Three years after former cocaine kingpin "Freeway" Ricky Ross filed suit against rapper Rick Ross for allegedly appropriating his name and likeness, a judge has ruled in the Maybach Music boss' favor.
"Freeway" Ricky Ross—who claimed he once sold $3 million of cocaine in a single day—began legal proceedings against Rick Ross in 2010, one year after being released from prison for a conviction of attempting to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent. The '80s drug lord was seeking $10 million from the rapper and his labels for allegedly profiting off of Ricky Ross' notoriety.
Although the California court agreed that Rick Ross' name and persona were inspired by Ricky Ross' life, the judge ruled Rozay has created an original body of work that sets him apart as his own creative entity.
"William L. Roberts [the rapper's real name] created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin turned rapper," the court ruling reads. "He was not simply an impostor seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits, some of which related to plaintiff. Using the name and certain details of an infamous criminal's life as basic elements, he created original artistic works."
In other words, Rick Ross might not forgive, but the First Amendment certainly does.