Rick Ross

Hip Hop / Rap

While Atlanta and Houston artists were establishing their cities as Southern strongholds, Rick Ross put Miami back in rap's national spotlight with "Hustlin'" (2006), the platinum introduction to a uniquely larger-than-life character with gruffly delivered tales about the spoils and pitfalls of drug trafficking. The rapper became not only a hip-hop fixture but an unlikely pop star as well. His debut smash Port of Miami, and all nine of his subsequent studio albums, including the Grammy-nominated God Forgives, I Don't (2012) and Port of Miami 2 (2019), entered the Top Ten of the Billboard 200, promoted with high-rolling, RIAA-certified singles such as "The Boss" and "Aston Martin Music." Through his own label, Maybach Music -- the name of which has been imprinted on virtually every Ross recording since 2009 -- he has boosted the careers of fellow artists Gunplay, Wale, and Meek Mill. His multitude of guest verses have likewise supported hits by the likes of DJ Khaled (beginning with "We Takin' Over"), Kanye West ("Monster"), Maybach's French Montana ("Pop That"), Ace Hood ("Bugatti"), and Chris Brown ("New Flame"). Ross carried his success into the next decade with 2021's Richer Than I Ever Been and collaborations with the likes of Dr. Dre, Freddie Gibbs, and Meek Mill.