In an interview with the Breakfast Club posted on Monday, Miami rapper Rick Ross was asked why he hadn’t signed any female artists to his Maybach Music Group imprint. “You know, I never did it because I always thought, like, I would end up fucking a female rapper and fucking the business up,” Ross said. “I'm so focused on my business. I just, I gotta be honest with you. You know, she looking good. I'm spending so much money on her photo shoots. I gotta fuck a couple times.”
As you might expect, many people were taken aback by the comments, calling them sexist. Criticism has clearly gotten back to Ross, who took to Facebook on Thursday to issue a statement and apology.
I want to address an insensitive comment I made on a very sensitive issue, especially in a minority dominated industry like hip hop. My entire empire's backbone is led by 2 of the strongest people I know and they happen to be women, my mother and sister. The operations wouldn't run without them and I have the highest regard and respect for women in this industry. I have a daughter myself, my most cherished gift in the world.
My comment is not reflection of my beliefs on the issue. A mistake I regret. I hope to use my mistake, my platform and the community to create positive discussion to implement change on a very important issue. respect for the ones who stand up to say hey that isn't right. Now it's time to accept responsibility and all do better.
I look forward to continue working with & supporting female artists. my discovery process was documented by vh1 on #signed which premiered last night. Many of the most talented artists you'll see in the running to be the next #MMG superstars are female artists. I look forward to clarifying my comments through my support.
Thank you to everyone who's going through the journey with me, we coming out everyday stronger.
Ross also used his Facebook page to pay tribute to Lundy, a late female emcee who was affiliated with MMG before her death this past spring. “For those who listened to the interview in its entirety, I mentioned a beloved friend and female artist,” he wrote. “Lundy my lil sis who I mentored, may you rest in power. A female artist who's amazing artistry will live on.”
His statement glows with female appreciation and his note about Lundy is touching, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Ross is on thin ice with women, right alongside R. Kelly and Tyga, who both exhibit predatory behavior on a regular basis. Between this and his “U.O.E.N.O” slip-up, Ross should tread lightly from here on out.
Wale was very excited for people to hear his new album, Shine—so much so that he released it a week early, to the surprise of almost everyone (including, rumor has it, folks at his record label, who were left without updated promo materials).
But Folarin’s excitement did not translate commercially, as the record moved just north of 25,000 units in its first week. During Wale's appearance on Everyday Struggle Monday, he addressed his career-long commercial ups and down, acknowledging that he's been “bitter” in the past, citing his angry phone call with Complex in December 2013. He also shouldered responsibility for Shine's first week sales, saying, “I didn't create enough awareness like I should have…. I put it on me, I don't put it on Atlantic.”
Shine's less-than-stellar showing is just the latest bump in a long road for the D.C. rapper. He’s known the heights of success: gold albums, hit singles, critical love, and affiliation with the rap game’s biggest names. He’s also seen the other side: poor sales, label issues, feuds, and bad press. The one constant is Wale, who, as he'd admit, can be his own enemy.
But he started out strong. Wale’s very first song, “Rhyme of the Century,” came out sometime around 2004 (reports differ, with some placing it a year earlier, and some a year later). The tune quickly got a ton of attention and airplay around the D.C. area.
The success of that first effort led to Wale being featured in The Source’s “Unsigned Hype” column, which upped his buzz and led to more music (including a popular tribute to a local go-go hero). He eventually signed to a local label, Studio 43, for his 2006 mixtape Hate Is the New Love. That August, Wale got some serious love from the Washington Post (“A rapper by the name of Wale has figured out how to fuse a mainstream-friendly hip-hop sound with go-go in a way that could detonate a hip-hop trend branded with the three stars and two bars of Washington's flag,” they enthused).
In December, Fader came through to do a story on the rising talent. By the time it was published in March 2007, Wale was ringing out everywhere, and it was time for the big names to start swooping in.
The first of these was producer Mark Ronson (fresh off his Grammy-winning work on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black), who signed Wale to his Allido label, put him on tour, got him on a Lily Allen remix and the VMAs, and more. By early 2008, it was time to call in the really big guns. So, after a bidding war, Wale signed to Interscope that March for a reported $1.3 million. The stars seemed to be aligning for Wale.
But it was that very label move that sowed the seeds of the first major disappointment about Wale’s career. The first single from Wale’s debut major-label release, Attention Deficit, was a misfire: The Lady Gaga-assisted “Chillin’” was a commercial and critical flop, barely squeaking into Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at No. 99, where it hung out for a single week.
In a 2011 interview, Wale told Maryland radio station WPGC what happened, explaining that the label had been fiddling with the song until the very last minute:
“There was only one song funded, and [‘Chillin’] was the song that they picked. ‘Chillin’ didn’t sound nothing like that at first. They did the record industry stuff, saying, ‘Oh we really love the record. This should be your first single. Just change this, this and this.’ It actually got changed the day it was mastered.”
The single’s poor performance worried the label, and they shipped out far fewer copies of Attention Deficit than normal to stores. In large part because the record was difficult to find, Wale sold only 28,000 copies his first week. To this day, the album still hasn't gone gold.
By 2010, Wale had been dropped from Interscope and was no longer working with Ronson. He needed a way back into the mainstream, and it came via a rather surprising route: Waka Flocka Flame. Waka’s “No Hands,” featuring Wale and Roscoe Dash, came out that August and was a huge hit. It made it all the way to the top of the Hot Rap Songs chart, and its success gave Wale’s career a much-needed boost.
He rode that momentum all the way to a new deal, signing with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group the following February. His first solo album with MMG, Ambition, was far more successful than the prior record, eventually going gold in 2016. But the album’s lead single, “Lotus Flower Bomb,” did even better. The song peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks. It even garnered a Grammy nomination. Another single from the album, “That Way,” charted as well.
All of a sudden, Wale was back in the game. His 2013 follow-up album, The Gifted, debuted at No. 1 and went gold only a few months after Ambition. It also contained his biggest single ever, “Bad.” The song, featuring Tiara Thomas on the original version and Rihanna on the remix, peaked at No. 21 and lingered on the charts for a whopping 26 weeks. In 2016, it would join “Lotus Flower Bomb” by going platinum.
But this would represent a commercial peak for the MMG star. “The Matrimony,” the highest-charting single from 2015’s The Album About Nothing, would only reach No. 70 on the Hot 100. “The Body” did even worse, making it to No. 87 and spending only six weeks on the singles chart. The album itself debuted at No. 1 like its predecessor, but came nowhere near The Gifted’s overall sales.
Right when all of that was happening, it appeared to fans that MMG was breaking apart. Wale and Meek Mill had a very public falling out, which culminated in Meek saying that Wale was “not MMG.”
This bad blood may have played a role in Wale’s poor chart performance since. “My PYT,” which came out almost a full year before Shine hit the streets, spent a mere two weeks in the lower regions of the singles chart. “Running Back,” which followed, squeaked onto the chart at No. 100 for a single week before falling off.
So where does that leave us? Wale is a prodigiously talented rapper, and has come back from sales slumps before. Despite the drama, he still has the support of MMG, and as he explained on Everyday Struggle, he doesn't consider the album to be a flop since its helping him sell out shows; “My L.A. show sold out in six hours, so I know I'm doing something right,” he said. If the music business has taught us anything, it’s that there's always room for a second chance—especially when you're willing to push forward and acknowledge past missteps.
A lot has been written about some of the morecontroversial moments on the project, but one track that hasn't been touched is “Scientology.” As it turns out, there's a story behind his decision to title the record after the religious system L. Ron Hubbard created. “I was out in Cali and I actually met a Scientologist or two,” Ross explained. He watched a few episodes of an undisclosed show with them but didn't get “too deep” into their religious beliefs.
Later, Rozay talked about working with the likes of Gucci Mane and Wale, and revealed part of the reason why he worked with Dej Loaf on “Maybach Music V” is because the Detroit rapper is his “daughter's favorite artist in the entire world.” He also hinted at two major announcements coming soon from MMG. Check out the full interview above and grab Rather You Than Meon iTunes.
In 2015, DJ Khaled began his one-man war against “they.” At the time, no one really knew who he was referring to when he mentioned “they,” but according to Khaled, “they” didn't want you to have, or do, a damn thing. While celebrating the success of his 2014 single “Hold You Down,” Khaled broke it down simple and plain: “They don't want you to win. They don't want you to have the No. 1 record in the country. They don't want you get healthy. They don't want you to exercise. And they don't want you to have that view.” Hell, based on this collection of videos he posted on Snapchat, “they” don't even want you to have breakfast.
Now the timeline outlined above is crucial. In 2015, Khaled released his eighth studio album, I Changed a Lot. The project marked the end of a string of releases through We the Best/Cash Money; the three prior albums—2011's We the Best Forever, 2012's Kiss the Ring, and 2013's Suffering From Success—were all joint releases through Cash Money. And what was the lead single for I Changed a Lot? The smash hit “They Don't Love You No More,” which not only featured Jay Z but also had MMG capo Rick Ross and Meek Mill along for the ride. The French Montana-laced hook went “ever since a nigga hit the top/pussy niggas wanna see me in a box” and “should be your favorite, now you just hatin'.”
At the time, Khaled kept it cool. During a May 2015 visit to The Breakfast Club, he pointed out that he'd not been on Cash Money “for a minute,” saying he's “with We the Best. I promote them every day. I’m not signed to Cash Money at all… Lil Wayne and Birdman, that’s family to me. The world know that.” Elsewhere in the interview, when asked about Wayne and Birdman's beef, Khaled was neutral: “Lil Wayne is my brother. Birdman, that’s family. It’s not my business. I pray for greatness. Those two people know who I am; I don't get involved. I feel like people who comment, it’s not their business.”
Khaled said two real things there: “I don't get involved” and “everything is beautiful.” When Khaled talks about success, he's a true motivational speaker—there's a reason we had him and Tony Robbins together on a cover. He's not one to breed negativity on his social channels or with his overall message. In October 2015, when asked by The Breakfast Club if he was going to choose a side in the Drake/Meek Mill beef, Khaled expanded on his positive stance: “From the beginning of me coming in the game, I’ve always promoted unity by my records. If it becomes a situation where it gets a lot of heat involved, I’ll be the guy trying to resolve it. You’ll never hear me on both sides diss somebody.”
Since going viral, Khaled has been the guy who wants you to take the door off the hinges, rip the hinges off, and put them in the fuckboy's hands if they try to stop your progress. Take the fight to “they” by showing and proving, if you will. Does that manifest itself in, hypothetically speaking, Khaled and Birdman having a difference of opinions that leads to Khaled cutting ties with Cash Money, and going on a “they” campaign? Maybe. Could Ross have hit Khaled like, “I'm going to put xyz in a rhyme about you and Baby, you cool with that?” Maybe. Did Khaled OK it? Who knows.
Ultimately, this “they”-defining business is just the stuff of rap conversations. Twitter's having fun running with this theory (because rap Twitter can't resist an opportunity to joke with DJ Khaled), to the point where unraveling this story has pushed enjoying Ross' latest to the sidelines.
We reached out to a rep for Khaled for comment. But if Khaled's not here to speak negatively about anyone, especially people he considers family, we'll likely never know.
The “James Dean of hip-hop” joins forces with Maybach Music Group. G-Eazy is enlisting Rockie Fresh as part of his upcoming “These Things Happen Tour,” RapFix has exclusively learned. The MMG newcomer has been named as the tour’s opening act along with Toronto rapper Tory Lanez and California native Kyle.
The 40-date “These Things Happen Tour” kicks off February 21 in Dallas and continues with stops in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto.
G-Eazy is prepping to release a new album, the follow-up to 2012’s Must Be Nice, called These Things Happen, this spring. The effort comes on the heels of a string of big wins for the Oakland rapper including opening up for Drake’s “Light Dreams and Nightmares” tour in 2010 and jumping on Lil Wayne’s “America’s Most Wanted Tour” in 2013.
Eazy spoke to Respectlast year about his artistic goal of always bettering himself. “That’s the motto that I want to take after: never getting too comfortable in one spot. You want to keep pushing things forward and wanting to keep trying new things and keep getting better.”
For more information on the These Things Happen Tour visit G-Eazy.com. See the current tour dates below:
2/21/14 Dallas, TX Tree’s
2/22/14 Houston, TX Warehouse Live Studio
2/23/14 Austin, TX The Parish
2/25/14 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine
2/26/14 Phoenix, AZ Marquee
2/27/14 Los Angeles, CA Fonda
2/28/14 Pomona, CA Glasshouse
3/1/14 San Diego, CA Soma
3/2/14 Ventura, CA Venture Theater
3/4/14 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
3/5/14 San Francisco, CA Fillmore
3/7/14 Seattle, WA Showbox
3/8/14 Vancouver, BC Fortune
3/9/14 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
3/11/14 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue
3/12/14 Denver, CO Ogden
3/13/13 Austin, TX SXSW
3/14/13 Austin, TX SXSW
3/15/14 Oxford, OH Brick Street
3/16/14 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
3/17/14 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
3/18/14 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
3/19/14 Detroit, MI Crofoot
3/20/14 Toronto, ON Mod Club
3/21/14 Montreal, QC Underworld
3/22/14 Boston, MA Paradise
3/23/14 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
3/26/14 Philadelphia, PA TLA
3/27/14 New York, NY Irving Plaza
3/28/14 Springfield, VA Empire
3/29/14 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
3/30/14 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
3/31/14 Carrborro, NC Cats Cradle
4/2/14 Orlando, FL The Plaza
4/4/14 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
4/6/14 St. Louis, MO Pops
4/8/14 Iowa City, IA Blue Moose Tap House
4/9/14 Lawrence, KS Granada
4/10/14 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s
4/12/14 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
Wale is rubbing elbows with some very high fashion women for the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The MMG rapper recently posed for a shoot for the fashion magazine with supermodel Bar Refaeli and designer Diane von Furstenberg.
“Youngin Doin it Big!! Harpers Bazaar with my ladies@barrefaeli and the LEGENDARY @DVF new #balmainleather ???? #wrkngtitle doin numbers . Thanks for yall support,” he tweeted, along with a photo of his arms wrapped around the power ladies’ calves.
Per Necole Bitchie, everyone’s favorite pop culture photographer Terry Richardson shot the images.
Wale is a lover of clothes. He told GQlast year that he can’t live without his Hublot watches, WRKNG Title and his Stance socks. “That’s love,” he said about the socks. They’re family. I don’t even have a favorite, if they make it, I have it. I wear every single pair I got.”
In the final video from MMG‘s triple video release, Rockie Fresh goes back to his native Chicago via a silver Rolls Royce Phantom, cruising to Windy City landmarks with his crew in tow while offering up his lyrical tithes to the man upstairs for the success he’s gained since signing on the dotted line with Ross. For the savvy viewer, there’s even a quick cameo by fellow Chicagoan and hip-hop newcomer, Chance the Rapper.
For the Jadakiss-assisted “Oil Money Gang,” the Untouchable Maybach Empire gets cinematic, offering up the backdrop of a mechanic and his son falling on hard times, while Ross counts mountains of cash somewhere in a lux living room. Flashy whips, private jets, diamond-encrusted baubles, models and Ciroc bottles make a cameo, of course, as does MMG affiliate Ace Hood and ‘Kiss.
Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group is filled with wild and diverse talent. There’s the kinetic energy of Meek Mill and the poetic richness of Wale, but when it comes to that raw, uncut feel, Gunplay holds the crown. On Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on MTV Jams and RapFix.MTV.com, Don Logan himself will bring it all to “RapFix Live” along with Pharrell, Rittz and some more news from the MMG camp.
Catch Gunplay, Pharrell Williams, MMG and Rittz on “RapFix Live” Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on RapFix.MTV.com and on MTV Jams. Be sure to join the Twitter conversation using the hashtag #RapFixLive. Send your questions for the artists to @MTVRapFix!