Rick Ross and Mannie Fresh participated in a BMI panel for 2015’s “How I Wrote That Song” series over the weekend. The rappers were joined songwriters Ester Dean, David Hodges and Natalie Hemby.

The panel, moderated by BMI’s Catherine Brewton, spoke at 1 Oak in Los Angeles and featured life lessons and behind-the-scenes anecdotes about major hits. Mannie Fresh, for example, spoke to the audience members (many of whom were aspiring artists) about how much a career in music can impact one’s life.

“If you really love this, sometimes you don’t get to spend that birthday with your child or that special moment,” he said. “Because this is what you do.”

“You have to be willing to sacrifice and not listen to what anybody tells you,” he added.

According to Mannie, this lesson became valuable in his life when he realized it was a doorway to success. “The first level of success is when you don’t care what somebody say,” Fresh explained. “You gotta know in your heart that you can do this and that you’ll keep going until you do it.”

Rick Ross had another bit of advice to share regarding the ups and downs of the industry. “I put God first,” Ross said. “And then I’m ready to go against the world.”

While his faith is important to Rozay, the emcee also explained how he knew his heart was in it before he crafted “Hustlin.” At the time, he told himself that something needed to give.

“Today would be the last day I did this if this wasn’t what I loved,” he said, reminiscing on his early days in music. “That was the test. I remember that day clear as ever. Three months later, I [made] ‘Hustlin’.’”

Mannie Fresh and Rick Ross also alluded to the idea of working together in the future. Could this lead to yet another hit for Fresh and Rozay? Time will tell, but for now, Mannie has said that he’s fallen in love with music again because he’s returned to deejaying. “I’m falling in love with music,” he said. “I was at a point where I didn’t like it at all. But I’m in a good space now.”

It’s safe to say the audience members learned a thing or two from this panel. And maybe the next big star will use these lessons on their climb to the top.


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