Freeway has explained former drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross gave him his blessing to use his name, unlike a similar situation with the rapper Rick Ross.

On the latest segment of his conversation with VladTV, Freeway reflected on his early rap beginnings revealing that he picked up the microphone at around six years old and would get paid in quarters to do mini-performances. When it came time for him to create a rap name, a magazine article on the former drug trafficker inspired him.

“After I read the Freeway story and, you know, I wasn’t nowhere near as big as Freeway was, but we was living similar lifestyles,” said Freeway. “So I’m like, ‘Damn, this would be a dope rap name,’ so I took it on.”

Freeway went on to explain that he’s good friends with the drug kingpin and saw a lot of similarities between them which fueled their friendship. According to Freeway, their friendship was so deep that Ross gave the rapper his blessing to use his name.

“When he was in jail I reached out to him,” Freeway said. “I wrote him a letter and let him know how I was carrying it, made sure it was cool with him before I even started going crazy with it, and he respected it. When he came home, we got together, and it was all love.”

“Freeway” Rick Ross is best known for the drug empire he established in Los Angeles, California, in the early to mid-1980s. He got his nickname from all the properties along Los Angeles’ Interstate 110 — also known as the Harbor Freeway — that he owned.

At the height of his drug career, Ross was selling metric tons of cocaine, and his gross revenue was estimated to be more than $900million and profits of almost $300million at the time.

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He received life in prison under the three-strikes law in 1996, but his sentence was shortened on appeal, and Ross was released in 2009. The former kingpin’s story sounds straight out of a movie, and many rappers have used it as inspiration.

One of the most famous cases of inspiration was Maybach Music Group boss Rick Ross adopting his government name. In June 2010, Ross sued the rapper for using his name without permission and filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, seeking $10million in compensation.

Three years after the case was dropped and refiled in the state of California, Ross went to court with the rapper, but it didn’t turn out well for him. The court ruled in favor of the MMG boss and allowed him to keep the name based on a First Amendment ruling.