Hip-hop has long been marred in violence. Often the music is drenched in street tales, reflecting a tragic reality for some and entertainment for others. However when news broke on Monday that Rick Ross was the target of a drive-by shooting in Florida, things became all too real.
"I think this is a sad day for hip-hop because a lot of times we all partake in the entertainment of it, without realizing that hip-hop was always built on the foundation of realness and keeping it real," Kim Osorio, editor in chief of The Source magazine told MTV News on Monday (January 28).
Osorio is an industry veteran who has long used her editorial scope to not only dissect hip-hop music, but report on the culture as well. "There were a lot of people who had a problem with what Rick Ross was doing. Now we're in a situation where the entertainment has become a reality. People are actually trying to hurt him and I think that's sad for us," she said.
Rozay has long been criticized for not only adopting the name of former real life drug figure Rick Ross, but for his past occupation as a corrections officer. The Maybach Music MC is often panned by his detractors for being something that he is not, but is widely praised for the deft of his rap ability. In December, members of the street gang known as the Gangsta Disciples began posting online videos threatening to shut down the rapper's out-of-town show dates. Some may speculate that those threats are connected with Monday morning's shooting. Brian "B.Dot" Miller, of RapRadar.com says it's too early to tell if the threats and the shooting are connected but strongly suggests Ross err on the side of caution.
"I think the next step for Ross to take is security. Lots and lots of security," he said. "There is no shame in having security depending on your level of celebrity. Certain artists just can't do things that regular people can do."
Fort Lauderdale police have confirmed that Ross was driving the silver Rolls Royce when a shooting occurred at 5 a.m. near the intersection of Southwest 15th Avenue and East Las Olas Boulevard. The rapper, who was driving with his girlfriend, heard multiple gunshots and ended up crashing his vehicle into an apartment building trying to evade fire. The car wasn't hit, there were no injuries and the suspects fled the scene. Osorio is careful that her and her staff at The Source are reporting responsibly. The hip-hop media took a black eye after coverage the infamous "East Coast/West Coast" war of the late 1990s, a fiery feud which ended with the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.
"Maybe we need to look at ourselves and make sure we're not playing into this," she said. "As soon as this broke I've directed people to run things by me before they're posting anything because I know as the news unfolds we're quick to get things up, at least on the online side. I want us to be very delicate in handling the situation."
Regardless of good intention, speculation will continue to swirl around Rick Ross' current drama, even if we don't know why. "It seems like there are a lot of people angry at him for unknown reasons, whether it's in his own hometown or while being on the road," Miller said. "I guess that comes with being one of the hottest in the game."
What do you think Rick Ross should do next? Let us know in the comments!