It’s a few days before Rick Ross announces he’s coming to Fresno’s Save Mart Center. I’m talking to my buddy Sam. Some synth-heavy indie rock song is booming overhead, but for some reason I’m thinking about Rick Ross. Raaaawssssss! (Sorry, can’t resist).
I ask, totally serious, “Does anybody actually like Rick Ross?” What I mean specifically is this: Are there diehard Rick Ross fans? People who wear Rick Ross T-shirts or put things like “Rick Ross is my favorite rapper” in their Twitter profile. Do these people exist? Because I don’t know them.
I know people who say they like Rick Ross because he’s on the radio a lot. Because he’s on the top rappers in the game — whatever that means in 2012. Or because he does songs with Drake. Or because he raps about money and fancy cars and yachts.
Fast forward to right now. Tonight, Ross and his
goon squad clique bring their Maybach Music Group Tour to town. This includes star-in-the-making Meek Mill, perpetual bridesmaid Wale and Machine Gun Kelly, a white dude that Puffy signed who notably went nuts in a Microsoft store. There was a Groupon for tickets last week, so it’s not exactly Bieber Fever up in here. Tickets cost $46.75-$66.75. Does Fresno like Rick Ross that much? Does anybody? Yeah, we’re back to that again.
Here’s the thing about hip-hop: most of it isn’t great live. More-so in an arena. Unless you’re Jay-Z. Hip-hop is best in a club, or smaller setting, where you can trade energy with the rapper on stage oozing bravado. Bravado doesn’t ooze as far as section 218. Particularly when the security guards in the bright yellow shirts mean-mug better than the rappers do.
Maybe I’d go see Rick Ross for $25 at Rainbow Ballroom. But $67? It’s not for me. It is for some folks, I’m sure. Four thousand? Five? I can’t see it reaching six.
Like big-spending Ross, perhaps fans are comfortable “Blowin’ Money Fast.” But is there anyone out there whose had this date circled on their calendar for months? Anyone who is going to plop down $35 for the Rick Ross souvenir T-shirt? Or is he more of a $1-on-iTunes-for-a-song-you-like kinda rapper?
Some more astute hip-hop listeners might think my “meh” on the man they call Rozay goes back to his spat with 50 Cent and all the controversy surrounding how “real” Ross’ lavish lifestyle is. He was famously outed as an ex-correctional office rather than the drug kingpin his music portrays. (Wait, rappers aren’t always the guys they claim to be on their songs? Noooooooooooo!)
But even that’s not it. If you’ll allow me a pro wrestling reference: Ross seems like that guy who’s not quite worthy of being a title holder, but who hung around long enough, so he got a main-event push because it was his “turn.” He collabos with other rap stars. He growls and stomps. He believes his own hype, so eventually the public does too. Well, some of them.
Deciding to not changing the radio station when one of Rick Ross’ songs comes on, that’s one thing. That’s an endorsement by doing nothing. But shelling out upward of $50 to soak in all his bawsssssssss-ness? That’s entirely different.