doing business on the streets, how do you know he wasn't the connect? How do you know he didn't get the connects from when he was working there to become who he is?”
Whether the talk is true or not, everyone SOHH spoke with agreed, the rumors aren’t about to stop Rick.
“He’s had an amazing year so far,” Irie said. “As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s gonna continue to rise and be a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.”
[For more on the Southern rap scene peep SOHH Dirty]