Check out a 2014 #TBT of Rick Ross, and you barely recognize the guy. The certified boss and kingpin of his own Maybach Music Group empire underwent an astonishing transformation in the last year. Having shaken off some pesky legal issues, Rozay’s dropped over 100 pounds thanks to his self-branded excercise program, #Rossfit. Meanwhile, he’s prepping the release of his eighth studio album, Black Market, and he just announced his engagement to his 21-year-old girlfriend Lira Mercer.
Maxim recently caught up with the “Bawse” to talk weight loss, the music business and his highly unconventional marriage proposal.
Congratulations on everything that’s happening. Lots of good things.
Yeah, you know – I'm just staying focused. I'm just doing what I love and I'm getting some good results.
A photo posted by Ricky Rozay (@richforever) on Oct 2, 2015 at 2:32pm PDT
Let's talk a little bit about Black Market. You’ve often said that you try to make music that you want to listen to. So how did that impulse shape this album?
It's like a one-on-one conversation, and I'm being straight direct. With the music I'm making and the conversation, the flows, I'm really setting this album to be possibly the pinnacle album of my career.
Those are big words—you’ve done a lot of memorable albums.
Yeah, most definitely! And you know, I don't use those words often, but when you're in that zone and you're in that space creatively, that's the result. And I'm just speaking in all honesty, seeing the reaction of the first single, “Sorry,” featuring Chris Brown. It's the first record I ever had where on the world premiere it was added to mainstream radio stations around the nation. So that's big for me. I want to salute my little bro Chris Brown, and Scott Storch on the production, and everybody that's supporting the single.
I know going through some negotiations in terms of your contract. What are you looking for as you figure out this next step of your business?
The bottom line for me is always ownership at the end of the day, retaining ownership. You go and you have these conversations with these huge corporations, and you gotta fight and make sure you're not lost in the shuffle and you retain certain things. That's what being a boss and being an artist is all about—being able to exercise that right to make the situation unique, and that's what this most definitely will be once I close whatever situation I decide to venture into.
Do you feel like being at the top of MMG and having your own stable of artists has given you leverage or perspective in terms of negotiating as an artist yourself?
Most definitely. Just the way I've proven myself to not in terms of making hit records for myself and ghostwriting some of the biggest hit records for others, but hand-picking new artists, getting them in the studio, marketing them, shooting the viral, shooting the videos, releasing the singles, putting the compilations together, bringing French Montana into the fold and executive producing his debut album, of course Wale, of course Omarion closing in on a platinum single.... I mean, after proving myself on that level, I'm pretty sure every record label in the business would love for me to come to the table in some form.
They’d be foaming at the mouth to get Rick Ross on their label.
Big time! [Laughs.]
And now you’re all fit, too. For these guys who think that having a Dad-bod is the way to go, how do you talk to them about RossFit?
Man, you know me — I was just a proud, fat boss my whole life, you dig? I always enjoyed that. That's just always been who I am, but the older we get, we have to take care of our health first and foremost. We're having families, we're having kids, we have loved ones who depend on us, and motherfuckers like me have been champagne-ing and smoking big for years now, so it's time to some bring some new energy to the table as any boss would, and that's what RossFit's all about. That's just me taking my dieting more serious. For anybody that's reading this, the dieting is really 75% of weight-loss. So just dieting, working out, removing all of the worst elements, which to me were the sodas and the Chinese rice. I just had to remove a few elements like that and remain consistent, and I saw results.
You look amazing, but meanwhile you're off the market!
[Laughs] Everything's going good for me, that's all that means! Everything's going good.
So how did you propose to your girlfriend?
You know, I just told her she's mine. She ain't going nowhere.
That's the way a boss does it.
Yeah, yeah! That's the way a boss does it. You're right. Like, “Check this out. This is what it is. I forgot to tell you. Oh yeah, you're locked in for life. Let's go to dinner.”
A photo posted by Ricky Rozay (@richforever) on Oct 19, 2015 at 4:44pm PDT
How does that affect Rick Ross the player? Like what does it do for your pimp game? You're getting married!
Yeah, I'm engaged. I'm happy! And I think that's what it's all about — happiness, being happy. Did I see this? I may not have seen this, but it came to fruition. That's one thing that's one of the biggest characteristics of being a boss, which is knowing what you want. And when you know what you want, you go get that.
And Lira has been ride or die with you. She attended every court hearing with your family. She’s been there.
Yeah, she's been ride or die. She's a beautiful spirit and she brings a lot of things to the table for me personally, you dig?
I like the fact that you're telling the world like, “Listen, bosses can be romantic and bosses can be happy.”
Yeah, hopefully that will be a good example for a lot of youngsters to realize that when you're dealing with that special woman, loyalty has to be rewarded.
I know you have children. Do you want to have more?
We'd have to see. I am a boss, I'm active. I'm excited.
Yeah, you could form a corporation.
She said a corporation! [Laughs.]
Yeah, a conglomerate.
You know, the empire. We're going to see what comes!
For a lot of these broke dudes out there, what do you suggest is the first step to being a boss?
Your confidence! It costs you nothing. A boss is all about good business, so start with everything that you can control and you can turn up that costs you nothing, then lay all the nobs out, look at all the controls, all the remotes, and just turn them all up. It don't cost you nothing. But most definitely confidence. When you walk in a room, the room should feel that this guy's different. What does he do? Who is he? And that's confidence, not cockiness. It's certain ways you lay it on them. It's white glove service. You're always thinking as a hustler. White glove service.
Black Market is due out in December