Rick Ross - XXL Digital Cover

Interview: Georgette Cline  Images: Zach Wolfe for XXL

Ridin’ HighRick Ross still feels inspired and motivated to work hard even after 20 years in the game. A serious vintage car collection, an opulent mansion and a new deluxe album prove the multiplatinum-selling rapper is richer than he’s ever been.

Privacy is a fickle matter when the home Rick Ross resides in pops up as “Rick Ross’ Mansion” on Google Maps. The colossal estate, formerly owned by boxing champ Evander Holyfield, sits on nearly 300 acres right off a highway in Fayetteville, Ga., surrounded by security and gates emblazoned with the rapper’s gold logo. Ross spent $5.8 million on the 54,000 square-foot residence in 2014. He has 109 rooms—a theater, game room, bowling alley, and basketball court included—plus 25 bathrooms to navigate at any given time. Gold, bronze and ivory statues adorn the foyer. Versace dinnerware and a Hermes ashtray sit on the table in the office, tucked in by Fendi chairs. A Rolex clock hangs on the wall. Framed photos of Muhammad Ali, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol line the halls. Ross’ lavish property, affectionately called The Promise Land, is a sign of the success he’s garnered as a result of a nearly 20-year-long successful rap career. Ross was eyeing the residence for years until one day he saw a for-sale sign and made a U-turn straight to the gate, then made an offer. He applies that same kind of boss behavior when adding another set of wheels to the massive fleet of automobiles he’s collected over the years. Highlighted by a special vintage car collection.

“I may ride by somebody house and see a ’73 or ’71 Impala, make a U-turn, have one of the homies go up to they door, ‘Rick Ross out there in the car.’”

Rick Ross - XXL Digital Cover

Interview: Georgette Cline  Images: Zach Wolfe for XXL

“I may ride by somebody house and see a ’73 or ’71 Impala, make a U-turn, have one of the homies go up to they door, ‘Rick Ross out there in the car.’ They say, ‘Stop lyin’, you playin’,’” Ross recounts as he sits in the passenger seat of his 1971 black Chevrolet Caprice Convertible in the garage at The Promise Land on a rainy day in January. “‘Nah, that’s me. What y’all wanna do with this car in the driveway?’ So that’s what it is.”

The Miami rap vet, who celebrates both his 46th birthday and the deluxe release of his 11th solo album, Richer Than I Ever Been today, has been an appreciator of regal and rare rides since he was 13 years old washing whips in a car wash in Miami-Dade County. He considers them to be the first status symbol. While he owns Maybachs, Rolls-Royces and more, old-school metal is his primary choice. He never discriminates either, whether it’s a moped or whips. “I’m just a fan of everything with a motor,” he asserts. His collection has cracked over 100 automobiles. Even he forgets the exact number since more get added to the assortment on the regular.

Luxury cruisers and fly foreigns get gassed up, but there’s a certain level of care and craftsmanship that Ross takes part in before he puts the pedal to the metal in one of his prized possessions.

“I believe one of the major differences is anything that’s brand new, I can just call on the dealer, send it right now, overnight it, the wire in the morning, you have it,” he explains. “These vintage joints, these classic joints, nah, it’s not that way. And to get ’em where you really want ’em, you gotta spend a little time, you gotta put some work in ’em. It’s a lot of times I buy cars one owner, you know, ’55, ’56, ’57 [Chevrolet] Bel Air, whatever it is. One owner, damn-near practically brand new.”

Zach Wolfe
Zach Wolfe for XXL
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Chevys have long been one of Ross’ favorite rides. While it’s a lifestyle he’s living, it’s also ingrained in his music. He’s shown love to the classic Americana brand on countless tracks. From “Boss” featuring Dre in 2006 (“As I'm poppin' my collar, black on black antique Impala”) to “Ridin’ Thru the Ghetto” in 2014 (“Convertible Impala, put in drive when I wanna/Plus I’m ballin’ like them brothers smokin’ on that California”), but most symbolic on “Chevy Ridin’ High,” a 2006 hometown tribute to the wheels cruising the Miami streets. “You see my wrist, man, keep your pink wrist bands/She can't believe I'm in a Chevy even though I'm rich, man,” Ross raps on the Dre collab.

“That was just a Miami thing,” Ross says of the inspiration for creating the track. “But not even a Miami thing, to me, that’s just the culture. Once again, automobiles, old-school classics, when you was a youngsta coming up, you saw the hustlers, you know, everybody that was moving around that looked like they was really just enjoying life, you know what I’m saying? Their arm was hanging out the window, no shirt on, smiling, breeze blowing they cheeks and they mouth, you know what I’m saying? Niggas was living.”

“Ah, man, that’s how we gotta do it,” he continues. “We gotta live, you know what I’m saying? And that’s gon’ start off with whips. Ultimately, it’s just the way we live. Ain’t nothing wrong with wantin’ to live the way you want to live, you know?”

The lush life Rick Ross is living these days is documented heavily on his Instagram account, specifically his IG Stories. That’s where you’ll catch a closer glimpse of his vintage vehicles. Bel Airs in sky blue, a Pontiac Trans Am in white, a Chevy C10 pickup truck in red, plus many more colors and models to ogle over. However, in his garage today, the rhymer showcases his sleek black fleet of color-coordinated Chevys. A 1955 and 1957 Bel Air, the 1971 Caprice, 1971 Impala and a 1964 C10 pickup truck that comes with a bolted-down cooler perfect for his bottles of Luc Belaire Rosé and Villon cognac.

The Boss has plenty of memorable stories of how he came across these particular rides. Scouting on the internet, perusing at auctions and showing up at swap meets are just some of the ways he gets what he wants. For the Caprice, he used his tried-and-true manner of negotiation to secure the coveted transporter.

“1971, this one of Dade County’s favorites,” Ross details. “’71s, ’73s, ’76s. This is one of the ones I saw in somebody yard. I rode by, I turned around, ‘Hey, man, y’all not showing that car enough love, whatcha wanna do with it? They told me a number, I bought it. Soon as I got it, I put it in line because it’s a line in my factory. You gotta get in line, wait your turn to get pampered. So, that’s what she did. So, I put an amazing motor in her. All the disc brakes, you know, all the small things. I start under the hood, under the car first. The last thing you do is the cosmetics on the top. That’s the easy part. So, this a ’71. It’s one of my favorites, the way it vroooom.” He put $20,000 behind the car and spent three times that under the hood.

While self-enjoyment is the cornerstone of this passion he has, along with a way to rekindle memories and foster further dreams, the Boss is hustling every day to learn the ins and outs when it comes to his pricy pastime. He receives invites from Barrett-Jackson, a highly recognized classic car auction house, to take part in bids for rides, and works with his go-to restoration expert Freddy P to transform old wheels into pristine picks for The Promise Land.

“It’s also a hustler’s side to wantin’ these whips. You gettin’ these cars and it’s cool. Ain’t nothing wrong with just inspiring yourself for your self-gratification, you know, just for your own vibe. But it’s also a business side to it, too. I’m still a student at that.”

“It’s also a hustler’s side to wantin’ these whips,” Ross says. “You gettin’ these cars and it’s cool. Ain’t nothing wrong with just inspiring yourself for your self-[gratification], you know, just for your own vibe. But it’s also a business side to it, too. I’m still a student at that.” School is always in session in this game.

There’s never a time limit on accomplishing goals, according to Rick Ross. As he becomes more of an expert in the classic cool cars club, the five-time Grammy-nominated artist is still handling business as the Teflon Don. He’s teaching others how to get to the bag on the deluxe version of his Richer Than I Ever Been album. The 15-track project includes three new songs: "Vacharon” featuring AZ, “Revelations” and the Anderson .Paak-assisted “Not for Nothing.” Baroque bars, palatial production and enough slick quotables to keep tweets and IG captions loaded for the rest of the year.

“I know I just want to keep going,” Ricky Rozay says. “Wherever I’ma go, wherever these roads lead to, I’m gonna keep going, you know what I mean? So, let’s keep hustlin’ nonstop.”

Zach Wolfe for XXL

Zach Wolfe for XXL

He’ll carry that spirit into his first annual Rick Ross car show and car sale this year. The lyricist’s own version of a Barrett-Jackson car auction. “I just want to bring a lot of classics together, you know, just for people to see,” he explains. “Just for car lovers like myself. I just want to see the door hinges, I just want to see, ‘Oh, you did this customized?’ ‘Oh, that’s dope,’ you know what I mean? Wherever you from, Up North, if you from L.A., you know, people have different ways they do different things, you know what I mean? I just love to see all the different flavors and styles.” Expect an auto armada.

A day at The Promise Land with just a fraction of the immense score of cars he owns feels like he’s practicing for the big reveal of his own car show. Ross has as many vehicles as he has rooms in his home, and by those numbers, that’s saying a lot. But there’s still room for more in his garage.

“Right now, the cars that I don’t got are cars I just can’t fuckin’ find because if your mama pull up in it, I’m buying your mama out of it right there at Target,” he reveals. “I’ma bust her the bag down. And guess what I’ma do? Give her another $100 to go to Wingstop. Go get some lemon pepper, baby. That’s compliments of Renzel.”

Just another day in the life of a goddamn boss.

“Right now, the cars that I don’t got are cars I just can’t f!*kin’ find because if your mama pull up in it, I’m buying your mama out of it right there at Target. I’ma bust her the bag down.”

Zach Wolfe for XXL (Click to Enlarge)

Zach Wolfe for XXL (Click to Enlarge)
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See Photos From Rick Ross’ XXL Magazine Digital Cover Shoot

 

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