- 11:40 AM, Feb 20
Once only an artist frequently featured in songs, Rick Ross stepped up into the spotlight as the lead man. The Haitian rapper was born William Roberts on January 28, 1977 and raised in the impoverished area of Carol City, Florida. He grew up in thick influence of rap culture where artists like Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur swept the nation with their hits. During the '90s, Roberts formed a rapping group called Carol City Cartel that later on led him to being signed to a small label Suave House Records that was also the home of 8Ball & MJG.
It was, however, beyond his expectation that Slip-n-Slide Records also took notice of his talent and signed him immediately. With the new recording house, Roberts who was by then known as Rick Ross, became acquainted to Hip-Hop heavyweights like Trick Daddy and Trina. He was frequently made a featured guest either in an artist's album or mixtapes. Ross also received a promotion when he was frequently brought along in Trick Daddy's concerts.
It was not until 2006 that he became a solo artist, penning the song "Hustlin'" that amazingly created a biding war between record executives. Starting from P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records to Irv Gotti's The Inc., they all wanted the right to the talented rapper. However, it was Jay-Z who eventually nabbed the deal with him, taking Slip-n-Slide under a contract with his Def Jam label. When it was released in March 2006, "Hustlin'" became an instant hit, peaking at #11 on U.S. Hot R'n'B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single eventually was certified Gold by RIAA in May 2006 and Ross has sold millions of its ringtones.
With such strong single, Ross released his debut album "Port of Miami" in August that year. Surprisingly, despite only spawning one single, the album managed to open at #1 on Billboard Hot 200 chart, selling well over 187,000 copies in the first week. While touring to promote the album, Ross prepared a second album that he named "Trilla" after his idol, Michael Jackson's all-time classic album "Thriller". The album was intended for the end of 2007 but aiming for perfection, Ross pushed it to March 11, 2008 with two singles in advance, "Speedin'" and "The Boss".
"It was one of the first vinyl albums I bought, along with Run DMC's 'Walk This Way'," he said of the album. "I just played it