Miami rapper Rick Ross is about to release a new album, “Rise to Power,” but it’s not via his current label homes, Def Jam and Slip-N-Slide. Instead, the album of refreshed early material is dropping Sept. 18 via Texas independent, Suave House records.
“Ross was signed to me in 2000 — I found him,” says Suave House owner Tony Draper. “I’m the key to the south. Unfortunately, I was in a bad situation with Jcor Entertainment. I had a joint venture deal with Jcor, who had their distribution deal with Interscope Records. Jcor was supposed to supply marketing dollars, but they didn’t. They only paid $500,000 on a $5 million tab. So to not tie up my artist, I allowed Ross to go to Slip-N-Slide Records in 2002.”
Slip-N-Slide and Def Jam signed a joint venture deal in February 2006 and released Ross’ debut, “Port of Miami” with the hit single, “Hustlin'” as its catalyst. Draper says Def Jam sent him a cease and desist letter in October 2006. However, according to Draper, since he owns Ross’ masters, Def Jam had no legal grounds to halt the “Rise to Power” release. And recently, Def Jam and Suave House reached a compromise.
“Def Jam tried to stop me from putting the record out but with the help of [Slip-N-Slide head] Ted Lucas, we’ve finally worked it out,” says Draper. “Def Jam wanted me to compensate them for building the Rick Ross brand. So I ended up giving them a point on the album. I have no problem with Def Jam, but honestly, they couldn’t have stopped me. Def Jam stepped up in a classy manor. But if they hadn’t raised up, I was ready to go the whole legal route. Def Jam can’t stake a claim to the masters that I own.” Calls to Def Jam were not returned.
Ross’ “Get That Bread” featuring Cinque and Big Duke from Boyz N Da Hood is the first single from “Rise to Power” and will be released this week.