Freeway Rick Ross (@FreewayRicky) managed a billion-dollar drug empire in the age of Iran-Contra, now helps rebuild at-risk communities, and is featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary Freeway: Crack in the System.
What We Discuss with Freeway Rick Ross:
- How Rick went from a tennis scholarship track in high school to a young adulthood making cocaine appealing and affordable for a growing urban clientele.
- The escalation of Rick’s business model thanks to an immensely helpful Nicaraguan connection during the Reagan administration.
- Why Rick wished he had more hours a day in prison — a place where most people are just looking to kill time.
- The story behind the ex-prison guard rapper who uses Rick’s name and why he’s legally allowed to do so.
- How Rick overcame illiteracy later in life and the must-read books he recommends for anyone with (legal) entrepreneurial ambitions.
- And much more…
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Freeway Rick Ross is one of the most well-known drug traffickers the world has ever seen, and his drug empire in Los Angeles essentially kicked off the crack epidemic in the United States. Our aim is not to glorify the domino effect of tragedy his actions caused, but to get the story from Rick’s own perspective.
This episode isn’t about selling drugs or organized crime. What follows is an extremely vulnerable and candid interview with a man whose personal potential and business acumen could have taken him to insane levels of success in any area, but the cannon was aimed tragically in the wrong direction. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
When most people wind up in prison, the long days can’t go by quickly enough. But when crack cocaine entrepreneur and Freeway: Crack in the System documentary subject Freeway Rick Ross landed there for 20 years, he ran into the same problem most driven people with big ideas have: there just weren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything he set out to do.
“I didn’t watch television at all,” says Rick. “In prison, I didn’t have time. I needed more time in the day. I used to say that, and people would think I’m crazy. At first, before I learned how to make prison work for me, there was too much time in the day; I was wishing that the day would go by. But as I started to expand my mind and my thoughts, it became not enough time in the day.”
Rick says he spent his hours writing a book, reading movie scripts for film companies, reading books, sharing his business experience and insights with others, and answering “about 7,500 letters a week.”
Looking back on Rick’s childhood, the planets aligned to keep him out of trouble in spite of growing up in gang-riddled South Central Los Angeles. While he was attracted to the idea of joining the Crips, his strict mother kept him on the straight and narrow. From age 12 through high school, he was playing tennis with enough proficiency that a college scholarship seemed inevitable — until it was discovered that he was illiterate.
“I never learned how to read or write, so that squashed the opportunity of me going to college and playing college tennis. So I found myself back in South Central L.A. But now I’m a grown man; I’m 18 years old; I make my own decisions; my mom doesn’t tell me what to do any more. I’m pretty much doing whatever I want to do. I find myself in a place of not knowing what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about why it took so long for Rick’s illiteracy to be discovered, what initially motivated him to pursue a life of crime beginning with car theft, the evolution of the drug trade from the time Rick entered to the time he went to prison, how Rick’s mother responded when she found $100,000 stashed in his dirty laundry, what he did to avoid drawing attention from authorities for so long, how he overcame illiteracy later in life, the hypocrisy of society’s love/hate relationship with drug dealers, and much more.
THANKS, FREEWAY RICK ROSS!
If you enjoyed this session with Freeway Rick Ross, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Freeway Rick Ross at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Freeway: Crack in the System
- American Gangster
- Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography by Rick Ross and Cathy Scott
- Rick Ross’ Website
- Rick Ross at Instagram
- Rick Ross at Facebook
- Rick Ross at Twitter
- ‘Freeway’ Ricky Ross vs. Rick Ross: First Amendment Protects Hip-Hop Persona by Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter
- Floyd Mayweather and Freeway Rick Ross
- Big Smoke, Grand Theft Auto Wiki
- The Crips (1971? — ) by Brian Gann, BlackPast.org
- In Los Angeles, It’s South-Central No More by Calvin Sims, The New York Times
- Dorsey High School
- The Terrifying Substances People Put in Cocaine by Kim Gosmer as told to Morten Vammen, Vice
- Super Fly
- “Crack” Versus “Rock” Cocaine: The Importance of Local Nomenclature in Drug Research and Education by Lawrence J. Ouellet, Henry H. Cagle, and Dennis G. Fisher, Contemporary Drug Problems
- Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs, Brown University
- Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance Returns to the Internet by Dan Feder, The Narco News Bulletin
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life by John McCain and Marshall Salter
Transcript for Freeway Rick Ross | Life in the Crack Lane (Episode 121)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFillippo. A few years back, I went to a private event with a lot of high level entrepreneurs, and one man in particular stood out from the crowd in a few ways. One of which was a sense of calm focus that I don't often see in anyone, let alone the permanently frenetic entrepreneurs and creators that were the mainstay of the event. And when I engaged him in conversation, I quickly realized I was dealing with somebody who had a very sharp mind for business, but he'd been applying it to something that went horribly, horribly wrong in almost every way possible. Freeway Ricky Ross is one of the most well-known drug traffickers the world has ever seen. His drug empire in Los Angeles and beyond essentially kicked off the crack epidemic in the United States and elsewhere for that matter.
[00:00:49] And I don't like to glorify anything like this, and we're going to get Rick's story from his own perspective. And trust me when I say, this really is an incredible tale. A kid from the wrong side of the tracks ends up moving billions of dollars in cocaine and crack with help from a variety of characters -- from the Nicaraguans to the Central Intelligence Agency. You cannot make this stuff up, but this episode isn't about selling drugs or organized crime. What follows is an extremely vulnerable and candid interview with a man whose personal potential and business acumen could have taken him to insane levels of success in any area, but the cannon was aimed tragically in the wrong direction. I really enjoyed sitting down with Ricky and recording this interview for you. I think there's a lot in this one and we'll really get a feeling for what Rick means when he says that -- Drugs become a crutch for the dealer as much as for the user.
[00:01:40] And I know what a lot of you are thinking, “How does he run into these people? How does he meet and get opportunities with all these great guests?” Well, I would love to share my systems and my tiny habits for maintaining and building networks and relationships with you. It is at jordanharbinger.com/course. It's our Six-Minute Networking course. It's free, jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here's Freeway Rick. I was wondering when you were inside, did you come out and then everyone's like, “Hey, check this out.” And you're like, “What? Like why is everyone looking at his phone all the time?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:02:15] Well, yeah, I was just telling her about my bus ride. You know, I left the prison at like four in the morning. So when I get on the bus, everybody has cell phones. It's like, “What is going on here? Anybody got phones?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:29]But you knew what they were from like television and stuff, right? But you didn't see like the apps.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:02:33] I knew it from magazines. Yeah, I knew from magazines. I was well read, not television. I didn't watch television at all. No, I didn't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:43] Did they not have that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:02:44] They had it. I just wasn't interested. I didn't have time, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:47] You're that busy in prison?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:02:49] Yeah, only in prison, I didn't have time. I was running out of time. I needed more time in a day. I used to say that people would think I'm crazy. You know, if I told them, “You know what, I don't have enough time.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:59] Yeah, because you hear about entrepreneurs be like, “Oh, there's not enough hours in the day”, or like a mom, parents – “There's not enough hours in the day.” And it's like, but when you're in prison it's like maybe there's too many hours in the day.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:03:09] Well, you know, at first, before I learn how to work prison, how to make prison work for me, it was too much time in the day. You know, I was wishing that today would go by. But as I started to expand my mind and my thoughts, it became not enough time in the day, you know, like “I need more time. I wish I had two or three more hours every day to finish some of the things that I'm trying to get accomplished.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:37] What were you doing the whole time? Writing the book which talked about that off my…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:03:38] Writing a book. I used to read movie scripts for a couple of companies, you know, screening scripts for them, reading books, teaching other guys the things that I had learned. I used to get about 7,500 letters a week from people asking for advice. So I was kind of like counseling from prison.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:04] What were they asking about?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:04:07] Just business, you know, for some reason people, I don't know if you saw the one, the documentary BET did.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:13] I saw the one on Netflix.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:04:15] It's different.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:16] Oh man. I didn't know.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:04:17] BET did one called American Gangsters. It was a series that they did. Matter of fact, you know, we hold a record right now for the all-time watched show on BET. The more people watch American Gangster series than any other show ever even the awards. Eventhough BET don't let me come to the awards. No, they don't let me come. I don't know why. Well, yes I do. They got the rapper, so.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:42] Oh, so there's that whole beef, and I'll ask about that later. But they were like, “Oh, well.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:04:46] “We'll take the fake over the real.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:49] “We can only have one Rick Ross, you know. We've got a quota.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:04:52] Well, you know, it's a thing about a society and it's really strange how it works, right? They all kind of shout on a real drug dealer, but they allow people who pretend to be drug dealers to come everywhere and go everywhere and participate in everything. But the real guys who really did it, who even though now you're saying, “Hey, selling drugs are bad, don't do it. And I'm going to win.” It looks like it's fun, but you know, in the end it's a lot of hardship that goes with it. You know, they won't allow you to do the same things that they'll let the guys go on and brag about. “Oh, I sold 300 kilos on the man, homie, Miami, Ohio”, and they embrace these guys and pay them $75,000-$80,000 to come to their schools and do songs for their kids and then they wonder why their kids are one of the drug dealers.
Jordan Harbinger [00:05:53] That's crazy. I was going to get to that later, but I’ll do it now. I'm curious what you think about that because, of course, you've got this guy who people go, “Oh, the rapper? You're interviewing the rapper?” I was like, “No, he took the guy's name and he's using it because he was in prison”, and he thought, I don't know why. I mean, how did that even happen? How did that even come about?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:06:14] Well, I mean the guy, he was smart, you know, as a businessman, you know, no different than some of the other companies that have stolen property from somebody, you know, and found a loophole where it wasn't properly trademarked or copywritten or was in domain, you know. It was just sitting there and wasn't being used. Well, he saw my name and in that position, in my reputation being in that same position, and what he did is he capitalized on it. He grabbed it. He made it his own. He went and trademarked it, took it to Universal and Warner Brothers and sold it to them and they bought it. And that's pretty much how it all came about -- him stealing my name and so forth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:57] Yeah. It's so strange. Wasn't he like a prison guard before?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:07:01] He was.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:02] Okay, so he's rapping about things he's probably never done. Like sell drugs, running from the police, all that stuff.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:07:08] Well, you know, if you ran from the police, I don't think they would let you be a prison guard.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:12] Maybe not. Although who knows. I don't know.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:07:17] And then you know some of the other things that he talked about, you know, selling 300 kilos and then if you look at his record, you can see that it was no way possible that he could have accomplished the things that he say he accomplished in those terms. But you know, I mean in society right now, you can pretty much write yourself in any way you want to be. You know, it’s not about being documented.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:44] You know, Instagram? You can just pretend and then it becomes real.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:07:50] Yeah. If enough people believe it, you know, you get enough people who don't study, who don't pay attention, you know, and they'll buy into it. I mean, even the fact what really, you know, we sold him too. I lost though.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:02] Right. I know, I saw that.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:08:04] Yeah. The judge was like, “Well, you should've filed your lawsuit five days before you got out of prison.” But doing that, we even looked him up, you know, we started researching him. You know, we want to know who is this guy, where'd he come from? Why doesn’t he have his own history? And then they said that he played football and we looked up and were like, “How could this guy play football and there's not one picture of him with a football uniform on anywhere?” You can't find it. So we called the coach at the high school who coached during that time and coach didn't know his name.
[00:08:33] And so we were like, “How could this guy be an all-American football player? And had never took a picture with his uniform on.” And so, you know, at the end of the day, what he did is he wrote a story about his life and people bit it. So that's it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:52] Yeah. You think he would be like, “All right, how about the real Rick Ross’ front row seats every concert?” I don’t know.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:08:57] Yeah. Well, you know what, when I was in prison, I talked to him a couple of times and I had some great ideas for me and him to do some things together that I thought would enhance his career as well as mine. Even one time, you know, I was telling him, “Oh, at your next concert, you should let me call in.” And you know, when you call from prison, it has a thing that says, “This is a call from a correctional institution.
[00:09:21] If you accept this call, dial five. This call is from Ricky Ross.” And I thought that if he would have done that and let his fans hear us talk, it would have enhanced his street credit. Because the guys who are really from the streets, they know. You know, we have a lot of kids who play like they're from the streets, but the guys who are really from the streets, they really know what's going on. So I thought that that would have enhanced his career and you know, I mean, he could've just basically gave me a job. You know, like when I got out of prison, you know, I got out in ‘09 when the economy was crashing, it was really bad and I had a hard time, you know, getting on my feet. You know, a lot of people, you know, Floyd Mayweather picked me up from the halfway house and that's something that he should have did.
[00:10:07] You know, he should've been the one who picked me up and, you know, gave me an opportunity.
Jordan Harbinger: [0010:13] Why did Floyd Mayweather pick you up from the halfway house? How long were you inside?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:10:16] I did 20 years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:18] Yeah, that's what I thought. Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:10:20] Well, you know, Floyd and the rapper was beefing. And apparently that was a way for Floyd to get back at the rapper – to pick me up, take pictures with me and video and so forth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:34] And be like the real Ricky Ross.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:10:38] Yeah, and I didn't know at the time I thought that was going to be an opportunity for me to get set up. You know, I didn't know that was only a way for him to get back at the rapper. Because if it would have been, I wouldn't have participated, you know, I don't have time for games. You know, I'm a grown man and my time is limited and I have to use my time to the best of my ability.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:01] Yeah. Of course. I want to back up and start from when you were younger as well. You grew up, you lived in -- tell me about the neighborhood where you grew up and what was going on –
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:11:11] South Central, Los Angeles.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:13] Yeah, I think everybody's heard about that. Whether they heard about it from living there or watching the news or playing video games -- you heard the South Central.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:11:23]Yeah. Most people played the game -- what is it called? Grand Theft Auto.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:28] I was going to say that now.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:11:30] You know, when I was in prison, it's funny, you know, DJ Pooh wrote that and he grew up looking up to me, and when I was in prison, I didn't know DJ Pooh had wrote Grand Theft Auto. And this kid from Iowa sent me a letter and some of the transcripts from the thing and he was saying, “This guy Big Smokey is you. I'm telling you, this guy is you.” And I started reading the transcript and I was like, “Wow, this is related.” So, a lot of people probably heard about South Central from playing the games and you know, watching, Friday and a few other TV shows. But I grew up there. I mean, you know, we thought South Central was normal, you know. When I was first coming up, I wanted to be a gang member, you know? When I was about nine or 10 years old, you know, I thought about being a Crip, you know, I thought being in a Crip would be cool. But I got lucky, you know.
[00:12:28] My mom was really strict at that time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:31] You didn't feel lucky at that time though.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:12:33] No, I didn't. I felt deprived.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:35] Like, “All the other kids are Crips, why can’t I be a Crip?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:12:38] But by the time I got into 12th grade, I mean, 12 years old, I was introduced to tennis and I fell in love with tennis. I played tennis up until high school. Thought I would be going to college to play, but I never learned how to read and write. So that squashed the opportunity of me going to college and playing college tennis. So I found myself back in South Central LA. But now I'm a grown man. I'm 18 years old. I make my own decisions. My mom don't tell me what to do no more. I'm pretty much doing whatever I wanted to do and I find myself in a place of not knowing what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:13] So you started playing tennis, you're looking up to guys like Arthur Ash.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:13:18] That was my man. I love Arthur Ash. He came down to our school one year and he gave out trophies and hit with a couple of the guys on the team. And I was like, “Wow.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:27] It was surprising to me to hear that you love tennis because when you think of tennis, you think of like white guys with these little shorts on, the socks are pulled up, and they're hitting the ball back and forth. And you think recently now, you got Serena Williams and Venus Williams and things like that. But you don't think like, you don't think there's kids in South Central LA being like, “Man, that's really cool!”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:13:46] No, it wasn't, and it was strange how we even started, you know. We went on the tennis courts playing Roller Derby and this guy comes up and he was like, “Bet you boys can't hit that ball and in the box.” And that's how it started. And, you know, a couple of us fell in love with it immediately and then, gradually, more of us started to gravitate to it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:11] And then you started playing for school and then –
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:14:14] Yeah, started playing for Dorsey High School.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:16] So how come you didn't end up going on the college scholarship to play tennis because they –
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:14:20] I couldn't read or write.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:23] Even though you went to school the whole time, you couldn't read or write? How do you get by not knowing how to read or write the whole time?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:14:28] Well, by me being on the tennis team, my coach would always go to the teachers and get them to give me a passing grade so I would be eligible for the team. And I guess in a lot of ways too, you know, I found out that I had developed a sense of how to make people like me. And my teachers probably liked me, you know what I'm saying? Didn't want to hurt me and felt that passing me on would be the right thing to do because if they didn't pass me then I would have been stuck probably in the ninth grade.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:04] Or maybe, they really didn't like you and they're like, “I don't want this kid in my class anymore. I'm going to get him out of here.” Pass.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:15:08] Well, you know, I didn't really cause trouble in class, you know, I wasn't the type, I mean, I would tell jokes once in a while. But I wasn't the kind that would disrupt the class. I knew better than to disrupt the class. It would be better to go in the back of the class, put your head down and go to sleep and wait until recess or until the bell rung to the next class, or go to the tennis court. So, I wasn't disruptive in the class and I think that that helped as well.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:15:35] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Freeway Rick Ross. We'll be right back after these important messages.
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[00:17:05] It can finally be email@example.com. It looks much more professional, signals a lot more professionalism. Go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That's hostgator.com/Jordan. This episode is sponsored in part by DesignCrowd. Crowdsourcing is how busy people get stuff done in the 21st century. And thanks to DesignCrowd, you can focus on running your business while handing over the reigns for your company's logo, web design, tee shirt, you name it -- to a pool of over 600,000 professional designers around the world and DesignCrowd crowd sources, custom-work based on your spec, so you pick the design you like best. Here's how it works: Visit designcrowd.com/Jordan. You tell them what you need, no little brief. They invite just over half a million designers from Sydney to San Francisco to respond. Within hours, you start getting designs and over the course of three to 10 days, you can receive 60 to a hundred, I think I got like 600 different designs from designers around the world in just over a week.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:00] How did you then get into, you went from, “All right, I'm playing tennis. All right, I can't go to college because I can't read or write.” Take us from there to “I'm going to start selling drugs.” Or how did you start getting into that business from then?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:19:14] Well, I started hanging out with my younger brothers and some of the homies that I grew up with in junior high school and high school, I mean, not high school because I went to Dorsey High School, which was quite a ways away from where I lived. But I went to junior high school in South Central -- Bret Harte Junior High School. So, I started hanging out with them and when I started hanging out with them, I started doing the things that they were doing. They were driving 66 Chevy, 65 Chevy's and they wanted to be low riders.
[00:19:41] So I started riding in the car with them and then they had what they called the street hubs. And one day, they take me up here to the street hubs and I see these cars with these pretty paint jobs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:52] Street hub is like a party with your car? Okay, got you.
Freeway Rick Ross: [0019:54] Yeah, in the parking lot. And everybody's playing their music. And I was like, “Wow, I want one of those cars.” They got the girls and you know, convertibles and the girls hanging out the top, sitting on the seats and the cars going up and down. And I was like, “Oh man, this is the life. I don't know what I've been doing. I've been wasting my time on that tennis court, chasing them balls, getting nothing out of it, no girlfriend.” On with these cars, I started going around asking the guys how did they get the cars? So when I first started asking, you know, most of the guys will caught these.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:26] So they just stole the car?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:20:28] They just stole cars. So I started hanging out with them. I started driving cars for them. I would drive stolen cars. They'd give me 50 bucks. I bought my first Chevy for 100 bucks. Yeah. A convertible 66.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:41] I assume that was also a stolen car. Probably.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:20:44] No, it wasn't stolen. No, no. Back then you could have a car for 100 bucks -- a 66 convertible. Something probably worth like $70,000 right now. So I just started driving for them and next thing you know, I know how to take all the parts off the car and I'm stripping them down.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:02] Chop shop. That's what my mom used to say. Is that what they call that? Chop shop.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:21:06] Yup, that's what they call it. And eventually I had my own chop shop at like 18 years old. Eventually, it got raided by the cops. I went to jail and I'm back in no man's land again. I don't know what I'm going to do. I thought, you know, stealing cars was going to be in my life career.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:22] How long were you in jail? Because you were what, 18, 19 years old?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:21:25] Just a couple, like a day and a half. My mom bailed me right out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:28] Oh man. She must've been pissed if she was strict and she found out you were chopping up cars.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:21:33] She was, but I was grown so, she couldn't tell me much then.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:37] Why did she bail you out? Do you think she should have left you in there?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:21:38] Well, you know how moms is. Mom's gone, you know, you can be the worst kid in the world. And you still mama's baby, you know, she's still going to back you. You know, no matter what happened, your mom, you know, I mean, if you stop your mom from loving you, you've been messing up real bad. And you know, I wasn't messing up that bad to where, you know, I would never disrespect my mom. Never. I wouldn't listen to her. You know, I might say, “Oh, hi mom”, and as she said, “Go in one ear and out the other.”
[00:22:11] But as far as talking back to her or something like that, I would never do that. So she had my back, you know, so she bailed me out, put her house up and I'm back on the streets. But now, I'm back on the streets without the hustle. So I'm sitting on the porch and I don't know what I'm going to do and my partner calls me and he's like, “Man, I got the new thing.” And it was cocaine.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:32] And cocaine at that point, was that for rich and white dudes? Like it was –
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:22:37] Cocaine was really, really expensive then? You know, a gram of cocaine back then what we were buying was called eighths and it was a three grams of cocaine supposedly. But what I found is that they were taking a gram of cocaine and they will put two grams of cut on it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:57] What do you call, what did they cut it with? What is it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:00] [indiscernible]. .
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:01] What's that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:02] It’s some substance, I don't know. You bought it from liquor stores. Liquor stores sold it. It was powdery, it looked like cocaine, kind of. But later on I found out how to tell the difference, you know? So we were paying like 375 for that. So technically a gram of cocaine at that time was like $375.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:24] Wow! In what year was this?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:26] Like 79, 80.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:27] And now a gram of cocaine is what, like 80 bucks or something like that? I don't even know.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:31] No, probably like 10 bucks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:34] 10 bucks? So it was dozens of times more expensive back then than it is now.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:39] Like 300 times.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:40] Wow. Yeah. Because adjusted for inflation and everything. I don't really know how to do that math. Sorry everybody. But it's a lot. Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:23:47] Well, we saw the price go down dramatically. When I started, my first kilo that I ever bought, I paid 45,000 for it and when I stopped selling I was getting keys for like nine, five -- $9,500.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:04] So you do your business, and I have this in my notes for later, that disrupted the market to the point where the price dropped like 80, 85% because of the volume that's coming.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:24:13] Right. That's what I wanted to do. I mean, my plan was when I first started, when I first found out about cocaine, I felt that it was something that rich white people did. And they didn't let blacks do it and I had been through black and white situation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:28] It’s just like tennis, damn it, right?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:24:31] Well, you know, my mom was from the South, you know, we moved from the South when I was like three, but we still go back to Texas all the time. So one time, and I mentioned this in my book, in more graphic detail, but my mom took me to a doctor because I fell off the truck.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:47] You fell off a truck?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:24:48] Yeah. I fell off a truck, and I was all skin up. So she takes me to the doctor and we walked into a doctor's office and they had this big pretty TV sitting on the wall and I walked up, it has a sign on it too, but I can't read. And I walked up and I turned the TV on and this nurse that's like goes off on me, “You can't touch that TV.” And at that time we were in the front office, you know, something nice like this here, but then they told us, “Oh, you guys got to go to the back.” So we go to the back and in the back is like dirty, filthy cigarette butts, cups, you know, like stuff on the wall. And that was the black section.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:26] In the South? In the sixties, seventies?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:25:30] Yeah, probably like 67-ish, something like that maybe, maybe 68, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:37] Okay. So it was like segregated basically.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:25:39] It was still segregated. Yeah, a lot. I mean, Texas. Well, you know, Texas was a nice place to abolish slavery anyway.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:47] I did not know that.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:25:48] Yeah, June 10th, they celebrated in Texas the day that they won the freeing, even though they was late to the party, but it's celebrated heavily in Texas. June 10th -- the day that they found out that they was no longer slaves. So yeah, I've been through that. So when I saw cocaine, I felt that cocaine was on those same lines when something that white people had and they didn't want blacks to have it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:14] Yeah, that makes sense. So that interests you. You were like, “Well, all right, if I can't have this, then I'm going to take it anyway. I want to do it. That makes me want to do it more.” Typical teenager in a lot of ways.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:26:26] And you know, I saw the movie, Superfly, I don't know if you ever saw Superfly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:30] Yeah, sure, a long time ago.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:26:31] Yeah. When I saw Superfly did it and he beat the man, you know. Told the man, “You can do my dirty laundry. That isn’t going to help you.” So I felt all of those things. And you're talking about a 19-year-old kid, you know, who've never read a book, who didn't have a father, you know. Nobody to really guide him through, teach him the ropes of entrepreneurship. But I had that entrepreneurial blood in me. You know, I used to do car washes. I picked up cans, I hustled bottles from my neighbors, grass. I mean you name it, I have hustled it. So, I know that I had that entrepreneur fever, but I didn't have a way to channel it. So when cocaine came along, that was my way of channeling of my energy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:19] And who is the customer at that time? The rich white dudes with the office jobs?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:27:23] No. My customers start off wealthy blacks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:27] Oh really? Okay.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:27:28] Yeah. Because I didn't know any white people at that time. I think we had one white friend, Doherty, because one of my friends had got bust to as Venice High School and he used to bring Doherty back to LA with him, you know. It was crazy. And the police would see Doherty hanging out with us and they will pull over and, and jack us all up and ask Doherty, “Are you all right? What you doing over there hanging out with these –“ But he was the only white friend that we had. So my first customer was a pimp. My very first customer was a pimp, and went from pimps to the prostitutes. Only the people who had money, you had to have money and then it went from them to car shipyard to the post man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:09] The mail man?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:12] Yeah. The mailman.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:13] He had money?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:14] A mail job in South Central? That's a great job.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:16] I didn't know that.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:18] To be a mail man? Oh yeah. They kill over that. [indiscernible][00: 28:20] would kill you if they can get a job at the post office.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:23] How times have changed. Yeah. Wow. And so how did the cocaine then turn into the crack? What's going on then?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:31] When I first started, everybody cooked their own drugs for themselves.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:36] What do you mean? Like what does that mean?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:38] Well, they would buy the powder from me and then they would cook it up, turn it in the rocks. We called it rock, we didn't call it crack. We call it rock. Right. Yeah. The government called it crack. That's the government's name.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:46] That's from channel 7 Action News.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:28:51] We called it ready rock. And what happened is that people would come by early in the mornings, you know, seven, six in the morning on their way to work. And they'd be like, “Man, I need something”, and they’ll be like, “I ain't got the utensils.” And so I started off just cooking it for them so it would be ready for them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:07] What's the point of cooking it like, you know, a lot of people who know, everyone knows that you do cocaine, you put it on the table and you shove it up your nose. Why do you need to cook it into rocks? What's the benefit?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:29:16] Well the part you're doing in the nose, you can snore it to [00:29:19] [indiscernible] to cut. But with smokers, with freebasers, they don't want to taste the magnite[?]. Okay. They want to ignite to be gone. They want to taste pure cocaine. So what they do is they cook it and it boils all the impurities off of it. You know, you take it and you turn it to gel and it turns to a gel. And then when it cools off, that gel turns into like a little rocky substance. And for the impurity, they want it to be just this one flavor.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:49] And so then they smoke it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:29:51] Correct. They put it on a pipe, put in cigarettes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:53] Too much work. That seems like I'm drinking coffee over here thinking -- that would be a little bit too much at 7:00 AM.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:30:03] Well, you know what, cocaine is an upper. So it's going to make you, for a while, it's going to make you like go faster and better. I mean, you know, when I first started, you know, we thought it was like a party drug.s Something that you, when you got ready to party, you did.
[00:30:06] So why not go to work and have a party? You know, when you're at work. I mean, what better way to be at work when you're having fun? I mean, I wouldn't work a job that I'm not having fun.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:29] Yeah. I mean, I like to think a lot of people are like that. I think a lot of them are like, “Maybe I don't want to have to smoke crack though to make my job fun.” Maybe that’s an indicator that you should get another job.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:30:39] I agree.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:42] So all right, so you decided like, “Look, all right, if you don't have utensils, I'll just cook it. What? At my house and then I'll have it ready for you.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:30:47] Yeah, I have it ready for you. We started calling them ready rock. We got a ready rock. You know, we'd had the powder and the rocks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:52] Like instant oatmeal.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:30:54] Yes. It's ready rock. And then eventually, the rock cocaine took over the powder. They didn't want powder anymore. Nobody asked for powder. So, everybody stopped selling powder. Everybody in LA started selling rock and it just like, it really made the business easier because now you could be standing on the block and you could have an ounce of cocaine on a rock and then you just chip it off until the person was satisfied with what he was getting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:21] Wow. And you had a way it though, right? Or were you just eyeballing it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:31:24] You could eyeball it. I mean we’d eyeball it, you know, sometimes I'm wanting to get a little more, sometimes get a little less, but you know, once you do it so much, you get really, really good at it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:33] How long were you cooking and selling cocaine then the first go round? How did you scale your business up? How long was this going on? Because I assume you started with like in an apartment with a buddy or whatever -- small time.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:31:46] Yup. $125 a piece, we started with. Took a few months, you know, well basically what I did is I pulled all the money back into the business. You know, every time we made 5,000 bucks, I put it back in. I wanted to buy out more drugs, more drugs until we got our first ounce.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:03] How long did that take?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:32:04] That was hard. Getting your first ounce was really hard because we went through a lot of trials and tribulations, you know, giving stuff out on credit. When I first started, I didn't know that you don't let somebody who smoked cocaine hold your cocaine for you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:18] Oh yeah. Probably not. Like also what happened was, you gave me a bag and I was holding it and then I decided to have a look…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:32:26] But I got all your money. Let me tell you why I said, “Such and such credit, I gave him credit” and, you know, they would give credit because if they give them credit, they're going to get him a hit. So I gave him credit. He owes you 50 bucks, he owes you 100 bucks and now your whole 2,800 is counted for it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:41] Oh man. So he had to go and try to collect that and nobody had it.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:32:44] Yeah, nobody had it then they not going to pay. They go somewhere else. So that was one of my first lessons, you know -- that you don't let anybody who smoke hold your bag.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:53] Yeah. So that's where, “Never get high on your own supply came from” probably.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:32:59] Yeah. So, we went through that and I say about two months, you know, I was buying two ounces and then four ounces and then a pound and then 10 pounds and it just kept going and going.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:12] And where are you getting 10 pounds of cocaine from?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:33:15] Well, we start off with Mike, the guy who first introduced me. That's what we started off with. We weren't buying pounds from him. We were buying a sevenths and half ounces. But after I started rolling, I had a teacher that I used to hang out with -- Mr. Fisher. And when I started selling cocaine, I stopped hanging out with him. We stopped playing tennis and one day, I just went by to say I was doing pretty good, you know, at that time I probably had about $40,000-50,000.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:42] Where'd you keep your money?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:33:44] In shoe boxes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:45] In shoe boxes in the house?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:33:46] In my mom's house. Yeah. Well momma put me out. So I didn't know where my mom anymore. I was staying with a cousin, but I still kept my money at my mom's house because I felt it would be safety. She would allow me to come in and out the house. She just didn't want me to stay there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:58] And they’re like, “Just putting on a pair of shoes under the bed, no problems. Another pair of shoes.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:34:04] Yeah. So when I told him what I was doing, he told me to come by his house and then when I got there, he explained to me that he used to sell cocaine too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:12] The tennis coach?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:34:13] Not the tennis coach, the teacher. Yeah. And then he didn't get all the things that he had from being a teacher. Like this house didn't come from being a teacher, that Cadillac – no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:23] Because you're like, “I should just become a teacher. This looks like a pretty sweet kid. Wait a minute.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:34:27] This jewelry I got on -- no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:30] So he was moonlighting or he was done selling cocaine?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:34:33] He wasn't selling cocaine at that time. He had started to be a user and I believe that's probably why he wasn't in the business anymore. He had ran himself out of business from using up his product.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:45] Oh. And then he went, “Can't reload. Just going to end badly.” So he just became a teacher? That's interesting. Interesting career shift.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:34:53] Yeah. So, he introduced me to the first Nicaraguans that I met.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:58] Nicaraguans? Okay. Because looking at that now, that's a strange connection. I probably know two people from Nicaragua. They are not just walking around all over the place. Like you can meet a Mexican person in LA really easy -- El Salvador, no problem. It just seems like when you meet somebody from a country like that that's going through this, has a dictator going through that transition, that just had the ominous music it starts to play in the background, right? And the story at this point.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:35:26] Yeah. I mean, I didn't know what Nicaraguans were. I know about the war. I mean, you know, I'm just a young, dumb kid from South Central LA who's trying to make it. Who's trying to help his mom get out of her situation with her house and fixed the house up. And I had younger brothers and sisters who I was worried about, you know, and I just took it on myself to make sure that they was okay, that they ate.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:55] So you meet this Nicaraguan guy, and from your teacher and he's like, “Hey, I can get you a lot more of this or what?” I mean, how did that start?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:36:05] No, he just said that he had a connection for me. And I was like, “Wow, a connection, yeah. I am not going to go through Mike no more with all of his BS and waiting.” And so, when the guys came over, we looked at the stuff and it was the best cocaine we ever seen.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:21] What made it better?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:36:22] It was like already in little rocks, you know, chunky.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:24] Bricks of cocaine? Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:36:27] Yes. Straight off the brick.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:28] What is a kilo of a brick? Is it really like a brick like you see in the movies?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:36:32] Yeah, it kind of looks like this book right here, probably about the size of this book and uses like two slabs. Sometimes it'd be one slab this size, sometimes it's round.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:44] So it's almost like 8 ½ by 11, maybe a little bit smaller. I don't know what the dimensions of that book are.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:36:50] Yeah. And sometimes they had some that would make it round and sometimes it'd be wrapped in Rolex tape. Just different techniques that they use to smuggle it over.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:01] So you're picking up this thing for $45,000 that can fit pretty much in your hand? What were you thinking like if I held something like that, I think…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:37:10] The police would never catch me with this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:13] It's just a duct tape covered or plastic wrap covered brick of white powder, which most people probably haven't even seen at that point in their life. Because it wasn't in the movies and stuff back then.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:37:24] No, not like that. No. I never saw it like that before in the movies. No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:27] And it's also the most expensive thing that you can fit in your hand that cost that much money probably -- maybe a watch.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:37:32] Yeah, absolutely. At that time, they say cocaine was more expensive than gold.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:35] Yeah, I believe that. Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:37:38] Because you figure, at that time an ounce of cocaine, now I was buying a kilo for 45 but if I was buying ounces, they will probably be like 3,200 an ounce. So if you do that, times 36, a kilo probably, you know, when you break it down, I probably was making about 55,000 off of a kilo.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:59] Off of one kilo? And how long did it take to distribute that kilo?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:38:03] At different times. When I first started, it might take a week, you know, and then it would go to two days, and then one day, and then two kilos a day and then 10 kilos a day. And it just, you know, kept escalating and escalating and escalating.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:18] How much money are we talking about here? When you're going through two kilos a day, what is your gross and like, what are you netting from that? Like what's the total that you're spending on that and what's your profit?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:38:28] I'm spending about $85,000-90,000, you know, in two kilos one day. And I'm probably going to make close to a hundred profit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:38] And that's a lot of shoe boxes to keep the money in. So at some point, that shoe box…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:38:41] Yeah, the shoe box was overran. I got a safe put in my mom's house and it was overran as well.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:49] Sure. I mean, unless you can walk into that safe, you can't fill it up.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:38:53] And the first time, when you read the book, you know -- I brought you a book, so I think you should read the book. And you'll see the first time that my mom found out I've been stashing money in her house, I had a pile of money up on the dirty clothes because the shoe boxes wouldn't work anymore. So I had a big pile of dirty clothes and I would pile it up and put my money up on him and I come back and my mom is sitting on the couch and I'm looking, I'm like…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:16] She's like, “One, your clothes are clean. And two, where did all these money come from?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:39:20] It was a hundred grand and I never counted all my money at one time. So…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:25] But she counted?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:39:28] Yeah, she counted it. She started crying. Begging me to get out, “Get out now! Can you get out?” You know, because she believed that the mafia controlled it and then, you know, once you get into a mob, you can't get out.
[00:39:45] You know, she's kind of like the old TV stuffs, you know, but I was like, “Mom, I'm the mob.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:50] Yeah. What did she think about that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:39:53] I didn't tell her that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:54] Okay. I was like, that would not be a good…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:39:59] No, I didn’t tell my mom. As I felt though I was like, “Mom, I’m the mob. I run this whole area over here, it’s all mine. This is my territory.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:08] Who were the other people that had other territory around you at this point?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:40:13] At that time, man, it was kind of like, I have to run into the land at that time, you know. Later on people started, you know, to call me and started coming in directly to South Central LA. But at that time, it was all me, you know, I could set the prices and it was crazy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:29] So this is a new drug, there's nothing like it. How much cocaine, two kilos a day, so I mean, that's a lot of…
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:40:36] Like $200,000 will go to my hands that day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:40] That's crazy. You must've been worried about security at that point?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:40:44] No, nobody knew me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:46] Nobody knew you? Even though you had that much money going through.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:40:49] I did. But you know, at that time there wasn't cameras on everybody's phone and so they wasn't taking pictures and show your picture around. So really the only people who knew that I was a drug dealer were people who actually were selling drugs with me. And I discovered the low-keyness, you know. Don't dress like a drug dealer, you know, don't look like a drug dealer. Don't drive cars that drug dealers drive.
[00:41:15] So, I didn't fit that stereotype. So people really didn't know what I look like. They just knew the myth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:23] So they expected you in like a big Cadillac with fancy rims or something like that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:41:26] Yeah. Like everybody was driving Cadillac with the white wall tires with the gold leaf through them. The vogue, tires, and they had the big suits. And I wanted it at one time, I wanted the Superfly car, you know, after I walked out the dead and saw a Superfly, but then I started to think about it and I was like, what's the best move to make? Should you be Superfly or should you be discreet and get the money? So I said that I wanted the money?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:54] So what did you drive instead?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:41:56] Anything -- Buckets, Novas, Buicks, Volkswagens, anything that I felt was inconspicuous and I kind of had learned from stealing cars, you know, how to avoid the police and stuff. They kind of taught me how to do that and what the police look for and things like, if I was driving my lowrider, they always pull my little rider over. You know, I'm coming down with the car bouncing up and down in a way. So I would never drive that during a drug deal -- that would only be on the weekends.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:27] So you took the weekends off?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:42:30] Nope.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:31] I was correct so that makes sense.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:42:32] I make too much money to take a day’s off. How can you take off when you’re making that kind of money?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:36] If you're making a hundred grand profit a day, I don't know if I would be, I would at least work half days. I would've definitely, I don't think I could just be like, “Don't call me on the weekend.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:42:44] I took very, very few days off. I mean, I fell in love with my job. You know, it's like, “Yeah, everything goes better with Coke”, you know? And that's how I felt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:52] Is that a slogan from Coca-Cola that you just adopted? From a line that I haven't heard from the 70s? Oh man.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:43:01] Yeah. So I took very few days off. I mean, I felt when I was still in prison and then I was looking back at my life, I was almost like an addict, you know. It's like I got to have it every single day. Every day I got to get my fix.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:17] The business fix?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:43:18] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:19] Because you didn't do the drug, did you?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:43:20] I did it for a short time, like a couple, maybe a week, week and a half. And you know, it made me sick.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:27] Oh really? Just like allergic to it or something or what?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:43:30] No, just having too much of it to do and never doing drugs, you know, never been. Never drinking alcohol, never smoking weed, no cigarettes. And then to go from zero to 60. Yeah. it's like, you went real fast.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:45] Yeah. That escalates quickly. So how did your organization look? How many people were working with you and like how many people are underneath you, and working on that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:43:55] We started with just me and Ali, you know, that was my partner and then we hired our first employee was Johnny Mumbles.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:02] Johnny Mumbles?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:44:04] Yeah. One of the homies from the hood who, you know, he started wanting to get out before everybody else and then eventually it went to the whole click. And you know, everybody that we hung out with, our little hood. We weren’t a gang, but we were a group of guys that stuck together. You know, we stayed in our little pocket and we would rival whoever, you know. If somebody came into our neighborhood and we wanted to do something to one of us, then you know, we would deal with it.
[00:44:29] So, we had our little click, so we went from there, probably 40, 50 of us, and that became my crew.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:36] And who's distributing this because if you're making that much money, that's a lot of people buy in $10, $20, $50 bags.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:44:46] Well, everybody was distributing. I mean, we had multiple houses, multiple streets. And then, you know, people started coming from out of town, you know, from different cities -- Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati -- they just started coming. They started hearing about it. And you know, people wanted to come to LA and get their fix and you know, get their price and they would take it back to their cities and sell it. \
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:13] A lot of people are thinking, alright, you know, I think you made up around a billion dollars in the 80s in LA? That's what I heard in the documentary. Does that sound right?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:45:23] No, I don't know. You know, the prosecutor said for two years, I made like $600 million. He said, not profit for me, but money that went through my hands. And what you figured that was only two years. And before I started making a million every day, I was making 500 every day. Before we'd make a 500, we made 400. Before we’d make four, we made two. Before we’re making two, we made a hundred.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:46] So you scaled up to a million dollars a day?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:45:48] Yeah. I had days that I went through $3 million in one day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:53] How are you even counting that much money?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:45:55] We have money counters and we have a team of girls that they sit there and they count money all day. You know, you have a house and this house would have like a slot in the door, and people would just come in and drop duffle bags through the door.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:08] Wow. So the distributor, I don't know, what is it like a regional manager or some type of guy comes in with a duffle bag full of money, drops it through the slot in the door?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:46:17] That was customers, there wasn't really managers. They were customers.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:20] Okay. But not individual users for the duffle bag full of money? Because if you're buying a duffle bag full of cash with the drugs, you’re not using it yourself.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:46:27] No, no. These guys are not using it. Everybody had started to get here, but at that time not to use, and I really preached not to use, you know. I used to tell everybody, “Don't use, don't use, you should be a seller.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:38] It's like a multilevel marketing. “Don't use the product. Just sell the products to other people. Resell the product.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:46:43] And eventually, you know, guys started to catch on, you know, and stopped using and started to sell it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:52] Why do you hire women? You said you have a group of girls counting the money. Why did you hire girls to do it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:46:56] Well, a guy that didn't use? He wouldn't be sitting in the house, count money all day. You know, he's going to be out making money, you know. Most women, they don't look at it the same. I mean, even though there was a few women who really got money doing it, but most of them didn't. And, I just feel more comfortable and the women that I use, I grew up with them. They were like my homegirls, so I trusted them too. You know, because there had to be a lot of trust. Even though every now and then, they would get heavy handed too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:28] Yeah. Like, “Hey, where'd you get that nice new Cadillac?” “Why am I missing $60,000?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:47:37] No, but you know, when they started doing it, because I told the guys, I said, “I don't take ones anymore.” So I told the guys, “If you bring ones, I don't count them.” And so they kept bringing me ones, you know, like $30-$40,000 in one day -- in $1 bills. So the girls are like, “Oh well, Rick don't count the ones, so damn any ways”. So they started taking the ones.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:56] So they're like, “I need this duffle bag real quick to bring 80,000 one dollar bills back home. And stash in my basement.” You didn't want to count the ones because it's a waste of your time?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:48:06] And it was too many, you know. The connections didn't want them. It's too bulky. And they were just a headache, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:13] It’s like pennies now. You can’t buy anything with it.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:48:15] Right. I had $1 bills stacked up. I mean, one time, we had a closet that was like three or four feet high with $1 bills, you know, just one dollar bills just piled up, you know. And it's like, “What are we going to do with them?” You know, “The police going to come and take them”, you know, it's just that liability. It was a liability. So we didn't want the ones.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:34] So you basically were able to pay the women a tip in all of those ones or they just took it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:48:40] We paid everything. We bought gas with ones, I mean we go out and eat in one dollar bills, you know. We'd be at a restaurant, paying at ones and they'd probably be looking at us crazy. But we had to get rid of them. You know, it was just like a burden moving them around. We had them in garages. I know somebody find out we had like $60-70,000 in a garage and they cut the whole back of the garage often and went in the garage and got the ones out. So they were just, you know, it was just a problem. And I didn't want to be having no $30,000 worth of ones every single day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:10] Sure. So a lot of people are probably thinking, if you're making $1 million a day, why the hell did you not just quit while you were ahead?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:49:19] Well, you know, and it got so easy that it’s hard to quit. You know, you're like, you're not really doing anything but telling other people what to do. And, it was too easy, you know? And, I was thinking like, “They can't catch me unless they find me with some drugs.” I wasn't hip to conspiracy to the conspiracy laws. I wasn't even aware when they changed the crack law, you know, we didn't watch the news. You know, we didn't pay attention to what was going on in Washington DC and all that stuff. Just like that stuff had no relevance to me, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:53] How do you stay ahead of the cops the whole time? I mean, because somebody must've been calling them or there must've been some informants, there must've been some rivals. How'd you stay ahead of the cops?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:48:4050:02] Well, you know, when I still in prison and I analyze the cops, because, you know, I'm thankful that they turn out to be corrupt and crooked. Otherwise, I'd be doing the rest of my life in prison right now. But they were lazy too, you know, not only were they corrupt and crooked won’t steal and lie and write fake search warrants, but they were lazy too. They didn't want to do their job. All they wanted was the money. I mean, they were just like us. You know, they were drug dealers really. They had flipped, you know, they had went from when they went in and swore to protect and to serve to “we're going to serve ourselves”, you know, we're going to get this money.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:43] So, they would come after you and you would just give them, you just tip them off or what? How did that work?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:50:50] Oh, no, not like that. They weren't corrupt like they were on the payroll or nothing like that. Know what they were doing was they would catch you, break in your house with the [indiscernible][0:51:00], come in and steal all your money and take you to jail, and then lie about how they did it. You know, like the search warrant might not be a good search warrant. They might've didn't go and get the judge to sign it. They might've just signed a judge's name on it and then they would take you to court and put you in prison -- on lies. You know, in my case, they said that they saw me carrying a bag or drugs in it and I throw the bag and it was a lie. I didn't have drugs, you know, I didn't even carry drugs at that time myself. And it was interesting when we went to court and the judge had kind of like, you scold him about how brilliant they said I was, you know, I was so brilliant. I put together this great organization and then they turn right back around and tell the judge I was carrying the bag with the drugs and the pistol. And the judge was like, “Hold up, this same guy that you saying had all these guys working for him and he's walking with 30 or 40 guys and nobody has drugs with him.” And then the judge told them, “Keep going. I hear some more.” And then the guy tried to explain to the judge that I went crazy and lost my mind.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:08] Right. But you were still able to run this big organization, even though you were crazy and lost your mind, and were totally careless. So he didn't buy that or she didn't buy that?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:52:18] Well, he didn't throw it out then. What had happened is, I was in jail at that time and I turned myself in to the judge because I didn't want to have any contact with the police. Because they told people they were going to kill me. So when I did that, the cop wasn't supposed to come and see me and they came down to the County jail without telling my lawyer, without asking the judge, and took me back in a little room.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:46] And then what?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:52:47] Well, when the judge found out about it, he was like furious, you know, that they did that. And he wanted to tape to what they had been talking to me and interviewing me. And the cops had incriminated themselves on the tape. So what they did is they cut the stuff out of the tape.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:08] So they edited the tape?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:09] They edited the tape.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:10] But you could tell when that happens because it just goes -- blip. Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:14] Yeah. So we had an expert to come in and he told the judge said it had been edited and so forth. And the judge let me out of jail immediately.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:21] Sure. Yeah. Wow. That's very corrupt to see that they edited the tape, because I remember in law school, it was called fruit of the poisonous tree. You can't use that in court.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:32] Oh, you went to law school?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:34] Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:35] Okay. Yeah, I did it too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:36] Did you?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:37] In jail.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:38] Yeah. I was just going to say, you probably know a lot more about this stuff than I do, that's for sure. I want to talk about the prison stuff in a little bit here, but I'm wondering, do you ever think like, “Wow, what I was doing really screwed up the area where I grew up?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:53:51] Absolutely. I see the devastation right now. Basically, it uprooted the black community because we used to own South Central LA and now, we're homeless in South Central LA. I see the cardboard boxes with so many of us living in them. I know that then I played a big part in helping that take place. Not intentionally, but it eventually happened. So you know, I'm coming up with ways to help reverse, you know, what I did. When I was in prison, I studied hard. I read over 300 books, taught myself how to read and write.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:37] How did you teach yourself how to read and write in prison?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:54:40] Well, cue cards.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:41] Like flash cards? You're showing yourself the letters?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:54:43] ABC's. Taught myself the ABCs, me and my “cellie”. My “cellie” is my roommate in a bunk bed so you have a guy in the bottom, a guy on the top and me and him sit down and he showed me how to sign out my words. In a couple of weeks, I was reading. Start off reading the newspaper, then I read law books, my indictment.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:04] You started reading your indictment? That's a big step from ABC – Singing your ABC’s to being like, “Let me read this indictment.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:55:12] Well, you know what? The indictment was probably the first time that I ever wanted to know what was on a piece of paper.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:17] Oh yeah. You pried, desperately wanted to know what was written in there, huh?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:55:20] Yeah. You know what [00:55:21] [indiscernible] it to him and he was like, “Yeah, this will tell you everything you want to know about what's going on with your case.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:27] And you're like, “Oh, man.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:55:28] Yeah, I wanted to know what that says. So I go in, I tell my “cellie”. I was like, “Man, you got to read my indictment to me.” And he was like, “Stop it. Read your own indictment.” And you know, I had to convince him that I couldn't read and then he convinced me that I could. And that's how it started.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:45] So, you studied this and you start to read the indictment. So you learn how to read and you said, in a few weeks. Did you ever think, “Man, if I'd spent this few weeks over one summer, I could've gone to college and played tennis?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:55:57] Absolutely. Not just that, you know, with my mind and my work ethic, there's no telling what I could have did. Well, because you know, when I look back on my life, I know and I've never failed. You know, everything that I've ever went after, I've always accomplish it. Even with going to prison, you know, I knew I was going to prison. You know, when I used to sell drugs, I knew that I was going to prison.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:21] Eventually, you thought, “I'm going to get caught at some point.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:56:23] Yeah, I'm going to prison. You know, I just asked my girlfriends, you know like, “What you going to do when I go to prison? You going to come see me? You're going to visit me? You going to send me packages?” Because you know, I'd heard the stories about what you need when you’re in jail. So I want to know, you know, “Hey, you live in the high life right here with me. Then I going to get you though.” Because you're not selling drugs, but you live like a drug dealer, you know. You getting all the benefits, all the perks. And, so when I sit back in prison and I started writing my book, I was knowing that in order for me to ask her that question, I knew I was going to prison.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:01] Yeah. Wow. And how did you plan for that? Because I would imagine there's no shoe box with 85 grand buried in your mom's backyard.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:57:11] No, I never planned. You know what everybody told me when I was coming up was to buy real estate. And so that's what I did. I bought real estate. And I had money when I went to prison. I had a little money still when I went to prison, but property wasn't being managed by the proper people. And my family just didn't have the background to hold together an enterprise. You know, they had never been schooled and they didn't have the desire, you know, it was my dream to be wealthy. It wasn't necessarily their dreams and it could've been a wish for them to be wealthy, you know, because there's a difference between a wish and a burning desire.
[00:57:54] You know, a wish is something that people do --most people do. You know, “Oh, I wish I could do this”, but they never take the steps to accomplish that. And what I found out is that I don't have a problem taking those steps, you know, even if it's not perfect, if I'm not really ready to take those steps, I'll still go out on a limb and take a chance when most people won't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:18] You said, I think this is in the documentary: Drugs become a crutch for the dealer as much as for the user. What does that mean?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:58:24] Well, anytime something goes wrong, you want to sell drugs. You know, selling drugs and make it better. Your rent due? Oh, I just go out and sell drugs and get the rent. I need a car? I'll just go sell drugs and get the car. I need to help my family? I'll just go sell drugs because America is kind of a hypocrite.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:44] What do you mean?
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:58:45] Well, we say we don't like drug dealers on the surface. You know, nobody likes drug dealers on the surface.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:53] Right. But then the most popular rap artists, there’s Tupac, Biggie -- I don't even know who else now. My rap education stopped in 1988.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:59:01] How many people when you go in their house, and the picture they got on the wall – Scarface?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:06] Oh yeah, sure.
Freeway Rick Ross: [00:59:07] You know, you can go in almost anybody's house and they got a picture of Scarface on the wall. I mean, who don't like Scarface? Who didn't watch it? So that tells you right there that there is a love for that lifestyle and they promote that lifestyle, but then they punish the people who really get involved and then they look at them differently. I mean, even if you turn on the radio right now, every song that comes on got something about drugs in it. You know, selling drugs, being a drug dealer, wanting to be a drug dealer. So in actuality, this is a message that's telling a normal person or a kid or somebody who's understanding is not totally solid. I mean, even some people who are, because these cops, you know, probably went to college and was college-educated and they fell into the drug, even though they didn't. And some of them did actually sell drugs, so they would take drugs and plant them on different people. So they were still using the drugs as a two because I only used cocaine as a tool.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:11] A means to an end? Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:00:13] A means to an end. Yes. So, it wasn't like I went out and I invented cocaine or I was trying to destroy my neighborhood. It was just there and it was a tool and I used it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:25] So you could've sold CDs and you would've had, I mean, it wouldn't have been as easy to sell CDs for sure. But you could done any…
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:00:33] Maybe easier. It could have been easier.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:35] Who knows. Probably not $2 million a day with the CDs though. But who knows? I don't know.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:00:39] Sam Walton did it, or Walmart. I mean, you know, Nike did. It would feel nice just doing it with Nike. You know, Bill Gates is doing it with Microsoft. I mean, I read all these books because I wanted to know the similarities to business. You know, I didn't understand business. Nobody ever taught me business. My mom didn't know business. I didn't have any uncles who knew business. So everything that I learned, I learned from the streets. So I wanted to know what was the difference between real business and the cocaine business.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:13] And what did you find?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:01:14] There's none. They're both almost identical. You know, if you do the same things and in legitimate business, maybe easier in some ways because if you ever told Bill Gates that he would be going to prison if he kept Microsoft open, he’s at the doors tomorrow, he'd walk away. I knew I was going to prison. I knew that somebody could kill me every day. And I got up, you know, I was like, “Why don't you get up and put on a bulletproof vest in the morning? But why was you carrying a pistol?” Because I knew that somebody might be wanting to take my drugs.
[01:01:58] And they will be willing to kill me. And I had made a decision that if somebody tried to kill me, then I would kill them. So I was willing to put everything on the line, which I found out later on in life that there are certain things that we should never put on the line. And then after I got even deeper, I looked at it like I was putting my whole family on the line, you know, my little brothers, when I brought them in, when I got them off of drugs and brought them into my organization, they carry guns and they were willing to pretty much do whatever was necessary to keep it functioning.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:34] There's a lot of it in the story that I feel like you can't make this stuff up. You got your drugs from Nicaragua, the CIA was moving the drugs to you. Can tell us about that whole connection? When I saw that, I was like, “Wait a minute, what?”
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:02:46] Well, you know, I didn't know anything about the CIA then. Like I said, I didn't even know Danilo was from Nicaragua.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:52] Yeah. Your connection, Danilo Blandon, you didn't even know?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:02:57] No, when I first started, I thought he was Spanish. You know, he looks like a Mexican. I thought he was Mexican. And then later on, I started to find out that they were from a country called Nicaragua. And they were involved in a war, you know. “Okay, okay, fine. I understand. I'm in a war too.” I'm in a war here in South Central LA. You know, we warn the police still making a sit on the ground, hitting us in the head with flashlights. So we had war too. I can go along with that. So it wasn't until sitting in courtroom that all this stuff started to like come to light. And, my lawyer was contacted by this report and then Gary Webb, he wrote a book called Dark Alliance. Then I’m one of the featured characters and Gary was telling us that it was more to the story than we knew and I felt, “Oh yeah, well maybe more corrupt cops. Great news.”
[01:03:54] So I'm thinking that this is going to be a continuation. Well anyway, Gary published a story called Dark Alliance in the San Jose Mercury news and the next day, it's like Bill Clinton did an article and my name is in the article. I'm like, “The President of the United States mentioned your name and the CIA director mentions your name.” And in that article Gary talked about the gang - CIA connection, saying that he had made a link between the CIA and the gangs of South Central LA.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:26] This is an investigative reporter. You had a pretty good reputation.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:04:30] A great reputation, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, an all around good guy.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:34] Yeah. He won the Pulitzer Prize, for I think, was it for this story?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:04:38] Was it this one? I don't know.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:39] I don't know either. I got to check.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:04:41] Well, you know, a lot of this stuff, you know, he got crucified for writing this story, but later on they find out that a lot of things that he had said in the paper were accurate. You know, people will try to twist the story all kinds of ways. You know, people came to me and was saying stuff like, “Oh, so you think the CIA deliberately put cocaine in the black community?” And I was like, “I never said that. Gary never said that.” But it was just different things that they were trying to attack him on. You know? And I believe what he said is that, “The CIA didn't care where they got the money from. They just needed the money to fight the war. If it came from the black community, the white community, they didn't care. They just wanted the money.” But we also know at the same time that the people in the White House really don't care about the black community. You know, they don't really care what happens over there. So if the undesirables get hold of cocaine and it affects their community, so be it.
[01:05:37] And that's why so many young black men are locked up right now today for selling drugs.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:41] There's an interesting, I don't know if it's irony, you are illiterate until how old were you when you went to prison? 28?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:05:48] 28.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:49] And then you learn to read with the flashcards. You learn to read some books. You read your indictment. That's kind of what got you out of prison though.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:05:57] It is. Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:58] How did that happen?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:05:59] Well, you know, I started studying the law the way I sold drugs. I sold drugs all day, all night -- that became my passion. You know, when other people would be at football games and watching basketball and football on TV, I would be out on the block selling drugs. So in jail, when they would be watching football and basketball, I would be sitting in my cell reading over my indictment, law books. Even when I couldn't have any law books in my cell, I would make copies, for the weekend of case laws. So that I could sit there and study the case law. One of the things the guy told me is that nobody should know more about my case than I knew about my case. And, I wanted to make that a point. So one day, I was just reading a book and then it just like popped out and it was like, continuous criminal spree is different than a career criminal. You know, a continuous criminal spree is a person that's and basically the way I explained it to my lawyer is say for instance, if a guy said his son needed an operation and he needs $100,000 and he wakes up one morning and he knows that this block makes 100,000 in one day.
[01:07:09] And he says, “You know what, I'm going to go invest $300 today and I'm going to make that hundred thousand today.” Well, say the cops come up and they’re observing him and they see him make a hundred sales. He's not a career criminal.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:25] He just had one continuous criminal spree.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:07:28] Exactly. And it don't matter what city you in, what state you in, it's still a continuous criminal spree because you could jump on a plane in one day and be in Arizona, you can make a sale in Arizona and you get on another plane and be in Cincinnati, make another sale. So, I had to explain to them because they thought in my case where it was different was because mine was different states, you know. My convictions came from different States.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:51] So that changed your sentencing guidelines?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:07:53] Correct.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:54] Interesting.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:07:55] So I still got sentenced but it wasn't the life sentence without the possibility of parole because it was a continuous criminal spree and not three strikes.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:05] Wow. Okay. That's interesting. You read a lot in prison, other than your indictment, did anything stick out? Like what books would you recommend that you picked up in prison?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:08:13] Well, my favorite books and the books that I build my principles on, and one of the reasons I did is because I saw myself in all these books. My favorite three books: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Classon, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. And those books really like opened my eyes and really showed me who I am and what I could be, that really I'm unstoppable because I don't have any, you know, strings attached to me. You know, I don't allow people to be able to control me, per say, you know, have things that I want or that I desire.
[01:08:57] I don't really desire anything. It's like, I'm in a state of almost being surreal, you know, it's like, I just love the position that I'm in. I'm just like overjoyed, and probably because, you know, I'm going to prison and losing my life. Most people don't get to lose their life and then get it back.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:19] Right. Yeah, that's true. You came out of the abyss.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:09:24] Yeah. So now, it's like when I was in jail, you know, you get to spend $300 a month, you only go to the store once a week. You know, you have to watch on TV what everybody else watches. You can go to the library when you want to. So now, to be out in the world and to be able to pretty much do whatever I want to do and nobody can say nothing to me, it's like almost like unreal.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:48] What was the first thing you did when you got out of jail? Where you like, “I got to get to Taco Bell” or were you like, “I miss my mom's cooking.” Like what was the first thing?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:9:54] No, you can eat anything you want in jail if you got your own money -- and I have money in jail. I ran a store. I was the lender.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:02] Of course, you had a business in jail. Why would you not have it?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:10:05] Absolutely. I did credit repair over the telephone through the mail. Yeah. I was doing credit repair, so I have money in jail. I was getting about $800 a month from the street and not from my family.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:17] So if you're at home and you're thinking I can't, I don't know how to start my own business. Just remember that there was a guy in prison earning $800 a month -- from jail with no cell phone, no internet.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:10:28] Oh yeah. I used to say, “When they give me a three-way phone, Oh it's on and popping, I'm going to kill them with a three-way phone.” That's all I needed with the three-way phone because one of my problems I used to have, because I was doing music from jail too, you know. I was in a cell with Harry O when they started Death Row Records. So I was kind of like, “Man, Harry O did that from jail?” So I wanted to start a new record label. So one of the things I used to say is, “They give me a three-way phone…”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:51] What's a three-way phone?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:10:53] A three-way phone call? You know, you can put two people on the phone because you know in jail, what I would do is I would call people and they would say, “Oh yeah, I'll take care of that.” And then when you call him back, “Man, I couldn't catch that cat and he didn't answer his phone.” So if they don't answer the phone, they don't get together, I can't get my commission. So I'll be saying man, and in jail, if somebody puts you on a three-way and then you lose your phone privileges because they can hear one of the conversations. So the geo doesn't like us to make three-way phone calls. So, I just said, “Man, all I need is a three-way phone call”, and in there you only get 300 minutes a month too. So it was kind of handicapping. But you know, I made it work.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:32] You're still able to make that work even with those limitations because there are people right now that have internet, smartphone, their parents are paying for their rent and they live with friends or something that like, “I just can't make it happen. I can't make it happen.”
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:11:43] Well, you know, most people want everything to be perfect, you know, and I've learned that you have to start with nothing. You know, like with my t-shirt business, I started with $300, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:54] A kilo of t-shirts unfortunately does not go for the same rate.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:11:57] No, but you know, I didn't get a kilo with my first cocaine, you know. My first cocaine, I started with three grams and part of that was magnite..
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:08] Yeah. We'll link to those books by the way in the show notes. Rarely do we get a chance to talk to somebody who had the time to read all day, every day for years on end. So those are pretty good recommendations, I would imagine.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:12:19] No doubt. You all better get those books. Especially if you're having financial problems or you're not enjoying life, those books are like medicine.
Jordan Harbinger [01:12:29] What do you think about the 20 years lost as a result of selling drugs? You know, if you had to do it all over again, I assume you wouldn't sell drugs, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:12:39] Well, you know what, people asked me, how do I feel about it?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:44] Yeah, do you regret it and all that stuff?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:12:46] Yeah. And, you know what, it’s no regrets, only lessons. You know, because I learned from all of that. I mean, the time that I spent in prison, I wouldn't give it back if I could. At that time, I mean, everybody don't get to go to prison, you know, it's an experience. I mean, you know, fortunately maybe, fortunately not, you know, because, I learned a lot from being in prison. I learned a lot of my people. I learned a lot about myself. It was another experience that people were not going to get to do, you know, like everybody can't go to the moon. So the people who go to the moon, you can say, “Oh, he was trapped in a little tiny seal for however many months, you know, but how did he feel about that?” You know, it's all about how you look at it, you know? I mean, Senator John McCain who just passed, I read a book on him when he was a POW and how he looked at it.
[01:13:42] He looked at it as if when he was a POW, he was there for his whole country. So it wasn't about just him. When I was in prison, I was there for my family, you know, so that my family can do better. So it wasn't just about me. So I felt that I could sacrifice myself so that my family could have a better life. I was willing to do that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:00] Are you ever tempted to go back because of the insane amounts of money that… not to prison, to cocaine? Yeah.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:14:06] Got no money in cocaine.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:08] No? Too saturated money now?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:14:09] More money on marijuana. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:11] Yeah? That's true. There's probably more money on weed now. For sure. So the legacy that you want to leave behind, what do you want to do? What do you want to do now that you're out, that you're done, you're clean out of that whole thing?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:14:22] Well, one of the things that I'm really working on right now, I'm starting a millionaire's club where we plan on teaching 250 people how to become millionaires, and just basically teach people how to be entrepreneurs. You know, that you don't have to sit around and wait on a rich uncle, rich auntie to come along or a LeBron James to come up and give you some money that you can get out and start on your own. You can start with nothing. You know, when I got out of prison, I only had a few dollars to start with and I came home to some burdens. You know, my mom was losing her house when I got home and it wasn't easy to know that your mom is going to be homeless. You know, I was there when the Marshalls knocked on the door and told us that we had a couple of hours to get all of our stuff out the house. So I have to deal with that fresh out of prison, it’s not easy. But you know who said life was supposed to be easy?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:11] Thank you so much, man. Is there anything I haven't asked you that you want to make sure that you get on record?
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:15:15] Well, you did pretty good. Be low on the lookout. We're going to be shooting our movie, my movie in probably January, February. Make sure you get the book.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:24] Yeah. We'll link to that in the show notes too.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:15:27] Yeah, I need the book. I'm trying to hit 100,000 copies. You know, I self-published my book.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:33] Yeah. You get a bigger cut that way.
Freeway Rick Ross: [01:15:35] Yes. Well that's about it. You know, I'm just out here pushing them in trying to make the world a better place.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:44] This episode was a lot of fun. His team was so professional. His story was so interesting and he really was just not trying to front at all. He really just told it like it was. I really enjoyed this interview. Great big thank you to Freeway Ricky Ross. We'll link to his website and resources in the show notes as well. And if you want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships with show guests and other entrepreneurs and other business owners, I use systems and tiny habits. I don't procrastinate. I do it now because I know I need to dig the well before I get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you are way too late. One of the reasons The Jordan Harbinger Show kicked off so quickly is because of my relationships. That is the primary reason, in fact, and I want to teach you how I do that for free.
[01:16:28] I've got a course called Six-Minute Networking. Again, not one of those like, “Enter your credit card.” I don't do that. Go to jordanharbinger.com/course and check it out. These drills are designed to take just a few minutes a day. It's the stuff I wish I knew a decade ago. It is not fluff, and you can find it at jordanharbinger.com/course. And speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway from Freeway Ricky Ross. I'm @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. This show is produced in association with PodcastOne, and this episode is co-produced by Jason “Underpass” DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes are by Robert Fogarty. Worksheets by Caleb Bacon. And I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which is hopefully in every single episode. So please do share the show with those you love and even those you don't. Lots more in the pipeline. Very excited to bring it to you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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