After speculations on whether or not Rick Ross would outsell fellow rapper Asher Roth this week, or whether or not his beef with 50 Cent would affect his sales overall, Rick Ross tops the Billboard 200 this week with "Deeper Than Rap" (Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam), shifting 158,000 its first week.
But this comes to no surprise to Slip-N-Slide CEO Ted Lucas, who gave the Miami-born rapper his first deal.
"When I heard about all that was going down, I knew that musically Ross would rebut by making great music and come out on top," Lucas tells Billboard about his beef with 50. "If he wants to get caught up in personal issues, that's fine, but I never doubted him musically and lyrically.
As reported earlier, "Deeper Than Rap" is the third topper for the artist. His last set, 2008's "Trilla," bowed at No. 1 with 198,000 while 2006's "Port of Miami" also did the same, but with 187,000.
"He's constantly in the booth making music. In fact, he's already working on album number four. Ross is an incredible rapper and not too many people can out-rap him," adds Lucas.
Despite rumors about the relationship between the label head and signee going sour in recent years, Lucas says he's here "to support him. I want him to be successful. I want his label, Maybach Music, to blow up. I want to see people I help get started doing things. I'm always going to be supportive of him."
Lucas hopes Ross isn't the only Slip-N-Slide artist topping charts this year. In September, rapper Trina will be releasing her as-yet-untitled album, and newly-signed R&B singer/songwriter Shonie, who Lucas is especially excited about, is scheduled to release her set in October.
"We're in the process of working on her debut with [producer] Just Blaze, and we're very excited about it," he says. "She brings something to R&B that's new and fresh. She writes her own music, and she knows how to connect with people, from both a male and female perspective."
The Brooklyn native's promotional single, "Can't Let Go," featuring Fabolous, entered the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart earlier this year at No. 100. An accompanying video for the track is being shot in coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Lucas continues to expand his roster, most recently signing rappers Swazy Baby, Atiba and Mike Bless, as well as R&B/pop singer Qwote and pop artist Drew Sidora. He launched the first Slip-N-Slide studio, 4Star, in January, and the official Slip-N-Slide networking site, slipnslideworld.com.
"After fifteen years of doing what we've done it felt like it was time to spread our wings and venture into other genres," he says. "Music isn't going anywhere, so it feels like it's time for me to take my company and go into another level."