Why did I choose Freeway Rick Ross, an American Drug Kingpin, as my first entrepreneur to profile on my blog? Well, because I believe he set the stage for a new type of entrepreneur- the kind that I’d dare say didn’t exist before him- the entrepreneurial hustler.
But Freeway Rick Ross wasn’t an immigrant in American history who worked his way up to success. He didn’t receive the financial backing of relatives or investors. He was a poor black kid who couldn’t read in a post-Civil Rights era Los Angeles. He grew up among pimps, drug users, low- wage workers, and gang mentality. The only thing he was passionate about was getting out of poverty. He talks about it with me in this video:
See, the real Rick Ross was never a big fan of drugs. He actually told me he always wondered why people were so attracted to them. In his mind, cocaine and crack was a better alternative to the drugs already being sold in his neighborhood by people outside of his community. I mean if cocaine was good for rich Hollywood, why not for those who lived by the freeway? He followed the simple principle of sell what you know and had access to.
But this isn’t a blog on drug policy.
Because Rick Ross did not care about selling drugs; he cared about making money, and that he did very well. Like the moguls ahead of him, Ross built an empire of profit, investments, and brand saturation. By 1990, his name had become synonymous with drug dealing success. For Ross, money was the goal, making it was just a means to an end.
What did he learn for the experience? He explains it in this video:
Now the real Rick Ross is no longer selling drugs- but he is still hustling for big money. This time, he is using his street knowledge as a legal entrepreneur. It was his time in prison that changed that- (and no, it wasn’t the fact that he couldn’t sell drugs from there). It was while he was in prison that he learned how to read. According to Ross, it was only after he was exposed to education did he realize the many ways to make money outside of selling drugs. He now writes books, fights to protect his brand, owns Freeway studios (film) and Rick Ross Music Group, sells his own apparel and is planning even more business ventures.
Why does he do this? He discusses his motivation in this short clip:
Based on what he’s done so far, Rick Ross is well on his way to becoming a “Black Economic Coach”. Even if he doesn’t make a million dollars a day again, his messages of education, entrepreneurship and the real possibility of economic success for anyone are being heard.
Learn more about the Freeway Literacy Foundation, Rick Ross’s nonprofit, focused on education here.
Purchase his book, Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography from Amazon.
Visit the Official Site