Hip-hop’s elite gathered in a mid-town Manhattan hotel ballroom around the genre’s reigning boss – Rick Ross – in a show of unilateral respect and branding force befitting a man of his burgeoning stature. The occasion: the announcement of a July release date for the most-anticipated album of 2012, Ross’ long-awaited God Forgives, I Don’t. Ever the consummate business man and boss, Ross used the occasion to promote upcoming releases from his growing Maybach Music Group empire; Self-Made 2, the solo debut from Meek Mill, and more.
Though his past four solo albums have debuted at #1, in the past year Ross’ stock has risen faster than ever. The arrival of his instant-classic mixtape ‘Rich Forever’ – a self-released behemouth that some are calling the best rap of the year thusfar – and the constant barrage of new material, features and online content that he and his MMG cohorts flood the streets with daily, has taken Ross to a new level.
“We believe that Rick Ross is among the elite; one of the most talented and compelling artists in the industry,” said Def Jam Recordings president Joie Manda. “He’s done an amazing job of building his brand and image, and together with Def Jam’s promotional muscle and marketing savvy, we intend to elevate Ross’ stature across the board. It’s an exciting time to be in the Rick Ross business.”
“There’s Jay-Z, Kanye, and Wayne—and Eminem is the king of his own domain,” Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson recently told GQ. “And then there’s Rick Ross, right on that cusp.”
Not content with the cusp, and thoroughly determined to dominate the conversation, Ross bossed up and partnered with the superstar Usher for his single “Touch’N You.” Released to radio and online, the Rico Love-produced banger was the lead single from ‘God Forgives,’ and set the tone for Ross’ most epic, most ambitious album to date. In 2014, Ross released the albums Mastermind and Hood Billionaire.
“Before I was ever in this position, I promised myself I would never take it for granted,” Ross told the expectant crowd gathered at his Manhattan press conference.