The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

“Freeway” Rick Ross is the most infamous drug trafficker to ever come out of the West Coast. His crack cocaine empire, while based in Los Angeles, stretched across the country and supplied thousands of dealers and users during the crack epidemic of the 80’s. At his peak, Ross was earning upwards of $2 million a day. But it all came crashing down when his main cocaine source, a Nicaraguan with connections to the CIA, helped lead the FBI to Ross. After spending 20 years in prison, Ross was released in late 2009 and has since set forth on an ambitious mission to combat child illiteracy, grow his own social media site to Facebook-like proportions, and above all else, to get his story heard and his name back.

MellyLee NMR FreewayRickRoss01 The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

So what’s a typical day for you like?

Rick Ross: I usually get up from 5 o’clock to 5:30, no later than 6 I’m up and going. I usually go to around 11, 12, if I’m in town. If I’m out of town, usually when I go out of town, it’s to speak at schools, because most universities won’t pay me like other guest speakers. Out of the question, you know. They really don’t want me talking to the kids, no way, a lot of the times. So what I do is I’ll go and talk to the schools for free, but I make club owners pay me and pay my travel expenses and my hotel and everything to offset the cost for me to come and do a walk-through of the club. When I get to the club, I take pictures, you know, and just greet people at the club, so kind of like a greeter, and they pay me from 1000 to 2500 to 3000 dollars to do that.

So you’re one of those guests that we see on the flyers for the clubs that are like, “Join Rick Ross.”

Yeah, yeah, come hang out with Rick Ross, an original American Gangster, real hustler, stuff like that. Now when I’m doing those, you know, sometimes I’ll get in at 4 in the morning. When I’m out of town, I usually get only two to three hours of sleep.

Two to three hours of sleep?

Yeah, because I’ll get up early to promote, because I’m only going to be in this town a short time, and I want to make as big of an impact in this town as I can so I want to touch, hug and take pictures with as many people as I can. One of the things I found out about when I’m going to those places and take pictures with those people, what those people do, they go to the Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, and they post those pictures. And so, they tag ‘em and everything, so you know, it starts a whole ‘nother promotion-effect viral marketing.

And so how does that feel to you, this celebrity that you have? People want to take pictures with you and post them on Facebook now, whereas before, nobody could find you; you weren’t a celebrity.

I wasn’t. Before I went to prison in the late 80’s, nobody really knew what I looked like. They heard of my name, but nobody knew the face. I was like, as one news reporter said on CBS one time, this reporter did a story and he called me “Casper.” He said, because nobody sees me, nobody knows what I look like, you know, it’s like I’m a myth in the air, but that had to change. After the Dark Alliance broke in 1996, my picture and image was everywhere, from Cspan to Time magazine. You know, now when I got released, I took on my new life and my new identity, you know. I have to be a person that’s out front; I have to let people see me, and you know, just be more accessible to people.

Do you enjoy that?

I do, I do, I do, I do. I mean, I really like people. I am a people person. I mean, even when I sold drugs and I was secluded, per se, I still had my group of people that were around me that I loved to be around, so I like to be around people. I enjoy people, and I’m just a people’s person, you know, and that’s the skill that I developed with my handicaps, you know. I didn’t learn how to read or write until I was 28 years old, so those were kind of like handicaps that I had. So in order for me to get by, I had to develop other skills, and I believe that one of the skills that I developed was being a people person, where people like me, because believe it or not, whatever you put out is what you get back. When you like people, then people will like you back, so, you know, I just like to be around people. I like to communicate with people, I like to learn from them, and I like to teach them.

You being a people person and being able to connect with people makes a lot of sense since it seems that a drug dealer would have to be good at making connections. You also started a social network while in jail.

Absolutely. And you know, when I was sitting in my cell, I was studying MySpace, but I thought MySpace was like out of reach, you know? And then all of a sudden, this kid from Harvard popped up, and the name of it was Facebook, and I think the first time I read about him he had 23,000 members, or something like that. And the kid was talking about catching MySpace, and I was like, wow, he thinks he can catch MySpace! So then, I started studying him, looking him up and I find he was in Harvard, and he was in a dorm room. I was like, wow, I’ve been to some dorm rooms at colleges before, you know. I had friends who played tennis in college, and I went up and I said, wow, the dorm is not much bigger than my cell. I said maybe I can start me a social network, you know, and I just started doing everything I could to learn as much as I could about social networking, and I started Freeway Enterprise. We’re up to over 20,000 members and growing.

So you were inspired by Mark Zuckerburg, the founder of Facebook.

Absolutely, I was inspired. I felt that if if he could do it, I could do it. I mean, here he was, I think 23, something like that, he was a young kid, you know. I was like wow, if this young kid can do it, here I am with all my experience and all my connections and everything, then I should be able to do the same thing.

MellyLee NMR FreewayRickRoss02 The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

Zuckerberg and Facebook are now worth billions of dollars. When you first started in your jail cell, what did you envision for your network in the end? What did you want it to be?

Well, when I first started, I said I have to come up with an angle, a niche, because I knew that the field was crowded already. You know, MySpace was still the king at that time; I think they were just negotiating with Viacom to buy MySpace, and I knew that the field was crowded, so I say, wow, you got to come up with a niche. So I say, what will be your niche? And I knew that MySpace had mainly got its start from entertainers, so I started to say I got to create, get me some people like this here to create my own little network of people that people are going to follow, so I felt that starting with hip hop because that was my best connection and with models, and so that’s what I did.

Right, and now it has 20,000 people. You must feel proud.

I do, but I think I should be doing better, you know. I just got to figure out how to get to that next level. I’ve been doing that with no large amount of money, all mine is generic members, you know. No money, just basically me out here grinding, hustling and doing interviews and radio stations and everything that I can to build up my membership, so I am proud of it, but it’s not where I want it yet. I really want to break into that top thousand, you know. We ranked number 30,000 in China, so I was really, really excited about that with all the websites in the world to be ranked 70,000 in the US, and I think we were 120 in the world, so I was like, wow. But that let me know that I can climb, because I remember when I had one member, and that was me. I was the first member, and then I remember my second member was my best friend in jail, Jimmy the Saint. He joined, and then we had 2 members and then 10 members and then 100 and now we’re up to 20,000, and we get hundreds of thousands of visits a day. I just got to get in the position, a little better position so I can really work some of my marketing schemes. You know, I have some marketing plans that I think are going to really, really surprise some people, because I really want to help people, and my whole goal with this site is going to be about helping the community to grow and not just saying grow where my membership grows, but each member I want them to somehow benefit from being on freewayenterprise.com. I don’t want it to just be where they just come there and do brainless stuff, just come in there and it doesn’t help you; you leave, and you didn’t benefit no way — only thing you did was made the website some advertisement money or something. I want it to where when our members come on, they got some substance as well.

You were in jail for 20 years, which is a long time.

You know, I learned how to read while I was in prison. And then I learned how to do the law; I found the issue that got myself out of prison as well. I mean, I credit myself for being here today. My hard work, my determination, my not giving up is the reason that I’m sitting here able to talk with you in beautiful Santa Monica at MJZ, the largest commercial production company in the world. So I credit hard work and determination with that.

Coming from being in a jail cell for 20 years and then coming out to a world that is so different with new technology and the Internet — what is that like?

Well, I’m still learning, you know. Like right now, people are telling me I got to upgrade my phone. I’m scared to get one of those iPhones; I use the Blackberry because its simple. But, I’m just going to take my time and enjoy the moment, you know. It’s like I don’t have to be here, know what I’m saying? I had a federal life sentence for six years; only 1% of people with a federal life sentence get them overturned. I’m here in front of you by a thin, thin hair via the appeal I won that I’m even able to be sitting here, so I’m just so thankful for that — that everyday is a good day, that I can remember sitting in a jail cell where you can’t go to the store, you can’t get an ice cold drink of water, you can’t take a shower, you can’t eat what you want to eat. So when you’ve lived under those restraints, then everything else is like what do I have to complain about? 

You were talking earlier about how you go to school and talk to kids. What do you talk to them about?

I talk to them about illiteracy. My foundation I started is Freeway Literacy Foundation. You know, not knowing how to read, being afraid to ask for help, being influenced by other people where other people influence you to make decisions unconsciously, because we have a thing it’s called a peer pressure, I think. And I believe that peer pressure affects us on a lot of different realms from what type of music you listen to, what kind of shoes you wear, what kind of pants you wear, how you wear your hair; all that comes down to peer pressure, you know. What do other people think? Do they think I’m good-looking? Do they think I’m ugly? And we start to conform our lives to what other people think about us and what we’re doing, so I talk to them about that, that it’s okay to come up with your own ideas, it’s okay to block out what everybody else is saying, and its okay to sometimes to go a different route than what everybody else is traveling. Sometimes we have to be pioneers.

Tell me about how the Internet has evened the playing field and helped you in marketing.

Even when I was in prison, you know, people used to — I mean, I didn’t know what the Internet was — like I would ask them questions, and they were like, “I just looked that up online,” and I was like huh? And then I would get this paper and it was a printout, and I would see the name of the website, and then it would have all the information that I needed on these pages. And I was like, wow, so you guys can just go online and just type in a name and it just pops up. And it was like, yeah, it’s that simple, so I was using the Internet inside of jail, but I just didn’t have the fast access that everybody else has right now. You know, it would take two to three days for them to mail it to me, but I was enjoying the benefits of the Internet, even books when I would order my books off of Amazon.

So I know you read a ton of books in jail. What kind of books?

Over 300. My favorite three books, and I recommend everybody read them, “The Richest Man In Babylon” by George Clason, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “As a Man Thinketh” and “As a Woman Thinketh” by James Allen. Superb. I read marketing books; I studied marketing. I studied internet marketing, buzz marketing, I read Donald Trump’s book, I studied Walmart, I studied — what is his name? Kirk, I think the guy who franchised McDonalds. Wow, who else did I read? Anthony Robbins, Norman Vincent Peale, Don King, you know, I was just a connoisseur of learning. I stopped listening to the radio, I stopped watching TV, and my time was spent reading.

How long did it take you to teach yourself how to read?

I think it took about two weeks after I learned how to sound my ABC’s out, and two weeks later I was reading the newspaper and my indictment. 

That’s a really short time.

Yeah, I mean, because what I found out is that when you can talk, you already have an advantage with reading. If you can read a couple of words, you can figure out what they are saying. It was kind of easy for someone who could speak. I learned that I was pronouncing a lot of words incorrectly, but it wasn’t that hard. And you know, I fell in love with it. You know, it’s like going to places. I mean, I read a book on Nike, and they took me inside of the sweat shops over in China, so it was like walking around the sweatshop and them describing how the sweat shop and the tennis shoes and the women and just the whole thing, and it’s like an escape from prison, you know. While I’m reading that book, I’m no longer in prison, you know; I’m in China. To do that was really exciting.

I think how you described being taken to China through a book, for the same reasons a lot of people are eager to read your autobiography. So how is that coming along?

I finished my first draft of my autobiography in prison. It hasn’t been published. We’re waiting to revise it and for the correct time to publish it, and we think we are going to probably do it right after we drop this documentary, so I can assist them. But yeah, I finished that when I was in prison.

I’m excited to read that book, because you’ve had that kind of life that most people don’t have any idea of.

People like it, you know. I let a few people read it. I’m not really, you know, I’m not really thrilled about it, but other people like it. I really want to write a book on building wealth, like what I’ve been doing since I was home from prison. I thought it would be easier for me when I got home from prison. I thought that for me being super qualified, you know, reading all these books and having all this game, that somebody would just come in and say, “Hey, man. We are going to back your play,” but they making me scratch and crawl for everything.

MellyLee NMR FreewayRickRoss06 The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

How do you think that book would read, because I do notice a recurring theme in the books that you chose. Sort of believe-in-what-you-want, right?

Absolutely, because if you don’t believe it, you can’t achieve it, you know. If you say that you can’t, you can’t. If you say you can, then it’s possible, so you have to first believe in it yourself and then start taking the actions to get you there. But yeah, all the books that I read were built around those rims, that you have to believe in yourself and your mission in order to accomplish it.

I’ve heard you say that you were actually happy with your experience in jail. Is that right?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t trade — and I hope you don’t get this wrong, because jail is not a place that anybody wants to go, but I’m saying my experience in jail to me is my own personal experience, and I love what it did for me in helping me mature and learn patience. I did the time, I loved the fact that I was able to take it and use it the way that I did. So without jail, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Without question, no way could I have accomplished the things that I accomplished in prison had I not went to prison, you know. No way would I have read 300 books, and I don’t know how many newspapers and magazines.

Were you treated like a celebrity? Were the other inmates awed?

Some. Some do and some is jealous, you know, because they have other guys in there that are considered kingpins too. And every now and then, you’ll get a guy and he’ll be like, “Man, that guy, he ain’t no better than me; I sold just as much drugs as he did.” Every now and then, but most of the guys treated me pretty fairly. I’m an OG, and most of the guys in prison are young, you know, so they looked up to me. They called me OG, O head. I mean, like when BET aired “American Gangster,”  it was doing lockdown, comp time. But they let me out of my cell so I could watch it. The whole prison was locked down, and I was the only one watching TV [laughs]. So I mean, I got a little special treatment, you know. A little bit. Some of the cops did but then some of the cops used that against me and didn’t like me, so it goes both ways. But overall, my experience in jail was okay.

So if a cop didn’t like you, what could they do?

Oh, well, they’ll listen to all your phone calls, and if you say one thing wrong, boom, no more telephone. We got internet like my last 8 or 9 months, and if you say something wrong on the Internet, oh, we’ll cut your email. You know, we could email people. Email got to be real cool, right, because they could send me messages like [snaps fingers] instantly, and with email, unlike with mail or unlike with the telephone — see, with the telephone we had to call people, but with email they could send you a message. So it was so much cooler because people could just message you back, oh, I found out such and such for you, and you get the message in like 30 minutes, you know, and it was just like super cool to be getting message like that.

So did you get a lot of fan mail in jail? Did you ever question that? Because, basically, fan mail would be because you are in jail for being a drug dealer.

Yeah, I got a lot of fan mail, and I enjoyed it. That became my way of getting out, you know. Through letters and through mail would be my communication, and I would talk to people and ask them questions, and they would ask me questions and talk to me and tell me what was going on. And yes, the fan mail would be behind me being a drug dealer and being a successful drug dealer. But it really didn’t matter to me why they were writing me, I was just glad because at one time I was in there where nobody wrote me, you know. The only person who came to see me was my mother, and  it had got lonely, you know. No outside world contact, so when I started getting fan mail it was pretty exciting.

So being an OG, as you said, what is your advice for younger people that are in trouble and going down the wrong path?

Well, I talk to young people about that all the time, and one of the things that I try to let them know is that what I found out about myself. Even though I thought that I was dumb and stupid and all the negative things that you could think about yourself, I used to feel about me, and when you feel like that, you become a drug dealer or a drug user, but when you feel good about yourself and you know who you are, there is no way that you can become a drug user or drug seller because you know who you are. You are confident in yourself; you don’t need anything to hide behind, no crutches to hold you up. You can hold yourself up, and you are the best, and you are just as good as anybody else and not better, but when you don’t feel like that, then you lean over and sell a little drugs, use a little drugs or try to lean on somebody else to make you feel that you are where you should be on your own. 

What’s your stance on the legalization of drugs?

Well, we know that illegalization doesn’t work. We know that without a doubt. This war has been going on more than 50 years. I think drugs are more plentiful than ever before, so we know that doesn’t work. So I say what you do is just place statutes of limitations. You just start eliminating the things that don’t work. Illegalization doesn’t work. Incarceration doesn’t work, because when I was in a maximum security penitentiary in the hole, which is a secluded area where the only people you come in contact with are police officers, and a guy OD’ed. So that let me know right there incarceration doesn’t work, because they got drugs in jail. So you’re not solving it that route. so what’s next? What do we do next? Decriminalize it, maybe? Maybe even legalizing it totally. You know, I don’t really have an answer to that, but I’m just saying we know incarceration and illegalization doesn’t work. All it does is create a black market where innocent people get hurt, because the people who are already taking these chances are willing to kill for their freedom.

MellyLee NMR FreewayRickRoss04 The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

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Do you think drug dealers should go to jail?

I don’t think so, not really. At least not for as long as they do under crack-sentencing laws. I think that it’s a crime that people did to survive and not like these rappers that you see on TV, because these guys are not drug dealers, and most of them never sold drugs. What we have here with this guy who stole my name is the epitome of hip hop. Most hip hop artists never sold drugs, because if they did then they never would have been a hip hop artist. Because I was right there when hip hop started, but I started making so much money selling drugs I was like, to hell with what they talking about and this hip hop stuff, I don’t want to do it. I loan the hip hop guys money, you know. I buy them equipment. I don’t want to do that, so what I’m saying is if you making money selling drugs, it’s hard to become a hip hop artist because you won’t be able to put the time in. I could never put the time in during the 80’s to become a hip hop artist because my drug money was just rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling. So I believe that the name, the reputation that these artists are putting on drug dealers are not the true story of what drug dealers are, why we sell drugs. We didn’t sell drugs just so we could just ride around in Mercedes Benz and Rolls Royces and spit in everybody’s faces and look how good I’m doing, and you’re broke, and I can take your girl because I got more money than you. And that’s not why we sold drugs. I sold drugs because I was tired of there not being any food in my mother’s house, I was tired of roaches in her house, I was tired of going in the kitchen and there was a big hole in the middle of the floor. I want all that stuff to stop, and I had made up my mind that I was willing to do whatever it took even if it meant going to prison.

Being a drug dealer must take a certain cleverness, a toughness. It takes a people person, it takes a lot of skill.

You got to have a balance. All the skills that you need to do well in any business are those same skills. When I read about all these guys who made this money legit, I saw some of my skills in them.

From having whatever you wanted, doing whatever you wanted and then going to jail for 20 years, how did you process that in your mind?

It was tough, you know. When you go to jail and then you find out that you can only spend 200 dollars a month, you can’t eat what you want to eat, you sleeping in a little bed about half the size of a twin bed, it’s tough, you know. It’s tough, but I always had in my mind that one day I was gonna go to jail. I knew that I must pay for the crime that I was committing. And I feel totally different about the situation now; now, I don’t think that nobody should go to jail for selling drugs. I think that we need a system where we counsel drug dealers, and we show them the effects the drugs are having on others, and we got to create some way where they can make a decent livin’  for themselves other than selling drugs. And we just don’t have that infrastructure in this country right now.

A lot is said about the figures you were making, but I’m curious about when you do get caught and you go to jail, what happens to that vast amount of wealth?

Everybody splits it.

Who is “everybody”?

The community, you know. All the small drug dealers. If there is one big drug dealer, and he runs the area, when the cop comes in and scoops him up, and more than likely they scoop all of his underlinings up, then all the little guys start to eat away at that extra money, at that extra situation. So now where you had one big guy, you might have 10 mediocre guys. And then eventually, one will grow up and take over, or two or three might grow up and then they start fighting over the area; I’ve seen that happen before.

You were talking a bit ago about rappers pretending to be drug dealers, and you talked about the rapper Rick Ross.

William Roberts.

Right. William Roberts. Let’s call him William Roberts.

Yeah, let’s do that.

So have you ever heard personally from him? Has he ever apologized? What does he say?

We spoke on the phone in prison. He lied to me, sold me a bunch of lies. I spoke to him at the All Star game in Dallas. He had called me and asked me if I would come to their party. I declined, you know. I just didn’t feel that he had been carrying it properly for sure for me to give him an appearance at his party, so I didn’t go. And then I saw him in court, and he acted really rude. That was the only time I saw him or we had any communication.

So honestly, if you separate him from his music, do you like his music? Is there value to it?

I mean, you know, sometimes he has some catchy beats. His lyrics, I don’t know if he says anything special; much of it is a copy of my life. I know guys on the street right now that are just as good or better, but they don’t have the machine behind them.

After the recent court rulings, you’re now able to sue Warner instead of him for using your name. Where would you like to see that go? Would you rather him stop using the name, or would you rather have the compensation?

I think he should stop using the name and compensate me.

Both.

Why not? I mean, he done made a lot of money, so I think he should do both. But I do want him to stop using my name and do his own thing; be your own man, William Roberts. 

And so what sort of response have you seen from the Internet letter that you wrote him?

Most people backed me, you know. Most people.

MellyLee NMR FreewayRickRoss05 The Real Rick Ross Speaks on Drugs, Social Media and the Rapper Who Stole His Name

Well, it is your name, and he used your name to back his career.

Absolutely, and most people feel like that, so I think I got the public’s backing me on this. They’re betting that by me being an ex-drug dealer that nobody feels that I have anything coming. Once they label you as a drug dealer in this country, it’s pretty bad for you; they can almost do anything to you. They can search your car without a search warrant or without suspicion. I mean, it’s just crazy. You can’t vote.

From your personal experience being at the top and with the CIA involved in your story, have you seen any kernels of truth to any conspiracy theories that people out there have?

Well, you know, the CIA’s own investigation admitted that they knew the Contras were selling drugs. So with them admitting that, that’s pretty — if you know somebody selling drugs, it’s no big deal because you’re not in a position where you are supposed to stop drug selling. But once they put you in a position to where you are supposed to stop drug selling, and you know they selling drugs but you do nothing about it, I mean, it’s pretty straightforward.

Tell me about your literacy app.

Oh, well, my  foundation is in discussion to use that. We want to use that app to teach young people basically how to stay out of prison. The company is Cerego out of Japan. We’re currently in discussion with them for use of their technology. They say on their site, “Based upon years of applied research in the field of cognitive science and analysis of data accumulated from over one million registered Cerego users, we’ve created a technology platform that allows you to learn faster, remember longer, and manage your evolving memory profile.” We’re going to  try to use it in L.A.  schools for reading, for all the basic things they need in life to succeed. We’re not gonna touch on the things that the schools are already doing; we gonna come in with our own separate subject, you know, what we feel like they should be doing to make their life better. I guess that’s how you say it.

So you have that app going, you have your social media network, you have a lot going on.

Documentary, motion picture, book. We’re also doing another book with Corwin publishing company. We are thinking about doing a book; they publish just to teachers in schools, so we’re thinking of doing one called “How To Stay Out of Prison,” so we’re working on that. I am also in the hair business now. Yeah, I sell weaves now. Matter of fact, I’m working to get a 100,000 dollars worth of hair next week. So if anybody is looking for weaves, I’m gonna have the cheapest weaves in town. When I finish with this 100,000, it’s going to turn into 200,000, and I’m just going to keep it growing. And what I’m doing with that is I’m also teaching other people how to get into the beauty and hair business. When I got into the business, it was costing like 4,000 dollars, but I’m letting people in now for like a 160,000. You can start your own business, be in business with Rick Ross as your partner, your mentor for 160 dollars; no other business around there that you can do that, and you’re gonna make money immediately. It ain’t like when you have to wait a month, two months, to get your money back. You’re going to get your money back immediately.

And so it’s a salon that you have?

No, no. I’m just doing this out of the trunk. Yeah, I’m doing this out of the trunk. I’ve sold 7200 mix CDs out the trunk. Yeah, so we are doing that. What else? I don’t know; I’m all over the place man. Boxing. I’m dipping in boxing now too. 

How is that going?

Well, we just come from watching a fighter in Nigeria that’s undefeated. I’m trying to become his manager. I also got a little kid named Sal; he is out in Riverside, he is a 5 and 0, 6 and 0. I’m managing him as well, so I mean, I’m just twirling, twirling, twirling. 

A lot of opportunities.

Working on a reality show mini-series. I mean, we’re just getting it in, you know.

What about this movie that’s in talks? And Nick Cassavetes wrote the script.

Nick wrote the script. Nick is scheduled to direct it. Spoke to Jamie Foxx, Columbus Short, Larenz Tate, Mos Def, Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington. I mean, we talked to some of the heavy hitters in Hollywood about it. At this time, we’re still not in production, but we’re coming along.

In your ideal world, who would play you?

I can’t say that. No, no, because I don’t really know. That’s one role that I don’t want to pick. I think it would be better for the people around me to pick that role. What I’m thinking is that once we drop this documentary and they see how amazing the documentary is and how much people really like me, because I don’t believe that people in Hollywood know how much people on the street like me, so we think once we drop the documentary then that’s going to kick up the momentum for the movie. Also, Planet Rock is up for two Emmys. Came on VH1, with Ice-T narrating it and WuTang. Yeah, so that’s up for two Emmys, and they said that I’ll get two tickets to the awards. Who knows? If we win, it I might get to, you know, come up on stage.

You should, you have to.

I mean, they may not let me, you know. They might say, we don’t want you to taint our image, like so many other people.

And so how has that been with traditional media outlets shunning you?

Traditional media, I think that they have an image that they want to portray us in, you know, black men. And I think that right now I stepped out of that element, because when I went to trial, I was on the front page of all these newspapers, L.A. Times, Washington Post, but now since I’m out doing good things with them not supporting me, it’s kind of disappointing. It’s disappointing that they don’t recognize the good deeds that people do, and they wait until you’re in trouble and then they pounce on you, so I’m very disappointed in them. But you know, hey, that’s your thing? Do what you gonna do; I learned this internet game pretty good, and you know, I’m just going to follow that through.

How do you think the Internet can help poor black men in urban areas?

Well, the Internet levels the playing field, you know. Same thing with me right now. We were able to steal the spotlight from the rapper who stole my name, and they spent maybe 10 million dollars promoting his album, and you know, you could hit Google and my picture would pop up first some days. So that just shows you how the Internet can level the playing field to the point where just a normal everyday Joe like me, who don’t have no money, fresh out of prison, you know, is gonna be competing with Warner Brothers, Universal and Sony for artists or for an artist’s position.

Do you have any plans for a YouTube channel?

Absolutely, absolutely. I’m on YouTube; I got quite a few videos. I think somebody said I got 9000 videos on YouTube, you know, because I do a lot of interviews. I also have the channel FreewayRickMedia, accessible through www.FreewayRick.com, and I use DailyMotion and MetaCafe.

More Info at www.FreewayRick.com

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