Rick Ross (January 28, 1976)
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Rick Ross' real name is William Leonard Roberts II. He took his stage name from the drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross, who was known for his drug empire in Los Angeles in the early '80s. Although originally sentenced to life in prison in 1996, the real Ricky Ross was released in 2009 for being a model prisoner.
Rick Ross played football in high school and college. He graduated from Carol City Senior High School near Miami, Florida and later went to Albany State College on a football scholarship.
In 2008, Rick Ross faced backlash from his fans and peers when it was revealed that he used to work as a corrections officer. The Smoking Gun posted a picture along with details about Ross' social security number and stated that the rapper had worked at the South Florida Reception Center. After initially denying the claim, Ross later admitted that he had worked at the facility for 18 months in the '90s.
In January 2008, Rick Ross was arrested on gun possession and marijuana charges. Police believed Ross was also part of the Carol City Cartel, a drug ring base in and around Miami. Ultimately, the police couldn't establish a personal connection between Ross and the gang so related charges could not be pursued.
Rick Ross started a feud with 50 Cent in 2009, believing the "In Da Club" rapper looked at him the wrong way at BET awards. Ross released a song in the internet called "Mafia Music" which contained several lines slamming 50 Cent. 50 fired back with "Officer Ricky (Go Ahead, Try Me)" in response.
In 2011, Hip-Hop magazine The Source nominated Rick Ross for its "Man of the Year" award. MTV also named Ross "The Hottest MC in the Game" in 2011, ahead of heavyweights like Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil' Wayne.
On October 14, 2011, Rick Ross suffered two seizures on the same day. In the morning, he was found unconscious but was revived by CPR. After posting a message to his fans on Twitter saying that he was OK, Ross suffered another seizure in the early evening shortly after boarding a plane. This time, Ross was taken to the emergency room at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. Ross' condition was upgraded to "stable" after a short stay.
"Freeway" Ricky Ross sued Rick Ross for appropriating his name and likeness, filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in a California Federal Court on June 18, 2010. However a US court ruling allowed the man born William Roberts II to continue using his stage name. Judge Roger Boren ruled that his rap alias is protected by the First Amendment, which regards freedom of expression.
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