Convicted drugs trafficker Rick Ross is suing Warner Music who are the label for rapper Rick Ross (sometimes Rick Ro$$) whose real name is William Roberts. Ross had previously tried to sue Roberts. but that action failed in the federal court under the US statute of limitations – time barred. Now ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross, who is currently a community worker having been released from prison early for good behaviour in 2010, has Warner Music in his sights and a California state court judge has confirmed that he can bring an action over the use of ‘his’ name against Warner Music who only began to release Roberts’ music under the ‘Rick Ross’ name in 2011. ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross was still in prison when Roberts started using his name, and his original claim the reformed drugs man claimed false advertising, unjust enrichment, unfair business practice, and common-law claims of misappropriation of name, identity and rights of publicity.
In the new claim against Warners, Californian judge has held that music major couldn’t have the case dismissed on statute of limitations grounds, because of the 2011 agreement. Though the judge added that Ross’s lawsuit would need to be amended, because it doesn’t currently make specific allegations against the music company and the claimant has said this will now be done. Ross says he is now involved in youth projects to help his local community, and wants his name to be associated, not with rap, but with “the struggles Black America has had as a result of the crack cocaine epidemic, and to correctly represent what I went through personally when I was given a federal life sentence”.
In other news, Roberts and his sister and his manager are all being sued by a UK company over a planned appearance at a concert in Nigeria in 2011. London-based Zons PR worked for African beer brand Star Lager on its annual Star Mega Jam event, and booked Rick Ross (the rapper!) to headline via his sister, Tawanda Roberts. The promotions firm handed over a deposit of $87,500, but Ross ultimately pulled out of the Nigerian show citing security concerns. But, say Zons PR, he is yet to return the deposit, and has refused to discuss paying back the money or agreeing to an alternative project. Ross’s people are yet to respond to the lawsuit.