Photos by Cam Kirk
The bottle of Luc Belaire Rare Rosé is as hot as the goddamn Georgia sun, but I'm already too drunk to mind. The Belaire bottles are here to be popped, and we, the people, are here on Fourth of July weekend to pop them. Before I can even begin to remove the coiled top, the bottle erupts into a violent pink mist volcano. Everyone around me ducks. I stand perfectly still, Jurassic Park style, and pretend I didn't just possibly lodge a cork in someone's ass across the pool. Even If I did, though, no one would mourn: There's enough ass here to feed, house, and militarize a small town. Shit, they could develop a space program with this much ass. Like, for real, it is a lot of ass. I'm pretty sure I just saw a stripper clapping her ass in Morse code. It read "M-M-G."
Somehow, I'm at Rick Ross's legendary 109-room home on the South Side of Atlanta for the annual Maybach Music Group pool party. Musicians, journalists, industry folks, and friends have showed up at the mansion to put the cap on a weekend-long affair celebrating the upcoming release of MMG compilation Self Made 4. Over the previous few days, Ross has been busy promoting his artist roster—which includes Wale and Meek Mill but also Rockie Fresh, Omarion, and Fat Trel—with as much over-the-top rambunctious magnificence as possible. There has been a listening session with Meek Mill at Mean Street Studios and a game night at Rick Ross’s home bowling alley and basketball gym, where I missed jumpers like my arms were made of paper. And today everyone is gathered for the kind of event that you see in Rick Ross music videos—literally, they will film a music video later in the day—because why the fuck not.
It is clear that Rick Ross, seasoned rap mogul, takes partying with his friends very seriously. Who wouldn’t when your house is the size of a mall? The decadence of the place has rendered me flaccid and speechless in awe. It’s a leviathan of luxury that pictures can't properly convey. Reading "largest single-family home in Georgia" and actually standing beneath it with shriveled nuts are wildly different. I stretch my limbs next to a Lamborghini parked in front of the rest of Ross's car collection and gather myself. From this point forward I’ll sustain an internal scream that I only break when conversing.
The palace doors are emblazoned with two golden Rs, and the temptation to burst through them is blazing in my soul. However, the home itself is off-limits to us. My mind runs wild imagining what happens inside. Does Rick Ross exercise every day by hiring 30 naked women to chase him around while he hides around corners and giggles? Does his fridge talk? Does he have a levitating psychic butler that completes his needs before he can even express them? I won't ever know.
The night before, at the game night, I’d gotten a glimpse of the lifestyle. We were corralled by half-naked women through a corridor into Rozay's arcade, which held every game imaginable. The most commonly shared mood was pure amazement. Some people were bursting with it, while others were dead silent trying to process the indulgence. I beat a large woman in Tekken as the room filled up. At one point I set out to explore—a process that had lasted all of two minutes before I was intercepted and had to plead that I’d been looking for the bathroom. I saw one room, though: There were all-white couches and three of the largest TVs I’d ever seen hanging side by side, each playing something different. It was beautiful.
Back in the Game Zone, Gunplay was sipping vodka at the bar while a woman dabbed the sweat from his brow and neck with a towel. Fat Trel strolled around the room minding nothing except his bottle. In the home theater, which was different from the TV room I’d found, people packed in to preview a new trailer for the 2pac biopic. All I could think of was how the actor looked like 2pac's little cousin, -1pac. At some point I found myself sitting on the floor next to Rick Ross’s bowling alley drinking Ciroc. What was this place?
At the pool party, I'm playfully tickling the rock-hard breast of a statue in the backyard and I look up to see the don himself cradling a cigar in his teeth as he surveys his kingdom from the central balcony. Is he thinking about the programming on his many TVs? More naked women? The sheer power he holds in his hands at this moment? I'm the only person aware of his presence. We exchange peace signs, and for a moment I feel like we would be great parents together. Like, not a gay couple—just imagine we found a baby and raised it and took it to baseball games. I would teach it how to do flips and interpret poetry; Rick Ross would teach it how to never die ever. It would be sick.
The DJ announces the arrival of the MMG labelmates as if they are wrestlers, and, as entourage after entourage fills in the area around Ross's 350,000 gallon pool, the anticipation for debauchery becomes unbearable. There’s a salvo of southern twerk anthems. At every part of the pool, there is someone shaking their ass. I have to give up on eating my potato salad because a woman's vibrating butt air gets dangerously close. The hazards are immense. Inexplicably, a drone crashes into the water.
Just then, I hear the roar of dirt bikes and jog down the garden yard towards the action. As I near the commotion, a startled security guard positions himself to kick the absolute shit out of me. I can’t figure out why—perhaps because I have an official MMG towel wrapped around my head like a hooligan or maybe because of the hot dog I’m holding like a knife—but it turns out it’s because I’m running at full speed directly toward Nicki Minaj, who has just arrived in all her glory and power. She's glowing but unimpressed, her usual power walk reduced to a carefree, confident stroll. I slow down as I pass, and an inquisitive fart slips out. I witness her majesty up close for just one beautiful moment before continuing on towards the garage and before anyone can smell my ass.
Outside, Nicki's partner Meek Mill revs the engine of an ATV and rides off shirtless into the fields of the estate. He’s joined by dozens of others, including 21 Savage, who rocks a satisfied snarl as he speeds through groups of startled attendees, barely avoiding them. Meek seems focused and happy as his friends take turns riding around with him. His demeanor is that of a man who has never been more aware of who he is than right now.
Three girls feed champagne to their friend who sliced her foot on a shattered bottle. Another group twerks minimally to the faint, distant slaps of "Choppa Style." People help the girl, but only enough to not miss any fun. A golf cart arrives to take her to away, and a collective sigh of "she'll be aight" is shared among us all.
Back at the pool I realize that I’ve stumbled into an absurd and wonderful black Great Gatsby tornado of Ciroc, weed smoke, and barely concealed butt. As the sun began to release its hold, things get interesting. I revisit a pyramid of free burgers from Checkers before nagging another bartender for Ciroc. I love the ‘roc. Pass the ‘roc.
By this point I am Bobby Brown wet lips drunk. I have my shirt pulled up to air out my sweaty torso and I've misplaced a flip-flop. The musclebound, stylish male attendees have loosened up, but my red toenail polish ends most conversations before they can begin. The women are becoming less clothed every few songs.
Rozay dives into the pool, and his gravitational pull takes a squadron of soon-to-be-topless women with him. It ignites a spark. Wale joins the action and uses a bottle of rosé like a shotgun, wildly picking targets ducking in and out of the water like a game of alcoholic whack-a-mole. Ross enjoys himself, but he isn't aloof. He is constantly making sure his loved ones are having the fun. He's a catalyst. Tender but with wolf-like authority. This proves to be the perfect opportunity to shoot a final scene for the video accompanying Ross’s latest anthem "Same Hoes," a song that puts the Mr. Krabs meme effect on half of black Hollywood.
Later, I chat briefly with Omarion in the shade. His positivity is infectious and seemingly without end. No one in his radius can avoid having fun. The beat from "Touch" creeps into my brain as I post up on a staircase and fan myself with a burger. Smiles are abundant, and black excellence is spilling from the brim of the cup.
As the evening comes to a close, I decide to explore the area surrounding the pool enclosure and find myself hanging out in a completely abandoned moon bounce. I try to imagine how short or long the conversation was that led to a fucking moon bounce being approved for this event. Which party planner had to place the order? Which assistant got yelled at because it wasn’t there on time? Was it Ross's idea? I don't think so; I feel like he would have utilized it if that were the case. My calculations say that Gunplay might be the culprit. Honestly, that's the most heartwarming scenario. Maybach Music is where all your dreams can come true. I stare at the horses grazing in the distance, and I burp a little.
Cam Kirk is a photographer based in Atlanta. Follow him on Instagram.
Bootymath is still floating in a pool of Belaire. Follow him on Twitter.