Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomeCrime(EXCLUSIVE) THE REAL FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: The Evolution of Redemption (Part 1)

(EXCLUSIVE) THE REAL FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: The Evolution of Redemption (Part 1)

“From a guy who was an urban myth to now, if that’s not change, I don’t know what is.” – The Real Freeway Ricky Ross in a 2009 interview with the Indianapolis Recorder

If ever there were an icon of American History, Donnell Ross, better known as the Real Freeway Ricky Ross, is that figure.

Whether you follow government conspiracy theories, the news or urban legends, unless you have been living under a rock since the mid to late 1990’s, you are familiar with the Real Freeway Ricky Ross. Not to be confused with the rapper who has taken on that moniker, the Real Freeway Ricky Ross is a living, breathing portrait of a dark era of American History and how far some representatives of the U. S. government and its agencies can go, in order to make a buck or forward a cause abroad.

Conspiracy theories about various items of interest have been bounced around for decades now. The situation involving Freeway Ricky Ross is backed up by mounds of evidence, including the CIA’s own declassified documents.

We now know for certain that our own government can be credited with helping to flood our streets with crack cocaine, fueling what has become one of this country’s worst epidemics – the crack cocaine epidemic. At the center of the controversy was an unwitting participant named Ricky Ross, known on the streets of South Central Los Angeles as “Freeway”. Who would have ever thought that a young man from South Central would become embroiled in the center of the Iran-Contra Affair?

Shocked? You really shouldn’t be. Economically depressed parts of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish were flooded in 1927 to save the booming French Quarter. The Tuskegee Experiment took place on U. S. soil. The civil rights movement of the 1960’s involved some of the most violent and well planned attacks on our citizens – and the list goes on. Given some of the terrors of the past, why would it be so difficult to fathom that the government not only turned a blind eye to cocaine “shipments”, but that some rogue agents participated in the distribution of dope and even more sinister acts?

I have been fascinated with the Ross story ever since Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter with the San Jose Mercury News broke the story in a 3 part series in 1996. Webb went on to write a best seller entitled, “Dark Alliance”, after mainstream media shunned him for breaking the Ross story and pointing a finger at the Reagan Administration for assisting in effectively shielding the real participants from prosecution. On December 10, 2004, Webb was found dead from two gunshot wounds. His death was ruled a “suicide” by the coroner. Strange, to say the least.

I always figured that Ricky Ross was not the monster prosecutors made him out to be. Did he deal crack? Admittedly so – but – and here’s the thing – he was by many accounts, a Robin Hood of sorts in his circles and someone always had a kind word to say about him. Did he break the law? One could argue that he did, but – and here’s another thing – he had help from the CIA in doing so. Take the story even further back, and we learn that he was introduced to the drug trade by a teacher. Quite an interesting beginning for a young man, who was one of the best tennis players around at that time. Ross fell into a lifestyle that many so easily fall prey to, but he lived to tell his story and to warn others against the ills of the drug trade. He is a story of redemption at its best and he is attempting to right the wrongs of the past and to help others in the process.

Ross unwittingly became an accomplice and eventually, a scapegoat for a much larger problem. While young African-American males have historically been largely blamed by society for crime and the ruining of neighborhoods due to the influx of cocaine and other illicit substances, most people never stopped to ask how the cocaine got to the distributors in the first place.  Who is really responsible for carting in drugs from overseas? That is an answer that most of America is probably not ready to accept.

The Ross story is well documented, so we really will not bother giving a further history of how he came to be known as one of this country’s biggest drug dealers, reportedly making anywhere from one million to two million dollars per day at a point. What we will focus on is a story of redemption and giving back to communities that he has been blamed for ravaging.

The man I had a conversation with during the days that led up to the actual interview, is an interesting, gentle, humble, and highly intelligent individual with whom I was quite impressed. I say that, not because it was an interview I always wanted to tackle, but because it is the truth. It is obvious that his friends think much of him and I can certainly see why. People change and Ross clearly has done just that.

We sat and talked to Ricky Ross for quite a while and he is as genuine and real as they come. Ross is a man who quite obviously cares about his world. He is giving back in a big way. In fact, that “giving back” recently caused him to run into more trouble with the courts, as the federal government is claiming he violated terms of his parole by consorting with known felons. We ask how it would even be possible for him not to do so.

First of all, Ross is working with ex-offenders trying to get them on the right track and keep them there. Second, in a country where one out of three African-American males has a felony record, he would be hard pressed to find a social circle that did not include someone with a criminal history. That’s certainly not to say that ex-offenders cannot be reformed – it is merely to point out the absurdity of such a claim, not to mention a potential waste of tax payer money. Stay tuned for more information on his upcoming hearing in early January. He will need all of the positive support he can garner.

Take a look at our interview with the Real Freeway Ricky Ross and come to know the real person behind the urban legend:

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: The first thing I want to ask you to do is to tell us who the Real Freeway is – not the man that we’ve seen on American Gangster and different programs, but who the real person is.

FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: Wow, I have a good understanding of others and I really, really and truly care for people. I think people are the most valuable thing on the planet and I try the best I can. Even when I sold drugs, I felt that I should help people have fun. I didn’t know what the selling of drugs – what destruction it would cause.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Tell us what projects you currently have. I know we’ve discussed that and you sound like you have a whole lot going on.

FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: I do, I do. I guess my pet project would be my website, FreewayEnterprise.com. I think it’s going to be big – not only for me, but a whole lot of people. I created the site myself to help people.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Tell us how that idea was born. We know our readers will be interested in hearing the story.

FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: Well, I was sitting in my cell and at the time, I had really been studying MySpace. I was reading about how MySpace had sold for 600 million dollars and then all of a sudden this new website popped up – Facebook – and it had a 21-year old kid, I think it was – he was going to Harvard and they were talking about him catching up to MySpace and at that time, I think he maybe only had a few thousand members on his site, but it had the potential to catch up with MySpace. I started thinking. I said, “If this 21-year old kid can do this, I can do it as well.” And even though I was in my cell, I was thinking that it was similar to his dorm room. I just started doing research on how to create my own social network.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Something else that we talked about that a lot of people are not aware of, was a couple of decades ago, DJ Pooh had come to you and you almost got involved in the music business back then.

FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: Yeah, wow – you know, that’s one of my biggest business failures. I was already dipping in the music business. I’d already given this guy money for an Anita Baker project. Pooh came along – and I was really interested in rap – rap was in its very, very early stages at that time. That’s when Rapper’s Delight was out, Master Spade, Run DMC was killing it. I had been looking at rap and Pooh came up to me and said, “Man, you ought to put some money behind me for a rap album.” I’d just given a large bit of money to the Anita Baker project and Pooh asked me for quite a bit of money. I was like, “Wow, this young kid’s asking me for this money.” He was maybe 17-years old and was asking me for about $250,000. I went to his apartment with him and they had stuff lying all over the floor – beer bottles and all kinds of stuff (Laughs). I said to myself, “Wow, do I really want to loan this kid a quarter of a million dollars?” I put this money out on the Anita Baker project and a lot of people were telling me rap was a fad – trying to get me to invest my money into them.

(EXCLUSIVE) THE REAL FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: The Evolution of Redemption (Part 2):
(EXCLUSIVE) THE REAL FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: The Evolution of Redemption (Part 3):
(EXCLUSIVE) THE REAL FREEWAY RICKY ROSS: The Evolution of Redemption (Part 4):

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.


  1. This article is one of the most nonbiased and well written articles Ive seen in a while. The understanding of Ricky Ross’s background and willingness of Arlene to shoot straight down the middle speaks volumes…Part 2 what it do?


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