Still Hustlin'

With a new album, Trilla, on the horizon, Rick Ross is still the Chief of Miami

Ross picks up an electronic box with knobs and a blinking red light. "If the sun gets too hot in the daytime, you can still walk barefoot on the marble out here," he explains, pressing a button that adjusts the temperature on the outdoor marble deck. He points to a tall and exotic-looking plant. "That tree cost $25,000," he declares. There are a number of these sprinkled around the estate's perimeter. He turns and points toward the black abyss beyond the waterfall. "That is going to be my own private golf course. You can look up and see all the stars out there." He puts his hand on my shoulder and imparts what he says is his most important piece of advice: "Save your life — that is my advice to you. Do whatever you have to do to save your life. That is the best advice I can give you and all of my loyal readers."

We walk back inside the house as the tattoo artist plugs in his ink gun. We discuss his upcoming album, Trilla, and the recent video he made with R. Kelly for the song "Speedin.' " (In the video, Ross jumps off the old Rickenbacker Causeway after being pulled over by a cop.) Although not yet available in stores — the release date has been pushed back to February 19 — songs from the sophomore effort can already be heard on 99 Jamz (WEDR-FM 99.1). "The Trilla album is already legendary," he says. "I am recording songs right now as we speak. I just keep adding some new shit; we ain't finished with it." He turns down the volume on the TV set with a remote control. "I remember when Michael Jackson's Thriller came out. I remember like it was yesterday. That album sold 130 million copies. That was like the first vinyl record that my mama ever gave me." He pauses. "Trilla is about winning... Trilla is here forever."

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