lilD: An interview with ‘Freeway’ Ricky RossWritten by lilD | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since being released from prison in 2009, notorious drug dealer “Freeway” Ricky Ross has been traveling the country, sharing his story of drugs, bad decision-making and the inevitable road they lead to.
If Freeway were a rapper, he would be Tupac: a legend whose star may have fallen, but whose legacy will never die. At the height of his illegal success, Freeway was making $2 million a day from cocaine sales. That’s roughly the equivalent of charging $100,000 for a performance, and performing 20 times a day. But like the Tupac that millions of fans will never forget, Freeway stated during an Aug. 28 phone interview that his new mission is to “raise up [his] people.”
Both Tupac and Freeway came from meager beginnings and both engaged in illegal activities for financial stability. Part of the reason Freeway started selling drugs was to pay for tennis lessons after making his college team. He blames his choice of illegal profit on “poverty, lack of education, and my ignorance.” But Tupac summed up the sentiment of a young drug dealer: “Even though I sell rocks, it feels good putting money in your mailbox.”
Every decision has a consequence. It took Tupac a few arrests, lawsuits and trips to jail to realize about fame what Freeway realized about his cocaine business: “drugs become to the seller the same thing they are to the user: a crutch.” Tupac needed the spotlight to positively influence others, but his raw, unfiltered emotions often manifested into badly-timed verbal rants. Freeway needed the drugs to take care of his family, but “being a ghetto multimillionaire” came at the price of losing time, sleep, and stability.
The infamous rap battle between Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. ended with both of their unsolved murders; hopefully the lawsuit Freeway filed has against rapper Rick Ross will end more amicably. The rapper, born William Leonard Roberts II, has basically replicated Freeway’s life story to sell records. The rapper boasts of being a drug boss, even though it is a known fact that he was a corrections officer, and even got an award for perfect attendance. Freeway is suing him because “he’s rapping negativity, and it’s my name. My property.” This must be how Tupac felt when he claimed the Notorious B.I.G. stole his persona: “Now it’s all about Versace; you copy my style.”
The lawsuit is the only controversy Freeway has in his life. With an autobiography, a biopic, a social networking site (freewayenterprises.com), a trucking company and a pending reality TV series on the way, Freeway is a prime example of prison reform. His movie will be directed by one of the writers of “Blow,” Nick Cassavetes. The film will cover Freeway’s life as a drug lord (“the parts [I] can remember”) and he will give away four roles in the movie on his social networking site. He is also looking for artists to sign and develop. Not bad for the man who “never read a book before [I] went to prison.”
Freeway wants to touch the youth the way no one touched him. He understands the mind of a young drug dealer; he knows “it’s tough when you’re hungry,” and that the “schools don’t understand that they’re entrepreneurs.” Selling drugs requires business savvy, mathematical skills, and multitasking; these people are not unintelligent, just misguided. He also knows exactly where the road of fast money and ill-conceived power leads, so he’s using himself as a “caution sign.”
Freeway is not begging for the spotlight. He knows that “if you reform the youth, the spotlight comes.” Tupac once said, “I may not change the world, but I guarantee you I will spark the mind that will.”
Well done, Tupac. Well done.