There's a surprisingly rich historical record of extremely famous people failing to recognize other extremely famous people, a phenomenon that only seems possible to occur to someone with so much money, and such an unbelievably dope life, they just don't have to give a shit about a celebrity pretty much anyone else would easily spot on the street. For a while, Goldie Hawn had no idea who Amy Schumer was; Rami Malek danced with Bella Hadid once and didn't realize she was famous; Phil Collins went years without even having heard of Adele. But perhaps no celebrity-meets-celebrity-without-knowing-it story is so rich, or so pure, as the time Rick Ross got extremely high with Justin Vernon and thought he was just some "hippy motherfucker" with a beard.
On Wednesday, the Fader published an excerpt from Ross's new memoir, Hurricanes, all about the time he went to Hawaii to help Kanye West record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Ross (with the help of his coauthor, Neil Martinez-Belkin) writes about finagling his way onto "Monster," which—unbeknownst to him—features Vernon on the intro.
The next thing I knew I was in a closet with this cool bearded white brother getting ready to record. I’d seen this guy working out of this tiny room in the back. He’d been there since I got there. I figured he must be a stand-in for Mike Dean—Kanye’s main engineer who hadn’t gotten to Hawaii yet—but it turned out he was the voice behind the distorted vocals on the song’s intro. We ended up smoking a whole bunch of joints and kicking the shit while I laid down my little verse.
This hippy motherfucker ended up being Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver. But I didn’t find that out until later. During the time we spent working together I had no clue who he was and I didn’t think to ask.
So there you have it: Rick Ross got absurdly stoned with a two-time Grammy Award winner—one of the biggest names in indie music—and thought he was basically a temp. Incredible.
There are a few other gems in the excerpt—at one point, Ross explains how he came up with his verse on "Devil in a New Dress"; at another, he talks about connecting Kanye with Pusha T—but maybe the greatest detail is Ross's description of the signs Kanye had taped up all over the studio, one of the most Kanye things Kanye has ever done.
The first thing I noticed were all these signs Kanye had put up on the walls.
NO HIPSTER HATS
ALL LAPTOPS ON MUTE
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP SOMETIMES
NO TWEETING PLEASE THANK YOU
NO NEGATIVE BLOG VIEWING
DON’T TELL ANYONE ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING WE’RE DOING!
NO RACKING FOCUS WHILE MUSIC IS BEING PLAYED OR MUSIC IS BEING MADE
TOTAL FOCUS ON THIS PROJECT IN ALL STUDIOS
NO ACOUSTIC GUITAR IN THE STUDIO
I'm not sure what "racking focus" means or exactly what constitutes a "hipster hat," but no one can argue with the eternal wisdom of "just shut the fuck up sometimes." Put that on my tombstone.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.