For years, Rick Ross was on the periphery of the rap music scene, contributing with many famous artists but never achieving the solo success that he truly craved. Ross, whose birth name is William Leonard Roberts II, grew up in Carol City, Florida, during the height of the hip-hop explosion that brought Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to the national consciousness. In the 1990s, Roberts formed a group called Carol City Cartel, who signed with a small record label called Suave House Records. Over time, he attracted the attention of Slip-n-Slide Records, who hooked Roberts up with noted hip-hop artists like Trick Daddy and Trina. With a new recording house supporting him, Roberts changed his name to Rick Ross and started the road to his solo career.
After touring with both Trick Daddy and Trina over the course of the early 2000s, Ross set out on his own in 2006 and released his first single, "Hustlin." After being heard by record company executives, it was Jay-Z's Def Jam Records who won the bidding war for Ross's rights and his first solo album, Port of Miami, was released that year. "Hustlin" would climb to No. 11 on the U.S. hip-hop/R&B charts and the album itself would sell 187,000 copies in its first week. The album would also open up at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, a major feat for Ross that very few musicians have been able to achieve.
In 2008, Ross would release Trilla, a tribute to Michael Jackson's classic album Thriller that would also climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and would feature a slew of hits. "Speedin" featuring R. Kelly, "The Boss" featuring T-Pain and "Here I Am" with Nelly and Avery Storm dominated hip-hop radio. The following year, Rick Ross would release another No. 1 album dubbed Deeper Than Rap, a much darker album that delved into Ross's view of the rap industry and his love for the genre.
In 2010, Ross would come roaring back with his fourth studio album entitled Teflon Don, which featured successful singles like "Super High" featuring Ne-Yo and "Live Fast, Die Young" which was produced by Kanye West. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts and would be following by a strong showing in 2012 with the release of his fifth album, God Forgives, I Don't. Rick Ross's solo career has gone better than any industry insiders could have expected and he is undeniably one of the most popular artists in rap music today.