An old white man with forearm tattoos and hoop earrings stands in front of a small house in St. Petersburg. He holds a cigarette in one hand and a plastic cup in the other. With the growl of Kodak Black behind him, he rocks to the light percussion and mouths, "Have you ever made love to a real hitta?" A few seconds later, he hangs out beside a muscle car as two young women grind against him. He looks into the camera and raises his cup.
The man's name is never mentioned, but he's the star of Florida rapper Plies' latest video, "Real Hitta." With almost 9 million views since its release three weeks ago, the viral clip also features a busty bikini model, a military man, and a sorority redhead. Even so, only one cameo has social media going crazy. The question on everyone's mind is who's the old white guy?
He's so far turned down interview requests from MTV and his local Tallahassee Democrat and would only let New Times speak directly to William Stander, his friend and unofficial publicist. ("We like the New Times," Stander says. "You guys are edgier.")
Stander filled in some of the blanks about the backstory of the most unlikely breakout hip-hop star in America.
His real name is Bruce Martin Ryan, and he's a 58-year-old IT manager from Tallahassee. On weekdays, he works in an office for the Florida Bankers Association, but after hours, he goes by OG Magnum, though YouTube commenters call him "Savage Grandpa."
The "Magnum" refers to his Dodge Magnum Hemi, a big-engined muscle car that can go for $25,000 used on the market. As for the "OG"? "Well, that's earned," Stander says.
Though he never lived there, Ryan was born in Denver. His mother, who is Costa Rican, and his American father had previously been living in Cuba but left while she was pregnant. They quickly moved to a town near Fort Lauderdale, where Ryan spent his youth.
"I grew up on the strip, cruising cars and listening to loud ass music," Ryan writes in a text. "What's changed lol."
Ryan joined the Navy for a six-year stint during which he served as a boatswain's mate and then earned a bachelor's degree in computer science at UC Berkeley. But he never forgot his roots. He returned to Florida, settling in Tallahassee and starting a family. By the time his son was older, the two shared a love for custom cars, and in 2005, Ryan bought his first Magnum.
"He's been competing in car shows ever since," Stander says.
Custom shows are all about the modifications, Ryan says. There are categories like best looks, best sound system, best rims. “It’s a good time, even kids come,” Ryan says. He regularly shows up to support the contestants, though his own Magnum has also won some “hardware.” After snagging a couple of titles, he was inducted into Nokturnal Car Club’s Florida branch, became the president and CEO of the Florida Custom Car Association, and even began running Florida Whips, a car events channel. (That Instagram account has more than 116,000 followers.)
"The thing with Bruce is it started with a car,” Stander says. “Now it’s about acceptance and love. That’s what he wants to share with his fans.”
In the past few months, Ryan has been picking up traction on social media, mostly on Instagram, where he has 45,000 followers.
His fans love him not only for his promotion of Florida's custom car culture but also for his deep knowledge of trap hip-hop and for the videos in which he lip-syncs and grooves to big-name artists. Ryan's latest clip, which made it to Worldstar Hip Hop's site, has him and his Magnum entourage rolling up to a gas station with Top Floor's "Same Cloth" blasting in the background. The video has surpassed 20 million views.
Ryan already has a copycat impostor by the name of TJ on both Instagram and Facebook, who’s stealing Ryan's photos and videos. “We’re trying to figure it out, but Facebook is very ineffective in shutting down fake accounts,” Stander says. “We might get an intellectual property lawyer to file a cease-and-desist. We’re considering all our options.”
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SHOW ME HOW
Yesterday Ryan released a Facebook video from his office desk to set the record straight: “They can imitate, but they can’t duplicate!!” he wrote.
“It takes time and effort to earn respect,” Stander says, and Ryan has paid his dues. Just last week, Tallahassee PD slapped him with a traffic ticket for having altered headlights.
“Ticket dismissed,” Ryan wrote in a post. “I guess being a little ‘famous’ helps.”
Correction: Several details in this story were corrected after publication. These include the color of his headlights, the content of his earnings, and the order in which he served in the military and attended college. We regret the errors.