I wrote a very important and highly viewed blog last week about one of today’s most successful rappers, Rick Ross, who has been under fire for some very controversial lyrics in a recent song. Ross had made major news headlines last week for lyrics that allegedly glorified date rape. In a fellow Maybach Music artist (Maybach Music is rapper Rick Ross’s record label that he owns and operates) Rockie (aka Rocko) Fresh’s single “U.O.N.E.O.” which was released in January, Ross raps a couple of bars (rap terminology for lyrics in a song) that have been construed by majority of the public as Ross advocating rape, specifically date rape. Ross has taken tremendous heat for the controversial lyrics, “Put molly all in her champagne/she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/she ain’t even know it.” Molly, better known as MDMA (has become widely known as ecstasy, usually referring to its street pill form. The term “molly” or “mandy” is the street name. It also refers to MDMA in powder or crystalline form, usually implying a higher level of purity), is frequently used in date rape incidents. Ross has received major public outcry, with many prominent Woman’s Rights Groups such as UltraViolet even putting together an online petition and protest at Ross’s sponsor Reebok’s National headquarters office, in hopes of having Reebok drop Rick Ross from their list of endorsed artists.
As of Thursday April 11th, UltraViolet has achieved its goal. Reebok officially dropped Rick Ross from their list of endorsed celebrities. Reebok released a statement regarding their decision to end their partnership with the Grammy nominated rapper. A Reebook spokesperson stated in a recent statement to Billboard.com, “Reebok holds our partners to a high standard, and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand. Unfortunately, Rick Ross has failed to do so. While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse. At this time, it is in everyone’s best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross.” Reebok and Rick Ross have history that dates back to 2012. Ross was featured in Reebok commercial, and was also seen in various Reebok print ads wearing Reebok’s shoes. Check out the commercial here:
There has been further fallout since Rick Ross’s controversial lyrics hit the airwaves. Rockie (Rocko) Fresh, who gained popularity with the 2012 internet release of his successful mixtape “Driving 88,” said in a recent radio interview that he will be releasing a different version of “U.O.E.N.O.” without Rick Ross’ controversial date rape verse. Fresh said, “With all respect to the homie Ross… It’s a Catch-22, I don’t want to take him off. But one thing that’s set in stone is he’s always going to be on that song. It doesn’t matter who I put on the song, that’s going to always be the original version. It’s not like I can do another version and call it the original.” Fresh intends to add a feature from another superstar rapper, Wiz Khalifa, in place of Ross’s omitted lyrics. The song “U.O.E.N.O.” was also dropped from the playlist of many major radio stations across the country. Numerous people took to YouTube to voice their own opinion, disappointment and objection with Ross’s lyrics. Check out one of the many videos here, in particular, one by rap music activist Rosa Clemente. Her video as of April 11th 2013, has over 16,000 views:
Note that not only women have stepped forward and spoken out publicly about Ross’s lyrics, there are also numerous videos from men voicing their objections to the song as well. In a statement released to Foxnews.com, UltraViolet said that the group is “thrilled to hear that Reebok is joining the fight against rape culture and dropping Rick Ross. This sends a strong message that rapping about drugging and raping an unconscious woman is not only morally wrong, but has real consequences. “
Rick Ross took to his personal twitter page to further explain and attempt to apologize for his lyrics. The same day UltraViolet (Thursday April 4th) planned a protest outside of Reebok’s flagship store in New York City, Ross apologized via twtitter. He said, “I dont condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS. Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet.”
I cannot say for certain what Rick Ross’s intentions were with those lyrics. We might never truly know. There is a silver lining in all of this. Maybe, not only upcoming music artists, but also one’s who currently have a career and large fan base can learn an important lesson from this. As I said in my last blog, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s the responsibility to your fans to act in a mature and positive fashion, and influence your listeners to do the same. All musicians out there should take note that there might be repercussions to things they say, especially in their music. Rick Ross has suffered a pretty considerable financial fallout that might affect the rest of his music career. Hopefully not only he, but everyone else sharing their voice with the world will learn from this situation. Everything in life has a ripple effect. Thankfully, the ripple effect might only be affecting Rick Ross. Hopefully his listeners do not interpret his lyrics as glorifying despicable acts like date rape. Kudos to Reebok for taking a stand! Kudos to the almost 100,000 people who signed the online petition! I sincerely hope that future rappers and musicians will learn from Rick Ross’s mistake. In my adolescence, one of the qualities that first attracted me to rap music was the many braggadocios themes some of the songs had. Rap artists rapped about how cool they were. How their communities looked up to them. How much money they made. How many woman wanted them, and how they were able to consistently attract the opposite sex by their smooth suaveness. I am still trying to understand what is cool about having to drug a woman to be intimate with her. So, I take it if you are not able to attract woman by any of your “game” as many rappers describe it, than you must not really be that cool. You are not that attractive or charismatic. I think that if you need to stoop that low in order to hook up with a woman, then that shows that women probably don’t really like you. To me there is nothing cool or masculine about that.