RICK ROSS with DJ CIPHA SOUNDS and DJ KID KUT at Sound Academy (11 Polson) Saturday (August 2), doors 10 pm. $40. maxamusent.com.
The reaction at Polson Pier when Rick Ross steps in on Saturday night should be intriguing. This is the screwface capital, after all, and Ross's on-wax persona went to great lengths to convince us he lived the life of Scarface.
So how stunning was it when The Smoking Gun discovered that Ross, one of hip-hop's most popular new artists, was really a former Florida Department of Corrections officer named William Leonard Roberts?
And that's his crime - breaking one of hip-hop's original rules: no frontin' allowed.
Ross could've admitted he was a former DoC officer and say he became a drug dealer after - quite gangsta. He could've gotten all Iceberg Slim on us and claimed to be a corrupt prison officer - even more gangsta. Or he could've gone with the truth and dropped the whole drug dealer shtick entirely. That's the most gangsta weapon of all: honesty.
But Ross continues to insist "my life is 100 per cent real."
Of course, he's not the first to embellish his street cred.
Jayceon "The Game" Taylor was one of the first post-2000 pseudo-thugs with a flagrantly fabricated past. Game, a tat-free NBA-wannabe, was getting dissed on dating game show Change Of Heart two years before Doc Dre and Jimmy Iovine built him into a Frankenstein gangster rapper. Akon was recently outed by The Smoking Gun for allegedly fabricating years of his car-thief kingpin past and has yet to clear up some of the details. And Robert Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, one of the first hip-hop superfakes, got disposed of with great and furious joy in the early 90s.
The real Rick "Freeway" Ross, the original drug-dealing legend who inspired DoC officer William Roberts, warned the rapper stealing his identity.
"I tried to let him know to be [himself], and that he couldn't be me. If he wanted to rap the lifestyle, he couldn't frame it based on my life," Ross told allhiphop.com from behind bars, where he awaits release in 2010.
Meanwhile, rapper/former officer Ross has denied the entire incident, even though his Social Security number matches the DoC officer's. Ross raps in Hustlin', "I know Pablo... Noreaga / the real Noreaga / he owe me a hundred favours!" Of course, if that ludicrous claim were real, one of those favours would have been getting a mob cleaner to erase this potentially career-killing faux pas, like yesterday.