Rick Ross had his second annual car and bike show this weekend (June 3) in the front yard of his massive Promise Land estate in Fayetteville, Georgia (a home previously owned by Evander Holyfield), and this year, the big boss aimed to have the biggest car show of the year.
“We number one, that's it,” Ross tells Complex over the phone before the event. “And I'm repping and I'm speaking on behalf of the hustlers that support me and I know what we represent.”
Ricky Rozay has always been a car guy. The Miami rapper was surrounded by vehicles well before he founded Maybach Music in 2009. When he was a kid growing up in Florida, Ross would wash cars and put his customers’ CD collection in alphabetical order for an extra tip. Now, his second annual car show is set to feature a wide assortment of vehicles and bikes, vendors, a concert, and an opportunity for fans to see some of the most important whips in his own 100-plus collection.
There’s been a bit of drama in the world of celebrity car shows, as Ross’ event came a week after Hot 97’s Breakfast Club host DJ Envy put on his annual Drive Your Dreams car show in Memphis on March 28. Envy and Ross traded jabs on social media in the weeks leading up to both of their shows after the rapper said that Envy’s event would never be on his level, but as Ross explains (with a chuckle), DJ Envy is still welcome to experience his show at the Promise Land.
“Hopefully, they don't take it personally,” Ross cryptically said. “They should buy a ticket and come out, you know what I'm saying? They should come to eat some of the food from the vendors. Look under the hood or some of the cars. But then you may not even have to get on your knees and look, because there are mirrors under a lot of the cars, so you can just stand over and look down.”
As a part of the festivities, Ross also put on a musical performance alongside Atlanta native Gucci Mane and special guest Meek Mill. Lil Wayne was originally going to be the special guest, but scheduling conflicts stopped him from attending, so Gucci was the next best option.
“I reached out to Gucci, and I understood how Gucci is connected to the car culture, even maybe a little more than [Lil] Wayne,” he said. “When we made the announcement of him coming, it was a much different reaction. Maybe it was the connection with Georgia, with Atlanta, with all the surrounding counties, but it was most definitely a good decision.”
We spoke with Rick Ross about his most memorable music experience in a whip, turning down an offer for the rare Virgil Abloh Maybach, and why his car show is the “biggest.”
The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
What is that like, going from washing cars as a kid and putting the customer's CDs in alphabetical order for a better tip to now putting on your second annual car show?
For me, it makes that story I tell that next youngster that much more passionate, you know what I'm saying? It's one thing to read about it. It's one thing to watch a film, but it's different when you could live it, you know what I'm saying? And so that's all I want to do to youngsters. So you hearing that story back then, you know how my love for whips is, and it's only grown. It's only grown. And now I could bring that gathering and that same energy though. The youngsters that had that same vibe, we going to get together and we going to talk about our love for classics... [down to the smallest of details. I'm talking about down to the way the screws are turned. They got to all be even like a stop sign. Some can't be like...they got to all be.. just that type of love.
What would you tell that young Rick Ross, and did you have the foresight back then to think that you could have accomplished so much to be able to put on this second car show in this massive way?
I'm going to tell you, as a youngster washing cars on 27th Avenue and 183rd Street, what I did know was I wanted to own a Mercedes 500 Benz, and I knew I wanted to own a '73 Chevrolet Caprice convertible. And where I was from, if you had them two whips, it wasn't nothing you could ask for, you know what I'm saying? You could have a crib in Carol City, and if you had your Mercedes and your Chevrolet, there was nothing more you could really ask for. So as a youngster, I thought I had all the bases covered. I got a little older, lived a little bit, and traveled a little bit, so here we are. That desire still burns. And I still use those as motivations for me to get up in the morning and hustle.
What did you learn from last year's show that you were able to implement on this one? What was the biggest lesson?
It was most definitely a lot of lessons. But I believe some of the bigger lessons were me just having the dream and then me and my team put together the very first car show. It's one thing to say, "Okay, we going to sell 5,000 tickets," but there's no way until you throw your first car show that you can expect 10,000 people to just ride by. It's no way. You just thinking, "Yo, I sold tickets, we prepared for this," but yo, it's two times as many people that just want to ride by and look, just stop and, "Yo, those famous cars, those cars over there, we just want to sit over here until they drive out." There's no way until you have a car show that you can actually be prepared for that. So this go-around, man, I hired a lot and invested a lot more in making sure just the effect on the community. It was much more peaceful.
I know you have 100-plus cars. Has there been a memorable car experience you've had, either bumping a specific album of yours or track of yours in the whip for the first time?
Well, at this second annual car show June 3rd, my BMW that was in the video for “Every Day I'm Hustlin,” that's the BMW I was grinding, riding around, grinding with, hustling with. That was the BMW that, when I got the instrumental for “Every Day I'm Hustlin,” when I got that beat, that was the car. Put it in, rolled around, listened to it, smoked to it, and man, ultimately, that's where the magic happened. And so for all my mixtapes that led up to that very first Port of Miami album, that BMW would be there. It'd be on the set, on the scene, and hopefully a lot of people are getting to take some selfies with it.
From a music perspective, is that your most memorable vehicle?
Man, it's so many different stories for all the cars that I got, you know what I'm saying? Early cars, you know what I'm saying? I got homies that went to the penitentiary, homies that I looked up to that had seven cars in the front yard and I ended up, they bringing me five. It's just so many different stories. Man, here we are, you know what I mean?
I know one of the questions I get the most in my DM is, "Rozay, how did you accumulate so many cars?" And I think one of the reasons I accumulated so many cars is my love for Impalas, Bel Airs, Caprices. I bought '57 Caprices. I have over a dozen of those. '56 is a dozen, '55s, eight. When it come to Chevrolet Duncs, Verts, I have 15 of each of those, you know what I mean? And I love them all. I love them all. Motorcycles, I love them all, so I'm going to pull them out.
I'm asking for all my homies to pull that shit out, pull that shit out and line that shit up. Let's have some fun. Let's network. Let's politic. We in my yard, you know what I'm saying? Let's talk business. I bought cars last year. I talked business. I built relationships, and that's what it's about with me.
You own a lot of cars and mention several vehicles in your music. What is the best Rick Ross car bar/lyric?
Well, when you say lyric, I just think of a record first, so I think of my record “Box Chevy.” I started with a box Chevy and that's me telling the story of how I came up. And now I'm in a position where I have one car that doesn't cost $800K, one this or one watch that's $3 million, one this, but my collection started with a box Chevy. And at one time I remember box Chevys were $2,500.
Do you find yourself often going back and purchasing vehicles that meant something to you in the past that you couldn't have?
That's all I do. That's what really inspires me and makes me really want to buy a whip. I'm not really caught up in a new whip. If you pull up on me in a Tesla, man, that never grabbed me. Watching Miami Vice or watching the shows that you saw coming up in Miami with the Porsches, the Lamborghinis, the Ferraris, that's what made me attracted to those brands as a youngster, then the Chevrolets, the Chevelles, the old schools. That was, once again, for me being a youngster, watching the hustlers come up and down the street, and that's just me saying, "I'm going to have one of them. I'm going to have one of them." And I kept my word with myself. Everything I said I was going to get, I kept my word with myself and I went and got it.
Do you have your eye on Virgil Abloh's collaboration with Maybach?
I'm going to be totally honest with you, I personally wouldn't want the Maybach, only because I personally didn't get it from the big homie Virgil. And me scrolling through my phone while I'm on the phone with you, it was funny you asked me that because I was just offered the Maybach not even four or five days ago.
And I turned it down just out of love for the old shit. That was something that would've meant a lot more to me coming from the homie and I would've paid for it or whatever. And I feel like whoever he autographs those for, they should most definitely appreciate that car and keep it, you know what I mean? That's just the person I am.
What makes a good car show? What aspects or attributes go into putting together a good car show?
For me, location means a lot. And me having my first car show at my crib last year, it showed me what it meant and what it meant to everybody that came to the car show, like, "Yo, I'm at Rozay crib. Rozay walking around without a pistol on him, yo," you feel me? And it was the vibe. The food that was there, felt like a real carnival, just something that I knew I would've loved. That was the vibe.
So this car show, I went out even further. I had my horses out last year. I got even more horses, a huge Ferris wheel. It's going to be more food. And like I said, I invested a lot more in traffic, not just on the highway that's in front of my house, but the whole county, so man, I look forward to it.
Why did you choose to tap Gucci Mane to perform with you during the show?
Oh man, I'm gonna just tell you, I first reached out to [Lil] Wayne. Me and Wayne, we got a relationship. I do things for him, he do things for me. I did his Louisiana fest and we set up for this, but we had some situations going on. So I told him, "Don't even trip, we'll talk later."
I reached out to Gucci, you know what I mean, and I understood how Gucci is connected to the car culture, even maybe a little more than Wayne. When we made the announcement of him coming, it was a much different reaction. Maybe it was the connection with Georgia, with Atlanta, with all the surrounding counties, but it was most definitely a good decision. And the homies have just been really supportive. And so we just finna turn up. We just taking pictures. We going to perform hit records. I'm going to eat good.
You’ve been trading words with DJ Envy, who also has a car show. As of the recording of this interview, Envy said you took it too far. Is all fair in love and car show beef?
We number one, that's it. And I'm repping and I'm speaking on behalf of the hustlers that support me and I know what we represent. I know Jay Leno reached out to me, called Rozay, "Hey, I just saw something on your page. I got to see that on my show." It ain't a lot of people that got that call. Just keeping it real, you feel me?
That's what it's about. It comes down to the details. Hopefully, they don't take it personally. They should buy a ticket and come out, you know what I'm saying? They should come to eat some of the food from the vendors. Look under the hood or some of the cars. But then you may not even have to get on your knees and look, because there's mirrors under a lot of the cars, so you can just stand over and look down. I've always been the best. I've always been the biggest.