After scoring several acquittals throughout the ’80s, reputed New York mobster John Gotti was nicknamed the “Teflon Don” because of his apparent inability to get convicted. Decades later, Miami MC Rick Ross has adopted the moniker for the title of his latest album; however, a member of Gotti’s family is not happy with the use of the late mob boss’ handle.
“He should have asked for permission,” Gotti’s grandson Carmine Agnello told the New York Daily News. “A stand-up, respectable guy would come and ask, ‘If I could use the nickname.’ ” Agnello also implied that lifting the mob boss’ moniker was an unoriginal choice on Ross’ part. “I think he’s a great artist, but you can’t just start calling yourself that to sell records,” Agnello said. “He wants to go for that whole image, but hey, be yourself.” Agnello added, “My grandfather paid his dues for that nickname. That was my grandfather’s life.”
Agnello also took a dig at Ross’ controversial pre-rap career as a prison guard and said, “Only in America can you go from being a corrections officer to calling yourself Teflon Don.”
A rep for Ross did not respond to MTV News’ request for comment at press time.
Although the moniker is often associated with the headline-making mob honcho, Ross said the title has personal significance. “A lot of people don’t know Teflon Don was my original rap name,” Ross told MTV News in January. “So it’s coming back around full-circle.”
While Agnello has taken issue with Ross’ adoption of the Teflon Don title, it’s not the first time the Miami MC has woven notorious gangster references into his hip-hop persona. Ross recently released the mixtape, The Albert Anastasia EP, the title of which is a nod to another New York mobster. Ross was also reportedly sued by the infamous drug pusher Ricky Ross for using his namesake.