Rick Ross Aims For 'Greatness' With Nas' Help

'You have to be able to rise to the occasion,' Ross says of working with Nas on 'Usual Suspects.'

[artist id="2000082"]Rick Ross'[/artist] first two projects debuted on top of the Billboard album charts. For the third go-round, Deeper Than Rap, due April 21, the Miami rapper is seeking something even bigger.

"That's when everyone can judge [for] greatness," Ross told MTV News.

To help him achieve his goal, the Def Jam star reached out to labelmate [artist id="1000"]Nas[/artist] for the Inkredibles-produced "Usual Suspects."

"That song is, like, really me being a fan of Nas, for so long me just respecting the way he moves. Nas is such a veteran but, at the same time, he's more relevant now than he was before, especially in the South," Ross explained. "So there's a lot to learn there. So when the concept came about — the 'Usual Suspects' — the record was not a boastful record. It was a record that I felt needed somebody to really be sincere, to take time to think about what they were gonna say. 'Cause I most definitely did. And Nas came to light. It was my first time having the opportunity to work with him, and I take my hat off to him just for taking that time out and doing it in such a timely fashion and giving me an incredible 16-bar verse."

The Bawse might be thankful now that the record is complete. But during the recording, Ross said he put more effort into his first verse than usual. Then he joked that he had to get his mind right to finish the third verse after Nas sent back his vocals.

"I poured 'hit' all into my first verse 'cause I knew I was gonna give him the record. Then when he send the joint back to me and I heard his verse, I was like, 'Wow,' " Ross said. "I might have smoked three weeks in a row before I wrote the third verse. [Laughs.] But that's the momentum and energy you need if you wanna make a classic record. You have to be able to rise to the occasion. ... I felt like it was gonna be a special record to me, and he gave me that heartfelt music I needed to hear."