The Bomb Factory, Dallas
Saturday, December 26, 2015
If you start to dissect Rick Ross’ career, there’s a lot of room for debate about his place in hip-hop. The conversation generally centers around authenticity. You know, whether or not he was a correctional officer in a past life or whether or not you believe it’s OK for him to profit off the name of a notorious Miami drug dealer whom he’s never been willing to acknowledge publicly. But if you bought a ticket to see Rick Ross at The Bomb Factory on Saturday night, it’s because you’ve accepted that the only thing that really matters is that for almost 10 years now, Ricky Rozay has hit records on top of hit records and has done so with a larger-than-life persona that is worth seeing in person.
From the get-go Da Boss certainly didn’t let anyone down on those two points. On the first drop of the 808 for “I’ma Boss,” the Dade County rapper walked onto the stage with superstar swagger, draped in gold chains and pinky rings, and he was greeted with cheers from an adoring crowd. Like any good performer should do, Ross reciprocated the crowd’s enthusiasm with a high-energy, enthusiastic performance, taking moments to bask in the crowd’s adoration and pose for the cameras.
This is a rarity in itself from a rapper. It’s all too common for some to be caught up in braggadocio and play it too cool for an audience and put on a boring, lackluster performance. Instead, Ross was all over the stage working every side of the venue, so much so that he worked himself into a heavy sweat that left his shirt completely drenched by the end of his 45-minute set, which may or may not have felt too short.
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Although it’s a favorite discussion of the Internet, looking at Ross, it’s apparent that he’s undergone a significant weight loss recently upwards of 100 pounds and while we’ve never seen him perform in a venue, it’s worth considering that his newfound health played a role in his strong performance. Not only did he ham it up for the crowd but he actually rapped his songs live instead of letting a backing track do all the work.
It really was a rare occasion to see Ross in a venue. For a rapper who’s only known superstar success since he jumped into the limelight in 2006 with “Hustlin’” and consistently has one or two records on heavy rotation on radio stations across the country, he typically makes appearances at nightclubs. And we’re careful to use the word “appearance” because unless it’s an event like Summer Jam, The Governors Ball or a small tour it’s rare to see him put on a full set. The last time he was in Dallas was January 2014 at the now-closed Beamers where he didn’t perform and simply made an appearance. This says one of two things about Dallas right now: Either the city’s hip-hop clubs are in a weak state or Dallas’ venues, like The Bomb Factory, really are the premier destination for anyone — even rappers who rarely play them.
Whether in a venue or a club, one thing is clear: Ross is close to approaching legendary status. During the set, Ross quickly worked through a plethora of hits from his 10-year career including “All I Do Is Win,” “I’m on One,” “Stay Schemin’,” “Bugatti,” “Pop That” and “Sun Come Up.” Even though he just released a new album titled Black Market, he didn’t seem too interested in performing tracks from the project, which is a little odd because this latest work features some of his best and smartest lyrics and shows there’s a possibility for him to continue to evolve as he reaches a new era in his career.
It wouldn’t have been a real rap show, though, if Ross didn’t take time to address his detractors. With a couple of monumental quotes, Ross asked the crowd, “Which one of you rappers made Forbes' list on house arrest?” then followed it up with. “Which one of you rappers made 10 other rappers rich?” It’s the kind of ostentatiousness that’s made Ross who he is and on Saturday night he brought it all to the stage and presented a case for his spot at the forefront of hip-hop.