Can rap be funny? Can a funnyman rap? And just what the hell is Rick Ross smiling about? We hit the beach with the Bawse and Andy Samberg to find out. It’s going to be a hot summer.
This feature appears in Complex's June/July 2011 issue.
By now you’ve seen a few sides to William Roberts, better known to the world as Rick Ross. There’s the corrections officer smiling awkwardly in a grainy photo; there’s also the mogul-in-the-making who calls the shots for his newly minted Maybach Music Group imprint. And, of course, there’s the heavy-set rapper who spits pitch-perfect coke rhymes and makes everyone forget the C.O. and eagerly anticipate what the mogul might do with an army behind him. Yup, we’ve all seen those sides to Rick Ross, but we’ve never seen the humorous, witty “character” whose personality is as large as his waist-line. Until now. Rap critics, feel free to call him a character, ’cause that’s what he is—a character who cracks jokes, takes off his shirt faster than the girls at Sue’s Rendezvous, and is totally comfortable in his own heavily tatted skin.
We’d like to take all the credit for bringing out Ross’ comedic side, but that nod goes to Saturday Night Live funnyman Andy Samberg. The 32-year-old comic vet whose television skits turned viral videos (“Dick in a Box,” “Lazy Sunday”) have racked up more views than “2 Girls 1 Cup” is slowly solidifying his place as an SNL legend. You may scoff at the thought of a gangster rapper and a parody rapper sharing the same stage (or the same cash wave for that matter), but the connection isn’t too far-fetched when you’re dealing with two people who are into setting up their crews for success. At the height of Maybach Music and Lonely Island hype, Ross and Andy bonded over dick jokes, dissing comedians, and drug-lord nicknames. Just let it be known, if these two guys ever pop up on an SNL digital short together, we’re coming for the check, Lorne.
Both of you have new albums. Andy, what’s the science behind Turtleneck & Chain?
Andy Samberg: Songs about our dicks, fake rap, and other fake music.
Rick, you have God Forgives, I Don’t. What’s the direction with that?
Rick Ross: It’s beautifully violent. It’s street music at its finest.
Beautiful violence and penises. Your marketing departments must love you. Do you guys expect any other similarities out of your respective albums?
A: They’re both going to come out. [Laughter.] They’ll definitely both be available on iTunes. CD. In the future we’re going to get them out on laser disc.
R: Fuck, yeah!
Rick, can we expect some dick jokes on God Forgives, I Don’t?
R: There will be a few “suck my dick” and blow job mentions here and there.
Already you’re making a connection.
A: Rick, did you ever see the biopic on Don King? My favorite line from that is when he’s in the bathroom talking to a dude while he’s taking a piss and the guy asks, “Hey Don, aren’t you going to wash your hands?” and he’s like, “Shit, I wash my hands before I touch my dick!”
R: [Laughs.] That’s true, though.
When did you both decide that you wanted to be rappers?
R: But he hangs with cool-ass rappers.
A: I’ve been lucky enough to chill out with rappers because of my love for rap music.
What about you, Rick?
R: Hanging out at an arcade and they had a big-ass screen on the wall. Some fine chicks walked in and they had biker shorts on. I was in fourth or fifth grade at the time, and I was like, “Damn, these are the finest chicks I’ve ever seen.” I just saw the way they reacted to Big Daddy Kane when “The Symphony” came on. I started doing the flattop right there. [Laughter.]
Rick, is there anyone you don’t fuck with comedically?
R: I fuck with my homie right here. We don’t fuck with Carrot Top.
A: I don’t think I would step to Carrot Top, though—he’s jacked as hell. [Laughter.]
But maybe if you were rolling with the Bawse…?
R: He’s got the Bawse with him now.
A: That’s true, yeah, I’d go at it.
R: Yeah, we said it. Fuck Carrot Top!
Andy, who’s the softest dude in rap?
A: I’m not really in a position to call anyone in rap soft. Probably me.
Rick, if you got into acting, what kind of role would you play?
R: “The Weed Head.” The Bawse weed head. Testing the strains that I got my team growing for me. That’s what I do, I count the money and I test the product.
What’s the science behind a great ad-lib?
A: I try to do “Diddly woah,” but it’s taken so I can’t do it. [Laughter.] I’m still working mine out.
But how do you spell that? In case we wanted to put it in a script.
R: I don’t know how you spell it. A few Gs and throw some Hs in there. [Laughs.] Some shit like that.
What’s your writing process like?
R: I just go with the vibe. I usually have an idea that I want to build on and let the music take me where I wanna go.
A: We go one of two ways: We either have a premise and then create or find a beat that goes with it. Or we sift through beats until the idea comes through the music.
Andy, there’s a track on your album called “No Homo.” Can you take us through that one a little bit?
A: Yeah, it’s informative for people who don’t know about “no homo” and kind of explains it. And then it gets progressively more and more gay.
R: I’ve been on Twitter before, and somebody will say something to me with “no homo” at the end. And I’m like, Why the fuck would you even need to say that?
A: People are thinking it then they say it. Saying “no homo” makes people think about gay stuff way more. They’re hyper-conscious of it.
R: I don’t use it. There’s no reason. I mean you tweet me, I hope you’re no homo. They’ll be like, “Yo man, let me get your blunt, no homo.” That’s why I don’t smoke with nobody.
A: We have cousins who are 11 or 12 years old who are like, “Hey man, do you wanna come over and hang out, no homo!” Like, fucking kids just come over and hang out with each other.
Rick, what if SNL came to you about getting on a remix?
R: You know SNL’s got huge budgets and shit. But just on some pro bono shit? Nahhhh. [Laughter.]
What’s a lazy Sunday for Rick Ross?
R: Lounging in my Jordan shorts, my Gucci sandals, an ounce of weed, and a real thin Polo tee. And make sure it’s Polo because those T-shirts are real thin. You feel like you’re naked.
Andy, what’s a lazy Sunday for you?
A: Exactly like the song we do. Get some cupcakes, go see Chronicles of Narnia. If it’s not in theaters, watch it at home.
It’s safe to say you guys might not hang out on Sundays.
R: It’s a possibility. If I get stoned enough I could watch the shit he’s talking about.
A: That’s true. And I could easily wear a T-shirt that is very thin.
R: With some Jordan shorts.
A: With some Jordan shorts! See, we’re both super open-minded!
Rick, do you have a favorite SNL skit of all time?
R: Eddie Murphy in the hot tub. That’s one of my favorite ones. And also the one where he powdered himself up like the white man.
A: “White Like Eddie.”
R: Yes, “White Like Eddie.” That shit was hilarious.
Rick, would you ever like to host SNL?
R: Fuck yeah. SNL, that’s classic. That’s history right there, you know what I’m saying? Some of the best moments in television.
Does comedy rap get groupies?
A: No comment. [Laughter.]
We take it you have a girlfriend.
R: She knows he has groupies. [Laughter.] He just doesn’t “at” them on Twitter.
DMs only, right?
A: We have lovely fans. Lovely fans and they’re all very supportive.
Rick, is rap ever funny?
R: Funny? Yeah, sometimes it can be funny.
How do you feel about parody rap? What Andy and his group do?
R: I like it. I like to see those motherfuckers be jackasses on their records. Especially if it’s one of my records.
Andy, how do you deal with haters and competition in your field?
A: Just brush them off my shoulders. That’s usually how I do it.
What about you, Rick?
A: Can you say I did the gunshot sound in the article too?
Of course. Andy, if you had to name yourself after a drug lord who would it be?
A: I don’t know that many drug lords.
R: I got one for you. Meyer Lansky.
A: Who is that?
R: It’s Meyer Lanksy.
A: I’ll take it!
What’s his story?
R: His story was that he was the only Jew who was initiated into the Mafia. We’re a little more familiar with him; he built the racetrack down in Miami. They had some business going on in Cuba. In The Godfather, Hyman Roth is actually based on Lansky, but because he was alive they couldn’t use his name. That’s him.
A: Andy Lansky. [Laughter.]
Rick, if you, Wale, and Pill were going to make a sketch group, what would you parody?
R: Maybe 2 Live Crew. Have Britney Spears as one of my “Me So Horny” girls.
A: That would work. It’ll go viral.
R: We’d have the shaved-head Britney. The party girl.
Who’s the bigger boss, Lorne Michaels or Lyor Cohen?
A: As far as I know, Lorne has more years. And he’s friends with Jack Nicholson. But they’re both bosses technically and figuratively.
R: Most definitely.
When will the Blizzard Man get on a Rick Ross track?
A: Oh my God, any time.
R: Let’s do it!
A: All right, done!
You’ve both worked with Diddy before. What’s the most important thing you learned from him?
A: Have like seven phones.
R: Just be ready. Be well rested. There’s gonna be so much shit. Songs and the remix—he gets all his shit out the way right then.
A: Diddy is running an empire while he’s in your skit.
R: And having Ciroc in the studio.
Did you share Ciroc with Diddy?
A: No, we didn’t touch Ciroc together. [Laughter.] But I wouldn’t rule it out as something that could happen in the future.
In general, though, you guys both get around—artistically speaking. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t already?
A: Besides Rick Ross? We always said it would be hilarious to do something with Jay-Z.
R: I’ll call him for you after this interview. Done.
Rick, Andy’s made a gift of a dick in a box before. What’s the dirtiest gift you ever gave someone?
R: [Pauses.] I haven’t really given any dirty gifts. I might need to try that out.
Giving someone a dick in a box or a dirty gift?
R: A dirty gift. I’ll give them my dick in my boxers.
A: [Laughs.] That’s more standard.
That’s the remix right there!
BONUS VIDEO | Rick Ross & Andy Samberg on the Art of the Ad-Lib:
(PROP STYLING) Bryn Bowen. (HAIR) Jodi Mancuso. (MAKEUP) Josh Turi
OPENING SPREAD: On Andy: Shirt by adidas Originals / Shorts by Insight / Sunglasses by Paul Smith
THIRD & COVER IMAGE: Tank by Freshjive / Shorts by Volcom