Rick Ross and Lira Mercer: Duke and Duchess of the ATL

Rick Ross and Lira Mercer: Duke and Duchess of the ATL

The couple channel their inner Lord and Lady of the Manor.

by Abby Schreiber / photography by Diwang Valdez / styling by Talia Coles and Shawn Borrero

In a regal photo shoot on Rick Ross' Atlanta area estate, the rapper and his fiancée Lira Mercer give new meaning to Southern Comfort.

Rapper Rick Ross may be known for his lavish tastes (think: Maybachs and cigars), but coinciding with the release of his new album, Black Market (out today via Def Jam), the Boss wanted to show off a more refined side to his over-the-top lifestyle. In this photo series shot on the rapper's massive Atlanta-area estate, Ross and his fiancee Lira Mercer channel their inner Lord and Lady of the Manor, complete with monogrammed sweaters and updated riding habits, and teach us a thing or two about contemporary Southern elegance in the process.

Tell us about Black Market.

This is most definitely the best of the best. This is the caviar of the rap game. I have some incredible collaborations with folks like Nas, John Legend and Chris Brown, and the album is soulfully thick in terms of the layers of the music and the production.

The theme of our photo shoot was "elegance." How do you define that term?

I believe elegance is based on the individual's taste, not necessarily the dollar sign.You could have a candle-lit dinner at the park that can be more memorable than a private jet trip to Bora Bora.

What is the craziest thing you've done all year?

I was incarcerated and I was in solitary confinement 24 hours a day with a light on above me. A young lady was unfortunately arrested as well and put in isolation across from me. One night, I just woke up and screamed across and asked her to sing [the Arrested Development song] "Tennessee,"and she did it for me three times back to back. Another crazy thing I've done this year was go out on my yacht, Rich Forever. I wanted to jump out into the water, so I did, but for some reason I felt so comfortable and relaxed that I drifted away a little too much. I felt like I fought for my life for 15 minutes to get back on that fucking yacht. Definitely some shit that I won't do again.

What's something no one knows about you?

That I still collect action figures and play video games. I make sure I have all the Transformers, the ThunderCats... I have a nice spot set up for them at home.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

I ate some fried snapper, salmon croquettes, turkey bacon, eggs, grits. I got all the homies here at my house and we're working on the album, so the chef just made a big soul-food breakfast. But on a normal morning, I keep it light. I probably have like three egg whites and a chicken breast and I'm good.

What's the most amazing thing about being you?

The positive influence that I bring. It's the entrepreneurial spirit and the underdog finally seeing the day of light. That's one of my biggest assets.

On the flip side, what's the most stressful thing about being you?

I overextend myself. Of course, I love my obligations with my immediate family and my artists, but I go well beyond that. But it's a great problem to have.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I've totally been into Narcos for the last month. I love it.

What's the weirdest thing you've read about yourself online?

You see a lot on the Internet so if it's not going to directly affect my business partners [or me], I hardly reach out to correct someone. Instead, my music is used to clarify any bullshit. But I actually woke up recently and read a blog that said me and Lira separated and it involved another rapper. Of course, that was totally fabricated. There was nothing she did to me and vice versa. I got nothing but love and respect for Lira.

Grooming: Peter Graham

Makeup: Angie Martinez Soto

Hair: Kellon Deryck

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