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Rick Ross Loses Reebok Endorsement Over 'Rape' Lyrics

Shoe company cuts ties with rapper over controversy

April 12, 2013 8:35 AM ET
Rick Ross holding Reebok shoes.
Rick Ross holding Reebok shoes.
Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Reebok

Rick Ross lost an endorsement deal with Reebok yesterday when the shoe company cut ties with the rapper over controversial lyrics that seemed to brag about date rape in Rocko's song "U.O.E.N.O." 

"While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse," Reebok said in a statement, according to Reuters

Rick Ross 'Rape' Lyrics Dropped From 'U.O.E.N.O.'

"At this time, it is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross," the statement said.

Although Ross has apologized for the lyrics, he also said their meaning was misinterpreted because he never used the word "rape" when he rapped, "Put molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it." Molly is slang for a powerful form of ecstasy. 

The women's rights group Ultra Violet was unmoved by the rapper's explanation, and had called for Reebok to drop Ross. The group yesterday praised the apparel company, which is a division of Adidas, tweeting, "Thank you @Reebok for doing the right thing!"

Rocko said this week that he has dropped Ross' verse from the song. 

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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