Ever Hear Rick Ross’ First Appearance On Wax, Alongside Erick Sermon? (Audio)
A lot went into Rick Ross’ career in the lead-up to 2006 platinum single, “Hustlin’.” Many Heads know that the Miami, Florida-based MC was one of the strong developing acts at Slip-N-Slide Records (a system responsible for Plies, Pitbull, plus Trina and Trick Daddy). Other Heads know that Ross had inked paperwork with Suave House Records (Eightball & MJG, Tela), who would conveniently wait for Def Jam stardom to release 2007’s Rise To Power recordings. But before all of that, Ricky Rozay was an MC named Tephlon, just waiting his turn under the tutelage of EPMD/Def Squad’s Erick Sermon.
Nearly 15 years ago, in June of 2000, Erick Sermon released third solo album, Def Squad Presents…Erick Onasis. A #53 debut on the Top 200, the album was a break from E-Double’s longtime tenure at Def Jam (forcing the name change). A one-off with Dreamworks, the LP, the name-change, and a lot of Sermon’s roster would be short-lived as presented. With established Sermon proteges such as Redman and Keith Murray, plus EPMD partner PMD, there were also two fledgling acts: Sy Scott and Tephlon Da Don.
Neither were included on any of the LP’s three singles. However, both would continue to forge ahead. While Sy would appear on upcoming Sermon albums (thanks to a Motown Records deal and massive comeback), Tephlon would re-appear two years later, on Trina’s Diamond Princess and Trick Daddy’s Thug Holiday albums. Two years prior, thanks to Erick Onasis’ “Ain’t Shit To Discuss,” Heads could hear what Ricky Rozay sounded like working with the Green-Eyed Bandit, one of Hip-Hop’s greatest ears for talent.
The cadence—not as emphasized, the subject matter, and the tone is all the same. What may stand apart though is how Tephlon Da Don liked to flow in the spot with Sermon’s thumping beat. Heads can hear some of this today, sporadically, when “Mastermind” picks certain beats.
Would Ross be the Teflon Don had he stayed Tephlon Da Don Def Squad and Erick Sermon?