Even in a genre known to blur the lines between art and reality, few are blurrier than Rick Ross. He's obviously not owed any favors from the real Noriega, he clearly does not have $99 million in his bank account. He's not even the real Rick Ross.
But whether it's a case of art imitating life or life imitating art, today it once again became clear that there are some very real parts of the criminal life he projects in his music.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a massive indictment of the infamous Gangster Disciples gang that spans nine states, 48 alleged gang members and includes multiple murder charges also includes a charge of particular interest to hip-hop fans.
Beginning in or about November 2012, defendants Shauntay Craig, Alonzo Walton, Kevin Clayton and Donald Glass, and other Gangster Disciples members threatened rapper R.R. with physical harm unless rapper R.R. paid the Gangster Disciples for use of the gang’s name and symbols.
As Smoking Section pointed out, R.R. is clearly Rick Ross, and the charges stem from a period in 2012 when Rick Ross cancelled tour dates in Illinois, Tennessee and North Carolina. While Ross claimed that cancellation was due entirely to his displeasure with how the shows were being promoted, the rumors were that Gangster Disciple (GD) members were angry that he used GD founder Larry Hoover's name in "BMF" and featured their symbol on his Black Bar Mitvah mixtape and had demanded payment or there would be consequences.
Whether Ross actually cancelled those shows because of the threats or because of disputes with a promoter only he knows, but we now know those threats were very real, and it adds a new layer of suspicion to the 2013 shooting of Ross' car by unknown assailants, from which he somewhat miraculously escaped unharmed. It's also worth noting that, to the best of my knowledge, Ross has completely stopped making any GD references in his music over the last three or so years.
Whether or not Ross was always a bawse, or he called himself a bawse so many times he eventually actually became one, the indictment is a fascinating look at the potentially fatal overlap between music and the real world. Keeping it fake and keeping it real can both mean big time success for rappers, and when it comes to Rick Ross, the lines between the two have seemingly become so blurry I'm not sure if even he can tell the difference anymore.