Rick Ross has been on a steady rise to prominence since the release of his 2006 album Port Of Miami on Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam. The LP was propelled by the summer smash hit “Hustlin” and Rozay hasn’t looked back since. Before releasing his fifth album God Forgives, I Don’t, he set up his Maybach Music Group label in a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, and began building one of the most powerful labels in the game. Ross and his MMG signee, Wale, grace the current cover of Billboard where the Miami native details the road to success, and explains how mentoring Wale has guaranteed the young rapper a share of the fortune.
“It wasn’t about hype, and it wasn’t about past success,” Ross said in regards to singing Wale. “It was about who Wale was as an MC–an incredible MC–that made me a fan. I felt we could make history together.” Wale’s major label debut Attention Deficit had disappointing sales despite big name features from Lady Gaga, Pharrell and Bun B, prompting Interscope to eventually drop the popular mixtape king. These days, Wale is in a much better position after his sophomore album Ambition (his first on MMG) sold approximately 164,000 copies in its first week–a far cry from the paltry 28,000 copies sold during his debut week in 2009.
In a short amount of time Ross added several new rappers to his label, including buzzing Philadelphia favorite Meek Mill, Atlanta trap rapper Pill, up-and-coming Ohio rapper Stalley and vocalist Teedra Moses. However, it was Rozay’s signing of Washington, D.C. native Wale that really grabbed attention, with some wondering how the wordsmith would mesh with the MMG clan.
Doubters have eaten their words now, as each member of the crew continues to carve out their own path to success. Meek Mill’s “I’m A Boss” has dominated urban radio for the past few months, while Wale’s silky tracks “That Way” and “Lotus Flower Bomb” are now having their turn.