The best rapper from all 50 states

10 of 51


Artist – Rick Ross

Years Active – 2001-Present

Notable Album – Teflon Don, 2010

Sample Rhyme (from track “I’m Not a Star”):

“I’m not a star, somebody lied

I got a pistol in the car, a 45

If I’d die today, remember me like John Lennon

Buried in Louie, I’m talking all brown linen”

In a strange way, Rick Ross’ ascent up rap’s hierarchy is the embodiment of the American Dream.

His raps are full of references to drug dealing, to violence, to a life lived outside the law. It’s all standard rap fodder, the kind of experiences that have built careers since rap’s beginnings.

Only it might not be true. Rick Ross — real name William Leonard Roberts II — was raised in Florida and went to college in Georgia on a football scholarship. After graduating, he worked for roughly 18 months as a correctional officer.

He would eventually move on to making music and, as his doubters argue, he found that designing a fake persona around drug dealing made for a better look. He would adopt the name “Rick Ross” from a famous cocaine kingpin in 1980s Los Angeles.

The truth, though, is that Rick Ross is a good rapper, perhaps even very good. He made himself into a character to add weight to what he rapped about, and it worked. No famous rap artist out there can claim to have done any different.

Next: Georgia