No, it’s not that Rick Ross. Hear me out, though…
We came across Rick on Instagram when someone sent us a clip of him riding his board around Philly, cracking a whip with his cowboy fit on. We were already curious to find out what the hell his deal was. Then we learned his legal name was Rick Ross, and that was the moment we knew we 100% had to get in touch.
We didn’t really have many expectations for this interview beyond the funny headline, but to our surprise, Rick and I actually ended up having a natural connection and shared little snippets from our lives.
Rick is a true original. He’s a dude that marches to the beat of his own drum. He’s not trying to be an influencer or monetize his passion. He’s just a 44 year old that enjoys riding down hills with his cowboy hat on and whip in hand.
It may not seem like it at first glance, but oddly, I think we can all learn a lot from Rick.
Your name is Rick Ross? Is that your birth name or a nickname after the rapper?
That’s my name — Richard A. Ross.
Were you bummed another Rick Ross got famous or you don’t give a shit?
Well, that’s a funny thing. At first, I hated the guy’s guts until I started listening to his songs. And then I was like, oh shit, I think I really fucking like this guy. But I interviewed Freeway Ricky Ross on my Youtube channel, the real one. But we both have the same name and we both have class A licenses [Truckers license] and it was like, “Look I got one too!” I still got his number and everything, he’s awesome.
Do people ask you if you’re the rapper Rick Ross often?
No, but I applied for a job and on the application, I had my full name down, Richard A. Ross. They thought I was a white guy. Then when I came in they said like, “Oh you’re Richard Ross?” [laughs] Yes sir, I’m Richard Ross! I was the only black guy in the company [laughs].
Where do you work now?
Right now I’m an independent trucker owner/operator.
Is that life fulfilling? Do you enjoy it?
Yeah, until my truck broke down a couple weeks ago [laughs].
How old are you?
I’m an older cat, I just turned 44. I’m not like a young kid, even though I kind of look like it sometimes when I shave. Especially with the whip I just look younger I guess, I don’t know [laughs].
“My trick… I was just fast. I would go up the hill faster than all of ’em.”
What drew you to skateboarding?
I first started getting interested when I saw Bart Simpson in The Simpsons and stuff back in the ’80s. I always wanted to ride, but my dad never bought me a board. Then I forgot about it for a while, and in my 30s, I started skating. My nephew had a Walmart skateboard. I remember I was trying to skate it and I was like, “Man, this is a piece of crap, I might as well walk.” And then I went to the skate store and I got some new wheels, and then everything changed from there.
Do you follow pro skaters or skating on Instagram at all? Do you know who Tony Hawk is?
I don’t really follow like that, I guess, cause maybe I got into skating a little older. But once I started skating I ran into a bunch of skaters in South Philly and we just had our own little small clique. One guy was a real trickster, he does tricks. My trick… I was just fast. I would go up the hill faster than all of ’em. I’d just be on runaway mode, and that’s it [laughs].
What’s South Philly like?
Oh. South Philly is, um, Irish, Italian you know, but it’s been changing a little bit because there’s been a lot of Vietnamese, and Cambodians starting to move in that kind of area and Chinese. It’s real amazing because I like studying different cultures and I can speak like five different languages. I like to understand cultures and I thought, if I learned all their languages, maybe I’d be a little bit better off. I’ve also been to Korea and Japan many times.
Yeah, man, that’s really admirable. I like that you spent time learning the languages of the other cultures in your neighborhood.
Yeah, it put me at an advantage, you know? Cause I’ll go into a Korean store and I’ll be like [speaking Korean] like, “How much is this?” and they’ll be like, “Oh what?” And I’m like [in Korean], “Do you speak Korean” and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, yeah!” [laughs] but all surprised.
“I think you should always be authentic no matter what.”
What’s with the whip?
Oh, the whip came into play maybe like two years ago. It was funny, before the whip, I would have a stuffed monkey and I would tie it around my neck, on the back [laughs]. So I’d be skateboarding with a monkey on my back, literally. I did that for a while and then I started wearing my scarf.
Then I started learning martial arts a little bit and I always wanted to learn to throw a whip [chuckles]. That could be like some badass shit, you know? People thinking I’m probably gonna whip somebody’s ass [laughs].
Do you know how to use it or do you just throw it around randomly?
I think you should always be authentic no matter what. So, I was like, I’m not going to walk around with a whip and not know how to use it, you know? And I like to stretch myself a little bit and push myself.
I guess my personality is, like… you ever saw that Japanese anime Demon Slayer? That’s basically my character.
Does the whip help with self-defense? Have you ever had to use it on someone?
Just broke up fights with it. Haven’t really had to beat anybody up with it. Except for the other day, but I didn’t choose darkness, so that was good.
So you’re trying to stay on the light side? You’ve been to the dark side and try to stay on the light side?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been to the dark side… Luckily I’ve been very sane with it and very cautious. You know, I haven’t been like super reckless, hurting a lot of people. I always try to be just with my decisions.
Sounds like you have a steady hand and mind now. That’s really good.
Oh, actually, it’s called empathy [laughs].
“Luckily I’ve been very sane with it and very cautious.”
Yeah! [Laughs] More people should have it, right?
Yeah. If you don’t have it, then you’re a psychopath. Or a sociopath or the classical narcissist.
But a lot of people don’t have that, you’d be surprised. I think the Internet’s making it worse for everyone.
Oh, yeah? Did you ever study psychology?
Yeah, I did. Undergraduate psychology degree in college.
What’s your personality type?
Oh, man. I did it a long time ago. I’m an ENTJ.
You’re ENTJ? … For real?
Yeah. I wouldn’t lie about it [laughs].
Do you know what that means?
I mean, apparently it’s like—it’s like a leadership type one.
It’s the commander.
Yeah, exactly. Damn. How’d you know that so fast?
Because I’ve been studying this ever since I got the whip. I’ve studied electrical engineering, mechanical HVAC, plumbing, structural, architectural, and civil engineering. And now I’m studying social. I wish I’d known it earlier, I probably would have had better friends in my life.
What have you been enjoying about skating recently?
Oh, the downhill. There’s some hills on the other side of Kelly Drive that’s real scary. I love the downhill. And actually, every time I went to South Korea and Japan, every year, I would take my skateboard over there. And there was some serious downhill over there.
And matter of fact, I fell a couple of times and all the Japanese people went and picked up all my stuff and handed it to me. I was drunk, drinking those Jäger bombs [laughs]. It was so funny cause my hair was in an afro and they were like, “Oh, can we touch your hair?” This Korean lady, you know she was like, “Oh, black man. Oh, he look so cool.” It was six in the morning. It was funny [laughs].
“I have so many abilities, there’s always other opportunities.”
You ever bring the whip into the bed or do you keep it strictly on the streets?
Oh, no, just in the streets [laughs]. I had one girl who wanted me to do that with her I was like, “Okay, I’ll get a smaller whip.”
That thing’s got a lot to untangle. Did you make it?
Oh, well I got it from Amazon but it broke a couple times and I kind of just repaired it, you know, customized it. It’s got like a real fat grip on it, it’s just stupid, but it’s still working.
Well, I appreciate you taking the time to chat. I think you have a really unique outlook and I hope your truck gets up and running again.
Well, yeah, I have so many abilities, there’s always other opportunities.
Skateboarders sometimes get a bad reputation, you know, being like street kids or troublemakers or whatever. Do you think there’s any truth to that or is that a stereotype?
Oh, well, they came from broken homes. A lot of them skaters are dandelion children. You know what dandelion children are?
“A lot of them skaters are dandelion children.
You know what dandelion children are?”
I can take a guess for sure.
Well, it’s a psychological term and basically means when children are born in bad environments and they still come out halfway decent. They call them the dandelion. Like me, I grew up in a household that was hard in a lot of ways because my parents had issues. But at the same time, that makes me extra sensitive to certain things. Those weaknesses can turn into strengths. Reversing the polarity, that’s how you get stronger.
Yeah on a personal level, I’ve tried my best to turn every negative into a positive.
Yeah. It’s hard but once you get around a good group of people, they’ll tend to make sure you’re doing the best you can be. You know, people that actually look out for your well-being. You know, authentic people.
DOES SIZE MATTER?
I hit up physical therapist Dr. Kyle Brown for some insight on whether or not our height plays a noticeable role in how we skate.
SECRET HOBBIES WITH ELI REED
Enjoy episode 2 of our new series that finds out what things skaters secretly fan out on (besides kickflips and pants).
A FIRST LOOK AT OPERA AND SKATEBOARDING’S NEWEST GROUP OF BRANDS
Bill Weiss and a few of his close friends are picking up the pieces from the Dwindle rubble and starting fresh with a new slew of brands.
PREMIERE: VIVIEN FEIL AND SOY PANDAY IN MAGENTA’S “JUST CRUISE II”
We hope to skate half as good as these dudes when we are in our 40s.
HOW CHAD CARUSO SKATED ACROSS AMERICA
Chad did it the way most skateboarders would: independently and without much of a plan.
April 11, 2023 1:55 pm
Seems like a solid dude. Dig interviews like this over the same ol same ol keep it up Ian.
April 11, 2023 7:44 pm
My dude got that 30 hour osha card and is cool 😎
April 12, 2023 2:35 pm
Very cool interview. This is my favorite Rick Ross.
April 12, 2023 7:22 pm
Wasn’t expecting to feel inspired by this man the way I was. Hope he’s well out there.