BY PETER BAILEY
When Rick Ross called me to begin the year with a NiteCap, I welcomed the sitdown with an artist I had grown to respect over the years.
"Happy new year, my brother. Figured I'd call my homie to talk a little music and life," said Ross.
"Indeed," I replied. "Sounds good."
After all, it was my first episode at Ross' birthday party inside King of Diamonds that captured the imagination of hipsters and corporate types nationwide. Ross and his cohorts - Diddy and Pharrell among them - bathing a bunch of naked bodacious beauties in 1 million big ones was too much for civilized America.
But, this is Miami.
Fast forward to the present, to this sitdown with the Bawse inside his Wingstop and the mood was just as jovial as I listened to his plans for the new year, in essence the blueprint of a mogul in the making.
Sitting there discussing his upcoming acting role as Butterball on the Starz original series "Magic City," it was hard not to reminiscent of 2pac and Biggie Smalls.
Over a batch of lemon pepper wings, I even grudgingly admitted that he had somehow made hours of crunches seem futile, since he had somehow made big guys cool.
"Shout out the fat boys! We poppin!" he joked.
But when asked about his run ins with foes who seem disturbed by his ascent Ross' gaze turned serious.
"I've had so many beefs I don't even remember most of them. I'm just focused on progress. Hopefully, we'll just influence the younger entrepenuers that's coming from our city."
That was a week before Monday morning.
Now, Ross' name is blared across news headlines nationwide after being shot at numerous times in an apparent hit attempt.
Watching the news, seeing the image of his grey Rolls crashed, it echoed nostalgia of those two legends previously mentioned, both vanquished at their peak.
One of my twitter followers tweeted: "If that's the life they portray, then what other reaction can they expect from people."
The gangster imagery in Ross' rhymes are just as vivid as John Wayne's rifle on the range.
At its core, hip hop embraces America's capitalist intent: tap into a resource then package it as a product to sell in pursuit of dollars.
If we're not happy with the content in Ross' product then the addict is just as guilty as the dealer. Judging by his Grammy nomination and critical success, it seems we all have an insatiable appetite for Ross' product.
So if Ross is indeed the boss of rap, an art form that has come to be celebrated worldwide which entertains and enlightens, I can only ask any would be assassins one question:
Why kill the show?
This article originally posted on iampeterbailey.com.