Rick Ross at Epic Nightclub, 5/18/12
Epic Nightclub, Minneapolis
Friday, May 18, 2012
Since his undeniable hit "Hustlin'" in 2006, Miami's Rick Ross has banked on the legend of his namesake by crafting a string of street anthems touting his wealth and ability to move drugs in large quantities. While the subject matter has certainly been covered ad nauseam in rap music, Ross' displays of excess and towering presence on a beat set him apart from the herd.
Last year saw Ross in town at the Xcel Energy Center with Lil' Wayne, Keri Hilson and Tyga, playing to thousands of fans in a space where rap doesn't really translate. The massive stage show at Xcel included video screens and blaring lights that seemed to ultimately dwarf Ross the performer. Friday's headlining performance at Epic felt far more scaled-down in a way that allowed for the rapper's aura to truly be felt.
Final opener Buddah Bless came out with the most effort in his stage show, complete with props touting his latest album and dancers accenting his songs about ass. The openers vibe served as decent prep, but even Buddah himself seemed to be able to tell that people were getting antsy to see the bawse: "If ya'll ready for Buddah Bless to get the fuck off the stage," said Buddah himself before his final song, "Make some noise!" DJ Enferno returned to spin the hits he'd saved for this portion of the show ("Beez In The Trap", "You Want Deez Rackz", "Same Damn Time", et al), and had as much, if not more, energy than the rappers that preceded, dropping the beat at various moments so he could scream the lyrics and dance along.
It seemed like things got pushed back a little initially (doors hadn't even opened by the time I arrived at 10 p.m., an hour later than posted), but Ross played a substantial set that extended past the official bar close. There was much more personality and individual style showcased here than could possibly have been gleamed from an arena show; the venue was big enough to hold the packed crowd but kept the intimacy necessary for an exciting rap show. It's a rare thing to see one of the top rappers in the game at this level, and he delivered in a way that surpassed my expectations.
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