The Battle for

Mark Poutenis

Men speaking in strange tongues call Rick Ross late in the night and ask him questions involving matters of which he has no knowledge. In English more broken than Tim Tebow's NFL chances, they ply him for info on his next ill beat. They croon how much they love his jam.

Then, the white 61-year-old cult expert living in New Jersey hangs up the phone, confused, and thinks of all of the money he could bank. "Over the last month, we've discussed whether or not to auction our domain," Rick Ross says about,, and — all of which he owns. Ross is a lecturer and consultant who runs the Rick A. Ross Institute and has advised the FBI and the Israeli government regarding the persuasive techniques used by cults. (He's also featured in our cover story this week.)

"At one time, believe it or not, I was the most famous Rick Ross."

A little something's changed.

More than a decade after this Rick Ross christened in 1996, our own local celebrity, rapper Rick Ross, went supernova. Now, the Bawse owns the rap world — even if he's not as hard as he says and his would-be assassins have worse aim than the bad guys in a Rambo flick. (In January, some entirely feckless hit men unloaded 17 bullets at the Bawse in Fort Lauderdale and, incredibly, missed his Rolls-Royce with every shot.)

But the Bawse has a problem: The biggest rapper in America doesn't even have his own signature website. He instead must use while the other Rick Ross deploys the suddenly desirable And that Rick Ross isn't giving the URL up.

Unless the price is right, of course.

"One time — but this was years ago — I got a message from one his people saying they wanted to buy," he said. "But their offer was, like, $10,000. And I thought, 'No way am I selling it for that low.' "

But so far, no better offer has arrived. And in the time since, he's collected thousands of rapper Rick Ross' fans who have unwittingly clicked into their browser and come upon a site strewn with tens of thousands of archived materials related to cults across the nation.

"At least a thousand per day," Rick Ross estimates their number.

The site also lists Rick Ross' email, which explodes with fan email — but not for him, of course. And next to his email, perhaps imprudently, is Rick Ross' cell phone.

So at night, the calls come.

"I love your music!" the callers yell.

"And I tell them, 'I'm not the right Rick Ross.' I do cults."

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