Black Rob:Lockdown

For Robert Ross, the road to the riches has been a bumpy one. When he first arrived, the Harlem rapper more commonly known as Black Rob was supposed to have an easy ride upon signing with Hip-hop powerhouse Bad Boy Records in the late 90’s. And even after the tragic death of the label’s brightest star, the Notorious B.I.G., Rob and the new Bad Boy roster (Ma$e, The LOX and Puff Daddy) proved all the naysayers wrong and kept Bad Boy at the forefront of the business releasing a string of platinum and gold albums. But after his debut album dropped (Life Story) dropped in 2000, BR got deterred with a string of medical and legal problems and didn’t drop his sophomore effort (The Black Rob Report) until 2005. Rob’s last run in with the law (a 2004 grand larceny) lead to a two-to-six year sentence which he began serving in 2006. With his prison release on the horizon, caught up with the Bad Boy and spoke about his past, his present and his plans for the future. How you been holding up?

Black Rob: I mean it is what it is. It’s like I’m convicted right now of the bullshit that’s goin’ on as far as the direction. It’s like what every rapper do, it affects me [and my case] and it’s like what I do affects other rappers. So they looking at it now, they got Prodigy coming to jail, they got Remy Ma coming to jail, they looking at it like we really think we’re really above the law.

XXL: Do you feel like that they convicted Black Rob and not Robert Ross?

BR: Definitely, being that it’s Black Rob the rapper… Robert Ross? He wouldn’t have gotten a perp walk on television with the cameras around looking all crazy. It plays a major part… It’s like a gift and a curse, because at the time when I’m ready to pop off, something negative happens to me. Every time I get ready to drop an album it’s like the devil be working overtime.

XXL: How difficult was it to be going through legal drama and not being able to promote your last album?

BR: When I dropped The Black Rob Report, I was like ok “I’m going to prison.” Like you said it’s a gift and a curse, it always happens to me man. When I dropped the album and did the first video for “Star in the Hood” it’s like I gave up hope. It was like damn I get ready to do something good, something bad happens to me… It seem like this shit ain’t for me. It’s like I cant be out here to push this album and this is a hot album.

XXL: What type of support do you get from fans?

BR: To be honest with you, I don’t really get no fan mail or nothing like that. I don’t deal with the fan mail. I don’t even think they know that I’m here. I think they think that I’m in the streets somewhere, just not doing rap. I do this for the love; this is what I love.

XXL: What’s your relationship with Diddy like now?

BR: I’m cool with Diddy. I wish him the best of luck with what he’s doing. I seen him on TV and it’s a good look for him. He came in as a businessman; CEO and he just took it to another level. It’s a good look for him because Diddy is not a rapper, Diddy is an entertainer, so for him to be in that entertainment field at that volume, that’s good for him. Between me and him, I mean I’m sure they looking out for me, but I haven’t heard from anybody. I don’t wanna get too crazy with this interview, I mean I haven’t heard from anybody but I don’t feel like it’s no bad blood or nothing like that. I know people were disappointed, but I was a high-risk investment from the jump. When they signed me I was on the run. I was a high-risk investment when you signed me, so when I mess up you can’t act like you’re surprised.

XXL: When you became a rap star it seemed as if you kept a lot of your old habits. Why couldn’t you change with you circumstances?

BR: I’ve never really reached the plateau of making that real big money. The money that I was getting from the rap game, I mean I was taking that kind of money when I was in the streets doing that negative shit. Twenty thousand, forty thousand, I mean I was coming outta spots with that, so it never really hit me. If my bank account was so astronomical do you really think I would be here right now? Dudes made money, but it wasn’t the kind of money that I needed to be making to get me away from the hood and the negativity. It just wasn’t enough.

XXL: So you’re saying the robberies were out of necessity?

BR: To a point, but what I did in ’04— Look I’m an adrenaline jumper. It’s just the adrenaline rush. I love that feeling. Whether it’s robbing people, or getting on the mic doing it or fighting somebody, that’s better than any drug I ever had.

XXL: Is it an addiction?

BR: Definitely. Definitely it’s an addiction.

XXL: Are you taking any steps to break it?

BR: Of course, the only way to break that feeling is to maintain and stay focused. As soon as I get unfocused that’s when I start wyldin’ and losing sight of the prize. Regardless of my situation I shouldn’t have to lash out like that, but it happened. It was unfortunate, but it could’ve been worse. I’ve always looked at it as a wake-up call for me… I’ve been so many places and I’ve never talked about it. I always kept it on some hood shit. Now that I’m here, my mind’s focused and I’m thinking that I’ve been around the world twice. C’mon what am I doing? Let me show this growth and stop playing.

XXL: Are you in gen pop?

BR: What? I’ve been in gen pop my whole life. I’m a regular nigga.

XXL: Is that difficult?

BR: Oh yeah, there is a lot of difficulty in that; a lot of these cats is up here hating. But before I was Black Rob I was Robbie-O in the 80’s. A lot of niggas is Bloods and Crips and I respect that, but a lot of these dudes is frontin’. They coming in here and doing that for protection. I can’t see me coming to jail and then going home talking about I’ma Blood. BR gonna be BR in and out the penitentiary.

XXL: How much longer do you have?

BR: Right now I’m looking at like 90 Days before I touch the streets. And I’ve got some mean shit that I’ve been writing. I make an album like every 5 years, but it’s alright because when I make it it’s for the gusto. I got about three albums, I might come home and do a double album. Everything is up to par right now, I’m focused, drug-free, my body is up, I’m looking good. But it’s really no support. Nobody has support for me except my lawyer, my wife and a couple of other friends of mines.

XXL: Are you still on Bad Boy?

BR: Man I have no idea. I haven’t heard from these dudes, they might’ve took me off the Bad Boy website or whatever but I haven’t heard from anyone telling me what the deal is. So until I get a piece of paper saying that I’m no longer a Bad Boy artist, I’m still reppin’ that flag. I’m a team player man. We talking about the streets and how we do in the streets, if I got a problem with you fam I’ma come to you and tell you I got a problem with you. I’m not gonna go to the [media], I’m not gonna go to Summer Jam and bug out, I’ma handle it on a street level. “Ayo Puff let me holla at you.” I’m not gonna do the other thing. I’m on Bad Boy. I can be number two, I’m not trying to be the king; at the end of the day the king gets the throne.

XXL: What’s the plan when you get out?

BR: Alright. Me personally, from the horses mouth, this is the last run for me. I have to stay focused and I’m gonna. Now when I couple my experiences of being in the game and its pitfalls, I don’t wanna come back to prison, it’s a wrap. I got the right people behind me, the people who got love for Rob Ross, fuck Black Rob the artist, I got love for Rob Ross. They gonna push me to my full potential and put the machine behind me, something that the labels don’t do. I just need to get home and see what’s really goin on at Bad Boy. There are a lot of labels that I know is gonna grab me.-Rob Markman

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • c-weed

    “Ran outta ammo and started throwin botles”

    That was my shit. Keep your head up Rob.

    • mrkookoocal

      yo c-weed what song is that homie?

    • mo

      this nigga rob is ill…everything he drops is fire

  • Jamal7Mile


    Borrow a fuckin dollar or something from somebody. You got talent duke, so don’t squander this opportunity to make legal tender!

    • Gullee Boy

      We started this movement Jan. 3rd



  • stoneyisland

    I messes with BR and when his album does drop, i’m a cop it.

  • Crocker

    B.R.!!! Come home soon you klepto mother fucker.

  • bigfamily

    BR gave Puff a classic in the Black Rob Report and he too busy helping Aubrey get new tits. As far as Post Big Bad Boy, dude should have been set.

  • Hate Hate and more Hate

    I can’t really hate on dude because he already did the work for me. He already knows he’s a fuck up and he’s not relevant.

    I guess the last thing for Black Rob to do is kill himself. Which wouldn’t really make a difference anyway, since nobody would care

  • Gino

    I was just bumpin life storey this mornin

  • Simple like ABC, 123

    Black Rob and G-Dep should make a duo album.
    “Let’s Get It” is a classic song!!!

  • tony grand$

    Its kind of sad, for real. No fan mail, no support, no word from Bad Boy, that shits pathetic. He’s locked down watchin Puffy shine, knowin that he can’t blame anyone but himself.

    That nigga gotta be aware that he’s too old, let alone talented, for these bullshit antics.

    The industry aint checkin for him, & he knows that. Times are hella different than 3 yrs ago. Lotta make-up work involved in playin catch up to these young dudes.

    Good luck on ur rehabilitation Rob.

    • Caine

      I don’t think it’s sad. There’s plenty of niggaz in da penitentiary that ain’t got SHIT. No family, no XXL interviewers, no commissary, and etc., etc. I don’t feel sorry for Rob. Nigga is just a gully Spanish Harlem nigga that didn’t realize how good he had it.

      Ima hood nigga myself, but I can’t fuck wit mufuckas who ain’t got no morals and values wit dis shit. The way I was raised, there SHOULD be honor amongst thieves. Nigga had a potentially Million Dollar Hustle and straight blew it. At least he realizes he fucked up tho…

      Black Rob Report was hard tho…

      • Rob The Music Ed

        Well BR wasn’t close to a milli by any means. And he takes full responsibility for his actions. He has a problem and he is working on making it better.

        But it seems to me that he couldn’t help his actions. Well whatever the case, he dropped two very dope albums. I hope he comes home soon.

  • N DOT C

    Nobody wanted to school us, aide us with maneuvers/
    To entrepreneurs, they thought we was screw ups

    ‘Pointing Em Out’ by N DOT C

    If Diddy doesn’t see any profit in him then I don’t see why he would invest in him. Ask Shyne what Diddy knows about business, and loyalty. BTW I think Shyne is the most anticipated incarcerated rapper (Being that DMX is going to be a pastor)

    N DOT C


    ROB is ill and his last album was good on the low but I was the only one in my hood I heard with it when it dropped.

    That statement he made about the gang situation in N.Y. is right on.I’m cool with alot of them but its obvious they just wanna be apart of somethin’ & feel safety in numbers.

    “I MOVE WITH FAITH/ ONLY THE LAME NEED CRUTCHE’S”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Casey

    When he said that line on BR Report about “Put the gun to his throat and watch him shake like the Pope” he killed it for all time. No need to make more music, he’s legendary.

  • j.mitch

    gullee boy is straight garbage.Im sorry to say that step ya game up please!

  • Mutada al sader the king

    Good read -> Everything is up to par right now, I’m focused, drug-free, my body is up, I’m looking good

  • Zilla Rocca

    When I interviewed Sean Price last year, he said the first thing he would do if he became a CEO of label would be to sign Black Rob as soon as dude got out of prison! Great interviw, and “Life Story” is a below the radar classic!

    • Rob The Music Ed

      And you’re right Life Story is a classic- well at least to me it is.

  • the G.O.D


    Hopefully money will keep his words. I like the fact he spoke on all this bullshit gang activity out in NY. I ain’t seen NY in ten plus years due to some legal matters and all that blood/crips nonsense need to stop. Ny is the land of crews not clowns in different color bandanas.

  • Pingback: Music Mondays: Black Rob – Whoa « Being Grown and Sexy

  • 32 weeks pregnant cramping

    I need to agree together with you, superb points you have created on your case.