“Check out your baby mama, Ricky!” A dolled-up 50 Cent, adopting the bizarre alter ego “Pimpin’ Curly,” doled out these fighting words, throwing blow after verbal blow against his rap rival Rick Ross. The grainy video’s off-screen narration complemented the XXX-rated action in the foreground: footage of Lastonia Leviston, the mother of Ross’s child, having sex with her ex-boyfriend Maurice Murray. The 13-minute sex tape was played in front of a room full of jurors and journalists in a Manhattan courtroom on June 16.
The very next day, an unhinged Ross allegedly snapped, going full-on gangster on his gardener.
Ross, 39, whose real name is William Leonard Roberts II, and his 42-year-old bodyguard Nadrian James are currently cooling their heels in jail after a Fayette County, Georgia, magistrate judge denied the two bail for a June 17 incident that left Ross’s groundskeeper Jonathan Zamudio bloodied and broken.
According to the arrest warrant, following a heated exchange between Ross and Zamudio, the “Hustlin’” rapper forced his groundskeeper into the guest house of his 235-acre palatial Fayetteville, Georgia estate—which was once owned by ex-boxing champ Evander Holyfield. Ross is then alleged to have brandished a Glock 17 9mm handgun and led Zamudio down a hallway and into a guest bedroom against his will, where he was told to stay like a dog. The duo then began pistol-whipping Zamudio and taunting him with the weapon, with Ross “striking [Zamudio] in the head and body,” said the warrant. Following the terrifying ordeal, Zamudio suffered chipped front teeth and a broken jaw, and was limited to eating his meals through a straw. Ross, meanwhile, is being charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and kidnapping—and the arrest came just a week after Ross was stopped by Atlanta police in his Bentley and subsequently arrested for possession of marijuana.
Ross’s lawyer Adamma McKinnon told The Daily Beast her client isn’t fretting the charges, and informed local TV news that the rapper wants the world to know that his new album will be “dropping soon.” McKinnon also claimed that Ross is in high spirits, made sure to mention that his next album is tentatively titled Black Dollar, and said that he’s being framed for being famous. “He’s someone who has reached a certain plateau and there are people after celebrities like [Roberts] and looking for monetary gain,” she said.
Asked if the sex tape played in Manhattan Supreme Court (Ross’s ex is currently suing 50 Cent for defamation) the day before the alleged incident with his groundskeeper sent the rapper into a rage, McKinnon said she didn’t know. “That’s never been in the discussion or never been brought up,” she said.
It seems Ross had reason to be upset—with 50 Cent. Ross and 50 Cent’s longstanding feud reportedly began in January 2009, when Ross is said to have looked at Fiddy the wrong way at the BET Awards. The next month, 50 Cent published a YouTube video titled “Warning Shot (Rick Ross Diss),” vowing revenge. “I’m going to f-ck your life up for fun,” he said.
A war of words ensued. Ross dropped “In Cold Blood,” which fantasized 50 Cent’s funeral. Not to be outdone, 50 Cent responded with a series of cartoons lampooning Ross for his pre-thug life as a prison guard, and released the diss track “Officer Ricky,” wherein he doubled down on Ross’s hypocritical past. In 2008, a year prior to the 50 Cent Vs. Rick Ross feud kicking off, The Smoking Gun had exposed Ross’s 18-month stint as a prison guard at the South Florida Reception Center. Ross, who’d rap-named himself after “Freeway” Rick Ross, a notorious drug kingpin, initially denied the claim before admitting that he had indeed served as a prison guard in the early ‘90s.
To twist the dagger in further, 50 Cent took it upon himself to conduct a YouTube-uploaded interview with Tia Kemp, another mother to a Rick Ross child, who claimed that the man who went by the nickname Ricky Rozay was a corrections officer and a negligent father (the two were involved in a custody battle at the time). The video ended with 50 Cent taking Kemp shopping for shoes—a denouement that was ridiculed by Ross, Foxy Brown, and a gaggle of other rappers. The post-video backlash prompted 50 Cent to don an outlandish Jheri curl wig and introduce his “Pimpin’ Curly” character to ridicule Ross.
That same year, 2009, the now notorious sex tape with Ross’s ex Lastonia Leviston, who had a child with Ross in 2003, was produced—featuring 50’s “Pimpin’ Curly” character. Leviston alleges that the ex-boyfriend featured on the sex tape, Maurice Murray, sold it to 50 Cent for a tidy sum, and the rapper then edited himself into footage as a raunchy commentator.
Leviston says that 50 Cent then posted the doctored sex tape online, where it’s since been seen by millions of viewers. She claims that the leak almost drove her to suicide, and also drove traffic to 50 Cent’s website—a place where he sells memorabilia and concert tickets.
50 Cent’s lawyer, meanwhile, claims that Leviston’s life improved notably since the court case, arguing that Ross then moved her into a 3-bedroom home in a gated community in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and that someone had hacked into 50 Cent’s computer and swiped the tape before he could broadcast it online. “The bottom line is, Mr. Jackson is not the one who first published it,” said 50’s lawyer, James Renard.
So, a day before Ross’s alleged pistol-whipping of his groundskeeper, said sex tape—which had been floating around for six years—was played in Manhattan Supreme Court for jurors and journalists.The video, which still exists online, is set to 50 Cent’s Rick Ross diss track “Officer Ricky.” Leviston undresses, revealing the capital letters “RR” tattooed over her heart. Then, 50 Cent’s crude commentary kicks in as he observes what appears to be Leviston’s C-section scar: “Look at the stretch marks on her stomach from Ricky’s daughter.”
To add insult to alleged injury, in an Instagram video—that he’s since deleted—50 Cent poured salt on Rick Ross’s incarcerated wound, conducting a mock conversation on the phone with a third party informing him of Ross’s arrest. “Kidnapping?” he asks. “He told a nigga he couldn’t leave?”