LOS ANGELES (CNN) — “Teflon Don” rapper Rick Ross crashed his silver Rolls Royce into an apartment building after he heard gunfire along a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, street Monday morning, police said.
“The driver of the Rolls Royce attempted to drive away from the direction of the shots being fired and lost control of the vehicle, striking a nearby apartment building,” Fort Lauderdale Police Det. DeAnna Garcia said.
Ross and a female passenger were not hurt by the wreck or the gunshots, Garcia said.
“The suspects fled from the area prior to police arrival,” she said.
The incident, however, called attention to threats against the artist’s life made in a street gang’s videos and posted online in recent months.
“We’re pulling up on you,” a man who identified himself as a member of the Gangster Disciples warned in one of the videos. “Whatever city, whatever state, the pressure on.”
Several videos purporting to be from Gangster Disciple members in several states — including Georgia, North Carolina and Florida — appeared on YouTube late last year demanding that Ross pay a fee to them for his use of the Star of David, which they claim as a gang symbol, and a reference to one of their founders in his music and marketing.
“You got to cut the check,” one video said. “Tell your boss man he got to get that check, or all you in trouble.”
“We need that cash right now,” another said.
Ross, 37, whose albums include “Teflon Don” in 2010 and “Deeper Than Rap” a year earlier, told south Florida radio station 99 Jamz last month that he was not intimidated by the threats.
“Ain’t never no checks getting cut,” he said. “I don’t play those games. I consider that extortion.”
Ross did cancel his North Carolina shows last month just days after a video appeared online threatening his life if he performed there.
“Never was it due to any threats,” he told the radio station. Instead, he canceled because “the promoter wasn’t really handling his business.”
Ross wanted to make certain that listeners understood he was not frightened. “Don’t ever get it twisted, Ricky Ross is the boss,” he said.
The death threats are not the only challenge to Ross. A former drug lord and gang leader is suing in a Los Angeles court, accusing him of stealing his name and reputation.
“The reality is I want justice done,” the original Ross wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “I know that he took his name and image from my life and believe he is unfairly profiting off my story.”
Ricky “Freeway” Ross was serving a prison sentence a decade ago when rapper William Roberts, who previously worked as a Florida correctional officer, adopted “Rick Ross” as his stage name, according to the lawsuit.
“This rapper and his labels clearly knew of my name and story, and have tried to suck out the lifeblood without license,” the former drug lord said. “I have my own use for my intellectual property and did not need this confusion created.”
More recently, the rapper has been using the name “Ricky Rozay.”
The rapper and his record label have not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Despite the death threats and legal issues, his music is doing well. Ross is nominated for a best rap album Grammy for his latest release “God Forgives, I Don’t.”
By Alan Duke
CNN’s Marlena Baldacci contributed to this report.
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