Rick Ross - Zouk - 8/9/12

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Rick Ross Zouk Thursday, August 9

Celebrating the release of his God Forgives, I Don't album Thursday night, the big boss Ricky Ross made his way to mega-club Zouk in style, putting on a performance that rumbled the outermost walls of the venue as loud as his signature grunts rattle one's speakers.

Arguably the biggest hip-hop artist in the world, Rick Ross arrived at 1 a.m. with a deep entourage reminiscent of something out of The Godfather. Sauntering slowly onto the elevated platform filled with smoke and expensive bottles of champagne, he appeared in all black, head to toe, his jewelry glistening amongst a barrage of iPhone flashes.

Club promoters were incessantly yelling, "Rick Ross is in the building" over an amalgam of air horns and audio-simulated gun shots while Ross circled the table like a vulture viewing the bottles and the crowd. He bobbed his head slowly, rocking back in forth back in place to "Blowing Money Fast" until he finally addressed the crowd. There was a silence, then "Let's hear it one time for Dallas." The crowd erupted.

Ross went through some of his biggest hits to date, starting with "Hold Me Back," a gritty street anthem encouraging listeners to press on even when they face adversity. Then came "911," an ode to the Porsche 911 and all the clout that comes with it. Ross also performed "Bag of Money" featuring T-Pain, a radio-friendly single that likens beautiful women a bag of money. Yes, a physical bag of money. I guess bags of money are beautiful? Does it depend on the fabric of the bag? Probably not.

He ended his set with "9 Piece" featuring Lil Wayne, the entire venue singing along a capella to his verses, Ross orchestrating the crowd like a symphony.

Despite critics' doubts about Ross' background and credentials, there's an immediacy of the music. Like all great pop music, rap is now theatre, and Ross is playing a character. He's hip-hop's current conductor, proving once again last night why he's called "the boss." I don't expect him to pass the baton anytime soon.

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