On "Push It," a single off of his Port of Miami album, Ross compared his rap rise not only to the fictional Scarface but also one of media's biggest moguls. "Who would've thought that fat girl would grow into Oprah?/ Or that boy Rick Ross would be molding the culture," the then-rookie rapper spit with a veteran's confidence.
Over the course of the past year, the Maybach Music boss continued to curate rap, not only with his tunes, but with the all-star MMG fleet, and that's why he's been able to hold his top-5 position, landing at #3 on the "Hottest MCs in the Game VIII" list.
The Teflon Don's 2012 impact has been undeniable. His DNA can be found in material by his MMG roster, including Meek Mill, Wale, French Montana and Gunplay, but he also penetrated Hollywood with his contribution to Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" soundtrack, "100 Black Coffins."
Album: God Forgives, I Don't, MMG's Self Made Vol.2
Selected Mixtapes: Rich Forever, The Black Bar Mitzvah
Singles: "Diced Pineapples," "Touch 'N You"
Street Bangers: "Hold Me Back," "So Sophisticated," "3 Kings"
Key Guest Appearances: Usher's "Lemme See," French Montana's "Pop That," Ace Hood's "Bugatti"
Meteoric Metrics: Rick Ross notched a #1 LP, earned a gold plaque and a Grammy nomination with God Forgives, I Don't.
Business Ventures: Like a true boss, Rozay expanded his MMG roster by adding singer Omarion, Rockie Fresh and, in a joint deal with Bad Boy, French Montana. To top things off, Ross then announced that he'd moved his label from Warner Bros. to Atlantic. He also signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Reebok.
Tours: Recruiting Meek Mill and Wale, Rozay set out on the multi-city MMG Tour. Over the course of a year, the he also touched stages at Hot 97's Summer Jam, Birthday Bash in Atlanta and Cali Christmas on the West Coast.
Monumental Moment: Rick Ross is no stranger to major headlines, but he dominated the news after he was shot at on January 28. Ross escaped the gunfire and soon got to work, making his impact felt on songs like Ace Hood's "Bugatti" and Young Scooter's "Columbia" remix.
Forecast: Later this year, Rozay aims to drop Mastermind, his fifth LP in as many years. While it's still unclear where he'll go sonically, given Ross' track record, it's not hard to imagine another #1 album and golden plaques for his walls.
"When you talk about some of these cats, it's a quantity-versus-quality thing, and that's not the case with Ross — he has both," said MTV's VP of Music & Talent Programming Strategy, Yomi Desalu. "Ross is out there putting in work."
Not only did Rozay drop his gold-selling, #1 Billboard album God Forgives, I Don't, he also rallied his Maybach Music troops to release the compilation Self Made, Vol. 2. Of course, who can forget that he gave out a pair of mixtapes for free: Rich Forever, at the top of 2012, and the jacking-for-beats-style tape The Black Bar Mitzvah, in October. Combine all of that with a string of features on hit records like Usher's "Lemme See" and French Montana's "Pop That" and it becomes increasingly difficult to deny the MMG mastermind.
"We definitely saw these recent events where he found himself dodging bullets," said MTV News Managing Editor Rebecca Thomas, referencing the January 28 drive-by shooting that targeted the Miami rapper. Acknowledging Ross' "teflon" persona, she added, "I just kind of feel like the work really spoke for itself."
The way MTV's Hip-Hop Brain Trust sees it, Rick Ross had a shot at topping the Hottest MCs list again, but his biggest competition was ... Rick Ross. "God Forgives, I Don't didn't quite live up to being the follow-up to Teflon Don't, argued "Week in Jams" Story Producer Renaud Jean-Baptiste. "I think Teflon Don is a better project. He could've been #1 easily if he just took that music up another notch."
Roundtable veteran Steven Roberts had no real knocks against Ross, but co-signed that this year, the Bawse was his own biggest competition. "I think the reason he is #3 is that there are two artists that have kind of put themselves out there a bit more and transcended," he said. "I think Ross set a very high bar."