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A Memoir

by Rick Ross with Neil Martinez-Belkin

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-335-99928-3
Publisher: Hanover Square Press

The Miami rapper and businessman recounts his rise to fame and controversy.

In his first book, written with the assistance of Martinez-Belkin (co-author: The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, 2017), Ross, founder of the Maybach Music Group, tells us more about Kanye West’s approach to music on one page than about his own across the remainder of the book. When he writes that he “put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to get my career off the ground in Miami,” we take him at his word. After all, he spent 10 years in rap before he found the kind of success he was after. However, readers may never feel this commitment or his stated love for the music. Even when he turns to rap in earnest, it’s not entirely convincing. Furthermore, the author’s gruff, “boss” persona, while successful in his music, comes off as heavy-handed and tiresome in prose form. Still, the book is not without appeal, especially when Ross breaks from his default braggadocio to offer brief moments of meaningful reflection. When an older hustler warned him that he was “either going to be broke, dead or serving a life sentence,” the author explains his failure to heed the warning by recognizing, “I was infatuated with wealth. I was infected with greed.” The real charm of the memoir is the author’s humor. It’s hard not to like a narrator who describes himself this way: “To this day, the Roberts men carry their weight well. I wouldn’t even say we’re fat. We’re just some burly, handsome niggas who smell good.” Passages like this aren’t enough to make an above-average music memoir, but they are enough to get readers to the end of the book, where Ross sums it up, “the truth is, what makes me a boss is not the stories that I tell. It’s the ones that I don’t.”

An expected hurricane downgraded to a pleasant thunderstorm.