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From stealing the show in other people's videos to going shirtless just about everywhere, Ricky Rozay managed to quiet the haters in 2011, by overcoming health issues and building grand anticipation for his latest album, all while coining one or two of the calendar's biggest catchphrases. Click through our slideshow as we chronicle the year that was for The Bossest of them all, Rick Ross.
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Jan. 27: Hijacking Kanye for the "Devil in a New Dress" Video
Rick Ross kicks off the new year with a video for "Devil in a New Dress"—an odd choice, considering technically speaking, the song is Kanye West's, not his. The video features a typically decked-out Rozay cruising in the back of his car, nodding approvingly of the city as it passes out his window. Kanye does not make an appearance, though the two eventually hook up for the proper (and damn creepy) video to 'Yeezy's "Monster."
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March 25: Busted!
Everyday he's hustling? Ross was put on warning in March when arrested for marijuana possession in Shreveport, LA. Police initially responded to a "strong odor" coming from Rozay's hotel room, finding an ounce of marijuana in plain sight upon investigation. He was later released on misdemeanor charges. One benefit of this mugshot? A rare look at Rozay sans shades.
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April 5: Rick Ross and Meek Mill Break Out the Voodoo Kit for "Tupac Back"
Ross teamed up with his new Maybach Music artist Meek Mill for "Tupac Back" in the spring, honoring the late artist with allusions to "Picture Me Rollin" and inspiring future remixes "Reebok Back" with Swizz Beatz and "Snapbacks Back" by Chris Brown and Tyga, both more concerned about boasting fashion statements than engaging in Greatest Rapper There Ever Was-related arguments. We still believe "Football Back" was a missed opportunity. Remember the shirtlessness in this video.
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May 20: Gets on DJ Khaled's "I'm On One" with Drake and Wayne
Ross joined Drake and Lil Wayne on fellow Miami native DJ Khaled's summer hit "I'm On One," thus giving more opportunity for his melodic grunts to be associating with pink and purple partying as well as be heard by a larger audience.
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May 23: Pats Label on the Back with "MMG Presents: Self Made Vol. 1"
After starting the year off with some big signings—Wale, Meek Mill, Pill—Rozay's Maybach Music Group released the studio collaboration album MMG Presents: Self Made Vol. 1 to show everyone just had stacked his label had become. Like Rocafella and Young Money before them, the disc features Maybach's impressive roster, marked by established hits like "Tupac Back" and "Ima Boss," as well as appearances by non-label guests like J. Cole and Jeremih.
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May 24: Shirtlessness Reigns Supreme
Bringing his tendency to forget his shirt during live shows and music videos straight to your local newsstand, Ross graced the cover of Vibe in June, tattoos and pectoral muscles on full display. This marked the official start of summer, a season that would go on to celebrate the beauty of the man boob.
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June 26: Long-Overdue Love From The BET Awards
Ross received his first BET Award nomination for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist this year, and celebrated with a performance of "I'm On One" with DJ Khaled and Co. at the annual award show. He may have lost out to Kanye West, but his rendition of the song worked to further ingratiate Rozay with the playlists of partygoers everywhere.
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Sept. 7: Choice Words For Kreayshawn
Rap beefs come with the territory of ego-infused verses and repeated declarations about how great an artist is, by said artist. But it was a bold move for newcomer Kreayshawn to use her "less than stellar" freestyle as an opportunity to take a hit on Mr. MMG himself ("You tryin' to play me like a boss? You faker than Rick Ross"). While she failed to see her words as insulting, they were enough to inspire the greatest comeback line of Rozay's career, and possible the 21st century: "You better know who the fuck you talking about. I'll pay 50K to mess up your whole week."
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Sept. 20: The "I Keep Myself in S*** Like This" GQ Interview
RR's year of high-profile press continued with an October profile in GQ. Thanks to writer Devin Friedman, readers were fortunate enough to learn more about Ross and his love for Rosé and Egypt, as well as his thoughts on disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Diamond watches and clouds of marijuana abound, but perhaps the Rozay lifestyle is best understood through this quote: “I may come down here to record ten records over two or three days…I just have my homeys or whatever bringing me the best food. I smoke the best weed. I get the best massages…I keep myself in shit like this.”
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Oct. 5: Ross Salutes His Bitches and Himself with New Songs
While not delivering hard-to-repeat quotes, Ross begins building anticipation for his new album God Forgives, I Don't with new music. "You The Boss," featuring Nicki Minaj, reasserts his status as head honcho in the MMG offices and elsewhere, while "I Love My Bitches" pays tribute to the females in his life, and boats one heck of a breakfast routine.
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Oct. 11: Maybach Music Reps to the Fullest in BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher
The most-talked about aspect the morning after October's BET Hip-Hop Awards were the group rap cyphers, performed by both established veterans like Ludacris and Eminem and up-and-comers Kendrick Lamar and Kevin McCall, leaving envious teenage pop stars watching from home. Maybach Music Group's cypher was particularly fierce, but while Rozay's rhymes may not have beat those of Em or Yelawolf, his act as group cheerleader, enthusiastically nodding and bobbing in the background did not go unnoticed.
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Feb. 22: Mingles With The "Real Housewives Of Miami"
Adding to the spectrum of acceptable hip-hop side projects and broadening his notoriety all the way to Midwestern Andy Cohen devotees, Rozay made a cameo during the season premiere of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Miami, attending an event run by friend and reality castmember Lea Black. In addition to attending a high-profile soiree in his hometown, Ross managed to avoid flying tables and glasses, and has to be happy about the way the network chose to identify him.
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March 24: Second-Hand Bossness From Rozay on Lil Wayne's "John"
In anticipation of his delayed Tha Carter 4, Wayne borrowed from Ross' "I'm Not A Star" for the menacing song "John," inviting him to be more of an equal partner on the track than simply a momentary guest. Rozay did not disappoint, going verse for verse with Weezy and equally inflating his words with high art and artillery references. His ability to make both Lamborghinis and Basquiat sound threatening is a true skill. The subsequent video features Ross rapping in a plush velour suit from the comfort of a wheelchair, which is the only way we want to think of him forever and always.
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Oct. 12: Ross and Nas Give "Tower Heist" A Cooler Theme Than it Deserves
The song "It's a Tower Heist" starring Ricky with Nas was infinitely better than the movie Tower Heist starring famous actors. The beat is thumping and the rhymes are trumping, with such moments of awesome from Rick as "Got my J's on...I feel ama-zon."
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Oct. 14: Memphis Concert Deterred By Two (!!) In-Flight Seizures
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Nov. 17: Fans Forgive, But Ross's Poor Health Does Not
Despite his impressive efforts to power through his health struggles, The Boss is forced to admit that he is human after all, and that his God Forgives, I Don't might not make its intended Dec. 13th release date. The album is pushed back to early 2012, quickly becoming one of the most hotly anticipated albums of the new year.
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Dec. 17: The First Ever "Sucker-Free" Artist of the Year
At the first annual (?) Sucker-Free Awards, Rick Ross takes home Artist of the Years, possibly because he is the only artist nominated to actually show up at the Miami-based ceremonies. It's a fitting cap to one of the biggest breakout 2011s in hip-hop.