Pretty Ricky

April 08, 2006


The clip for Rick Ross's "Hustlin" premiered on AOL this week, drops on BET this coming Tuesday, and will be burrowing into your skull for the rest of the spring (assuming its chanted intro hasn't comfortably nestled up in there already). We profiled Mr Ross in the Gen F section of our latest issue, and now that the vid is out we decided to put up the full article for web readery after the jump.




Dope Man

Rick Ross is larger than life

By Nick Barat


“Ride with me, New York,” shouted Cipha Sounds early this winter. “We about to make a movie!” And with that, the Hot 97 DJ cued up the intro to Rick Ross’s “Hustler’s Anthem,” a cut-off, sampled shout of HUSTLIN! HUSTLIN! HUSTLIN! hitting rapid-fire atop one-note fanfare. It’s heavy as shit although there are no drums underneath, just ever-swelling church organs building up to the opening verse: Who the fuck you think you fuckin with, I’m the fuckin BOSS/ 745, white on white, that’s fuckin ROSS! Then Cipha rewound it back to the intro another three times. Instead of dropping a bomb or an air-horn, he triggered the 20th Century Fox theme.


Subtract DJs getting all Michael Bay with the crossfader, and “Hustler’s Anthem” is still the most widescreen song on the radio. The beat is as triumphant as it is ominous—think a Crunk Juice take on Moroder’s Scarface score—but it’s still just playing co-star to Ross’s epically epic bellow, which details all manner of shipments and indictments in his Miami birthplace that isn’t MIA but “M-I-Yayo.” Jeezy has tried to claim that his Snowman could represent any hustle you wanted it to, even a legal one; on “Hustler’s Anthem”, Ross exclaims “My niggas really still deal cocaine!” over gothic, megaton synths. In a rap world already stuffed with drug dealing glam antiheroes, he manages to stand out as the character who’s now the most larger than life.


Ross is adamant that he’s not fetishizing the game, just breaking things down the only way he can. “Gas five dollars a gallon, milk five dollars a gallon,” he told me over the phone. “Shit, you better be whippin it real hard!” Before I could do the actual long division on those figures, Ross went on to insist he’s just a “street militant” Miami MC who grew up on equal doses of Ice Cube and Uncle Luke, and paid dues ghostwriting while waiting through shelved albums and fucked-up label deals. He’s hoping the success of “Hustler’s Anthem”—alongside newly-commissioned beats from Kanye and Scott Storch—will make his Career Criminal LP “the next Doggystyle, the next Ready To Die,” and humbly takes pride in being personally introduced around his newly adopted Def Jam home by Jay-Z. Yet his plans for the immediate future include a trip to LA, he says, “Just so I can say what’s up to motherfuckers at the Grammys with $150,000 in jewelry on.” Hello, Hollywood.

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Pretty Ricky