Rick Ross talks about cars with the excitement of a kid opening a present on Christmas morning.
As a kid, he dreamed of owning a 1972 Caprice convertible and a Mercedes-Benz 500. He vividly remembers riding in a “‘71 convertible with a purple and white top, white pillow seats ... we were in there heavy.” Now, he enjoys driving an exclusive Trans Am Bandit, one his recent purchases. And over a decade ago, the “biggest boss” dedicated an entire song to an Aston Martin (2010′s “Aston Martin Music,” which featured Drake and Chrisette Michele) that remains one of his biggest hits to date.
At his Fayetteville estate two days before his popular yet controversial car show — which has been heavily critiqued for possibly creating a nuisance for residents in the community — the rapper makes one thing clear:
“When the young dudes get gunned down, kids getting gunned down---that’s the nuisance,” the rapper said. “It was youngsters coming from all around the country (last year) and we came together and it was a peaceful event, a positive event, youngsters walking around seeing the cars that they just imagine seeing in real life. ... To me the nuisance is the people that’s not really recognizing the violence that’s going on in our community.”
The rapper’s annual Car and Bike Show set to take place today at Ross’ Promise Land estate has faced immense scrutiny after Fayette County denied the event’s permit last month due to concerns over traffic, crowds and noise. In response, Ross still planned to host the event without a permit. The public back-and-forth concluded last week when Fayette’s zoning and planning director Deborah Bell approved the permit, according to a letter Ross posted on social media.
“It just felt great,” Ross said on Thursday about getting approval from the county. “It’s one of those situations where I thought the bigger picture was, you know, just motivating the culture. Let’s inspire the youth, the heads of the households, let’s encourage them to own the property that they live on. Being the owner of your property, you should be able to make some positive decisions.”
Last year’s inaugural event hosted over 8,000 people and featured vendors from throughout the state. Ross said there weren’t any public safety issues during the show, although residents complained about traffic. He said his team has worked closely with the county to prevent major traffic issues for Saturday’s show. Earlier this week, a truck entering the estate clipped power lines for residents in the area, according to Channel 2 Action News. On Thursday, Ross said he wasn’t aware of the situation, but stated “That might have gotten by me. They got the power back on now though, long as the power on now.”
“Traffic was an issue last year, and we heard them loud and clear,” Ross’ lawyer Leron Rogers previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the neighbors who complained of traffic delays. “We’ve spent an inordinate amount of money and time and resources to alleviate that issue.”
Although Ross didn’t provide details for what those traffic plans are, he said he’s focused on working closely with the county for the event’s future.
“We made it happen, so I moved forward and I like to set that example,” he said. “We’re not gonna really complain about a lot of things. When you’re a boss, you go through some things and you make you happy and you move forward and you just focus on the positive and, and that’s all I can focus on.”
The Miami native said bringing the event to Fayetteville is bigger than any controversy. For him, his car show is about inspiring the next generation of car enthusiasts just like he was inspired when working at a Miami car wash. His love for cars emerged when he was 13 after seeing the variety of vehicles entering the shop. Last year, he created his own line of automotive detailing products, Slippery Soap.
“It felt like, you know, all the dudes that I saw pulling up in the beautiful cars was living an amazing life, so I knew that would be a part of the equation one day. It was actually cool for me. I actually enjoyed going through the dudes’ cassette tapes, CDs (while working on the cars), you know. I just realized how much I loved being, sitting in cars. ... I just knew the cars that I loved and I was a lot younger than my counterparts and my homeboys and I knew the year of a car, the name of a car.”
On Saturday, he’s most looking forward to seeing all of the faces of kids who may be seeing these high-end luxury cars on display for the first time — just like he did when he worked at the car wash.
“When I have those conversations with the youngsters who got cars — and they may have a lot of rust on them, the tops may not look the best, this interior may be run down — I tell them, man, don’t even rush (because) five years from now, you will be winning one of these keys. That’s what it’s about.”
IF YOU GO
Rick Ross’ Car and Bike Show will take place at his Fayetteville estate, Promise Land, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Tickets start at $325 plus fees, while car and motorcycle registrations are $750. Ross and Gucci Mane are set to perform.