In part 2 of our BlackEnterprise.com exclusive with entrepreneur and hip-hop star Rick Ross, we sat down at Def Jam Records to talk about the emerging marijuana business market, his record label MMG branching out into movies, his business interests in Nigeria, the importance of team support, and why the “bawse” only selects certain brands to rep.
BlackEnterprise.com: You are constantly looking to expand your empire. Are there other franchise concepts you are eyeballing right now— if you feel comfortable telling us, so we don’t steal your thunder?
Rick Ross: (Laughs) No, you don’t have to worry about that. I feel the one for you to join is Wingstop. It’s the fastest growing movement and I feel like the future is real bright.
Let’s talk Nigeria. You visited and they loved you. We’ve been hearing about a potential oil business. What’s that about?
You know, I actually went down a few days before my concert. I’m fortunate to have a lot of Nigerian connections, friends— my artist Wale is Nigerian.
So when we got down there, we already had everything set up. It was a lot of love and a lot of fun. We actually left the hotels and got out into the city, and and they took us out on the water. We could see the city from the roads, as well as from the sea. One particular story, we were going through a channel when we rolled up on a huge ship that was halfway sunken. It had been there for years— all rusted—it was one of those ships from like the old days, historic, and I know I’ll never see another ship like that. We circled around this huge ship, with its nose in the air … Only a quarter of the ship is out the water. The rest is submerged … and then suddenly someone stuck their head out. Man we freaked out. I’m not sure how true this is, but we were told that was the captain and he never left the boat.
It was just one of those spectacles that if it was photographed and put right here, people would hang it on their walls. So Nigeria, man, it was just a lot of beautiful people. I really had a lot of fun. And I ate great. The food there is really good.
Let’s talk about Belaire Rose. Why do you endorse that?
It’s just one of those things that I really loved a lot. And I took a hold of. Like me looking at my iPhone and saying I love this product, I’ma rep it. Me being a person who is always traveling, always in the clubs, there’s something always to celebrate, I wanted something that I always wanted to feel was kinda mine. You know for me. And I thought a lot of people was unfamiliar with it so I said, let’s become a part of this movement. It’s just something cool to do and I just love the energy that the streets and the culture are giving the brand.
So do you only endorse products or brands that you like?
You know I most definitely have done certain things for money, but I have turned down a lot of things as well. I was offered seven figures for cigarette deals and I turned those down. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I may smoke, but I don’t smoke cigarettes. As a matter of fact, I’ve eased out of the smoking game, hence my affiliations today with the number one E-Cigarette company (m-Cig) which is a little healthier, so that was my way of balancing that out. So to answer your question, when I rep something I make sure it’s the best.
More on Rick Ross’ entrepreneurial plans and his take on the emerging marijuana business market on the next page …