The Boss ‘Rick Ross’ coming to H-Town

You Zimbabwe! and Harare (H-town) to be precise, not Harlem or Houston in the United States.

Well, Houston is where rapper Rick Ross, real name William Leonard Roberts II’s much influence came from after listening to rap artistes such as Mike Jones and Paul Wall, who perfected the techniques of “chopping” music and became unexpectedly commercial.  Back to Harare.

Yesterday the world stood still after the release of the much awaited movie sequel ‘‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’’.  Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in premièring the movie which fans have described as a “Perfect Final Farewell’ to Chadwick Boseman.

The movie is the sequel of the 2018 movie “Black Panther” and is said to be a tribute to late actor Boseman who played Black Panther/T’Challa.   Boseman passed away due to cancer before completing the shoot of the sequel.

Fans had huge expectations from the movie as it would carry on Chadwick’s legacy and it looked like fans were quite emotional about it.  It seems the premier of the movie was the biggest event the world over.

Still on the showbiz radar, it’s a week away before the biggest show in town happens.  Arguably the biggest musical event since the Akon-Sean Paul monster National Sports Stadium gig, is finally here.

Although the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) is not as big as the National Sports Stadium, it is still a gigantic venue considering the entry fee for Rick Ross’ show.  With the lowest priced ticket pegged at US$35, only an artiste of ‘‘The Boss’’ Rick Ross’ stature can attract a full house at HICC.

Many other foreign musicians have struggled to fill up the HICC while charging way less than the American superstar is demanding.

A VIP tag will set one back US$150, while VVIP tables require one to fork out up to US$5 000.

There are also VVIP gold tables going for US$4 000 each and VVIP silver sitting for US$3 000 a table.  The hefty fees, enough to buy a decent second hand vehicle, are justified though.

The VVIP premium ticket gives 10 people an opportunity to be up close with the American superstar and come with 10 Belaire champagne bottles.

Further, these A-list show-goers will be provided with full time professional and personalised security throughout the event.  Even MTV Base, the leading youth entertainment television brand, is part of this mammoth show.

They have taken over and will be running the red carpet, where the well-heeled and the affluent will get to show off their designer outfits.

Already, some local celebrities and fashion buffs have a headache on what to wear and can’t wait to showcase their strut.

Ms Shally, a veteran entertainment consultant and spokesperson for Roar Entertainment, the company behind the American singer’s mega Harare show, told The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle that the event had attracted interest from many other African countries.

“This is not just a Zimbabwean event,” she said. “We have people from all over Africa inquiring about the event. Some have already bought tickets to this show. It is like a Southern African event.”

Supported by BetterBrands Petroleum, BancABC, Heavy Rotation, Belaire and Star FM — Friday’s event is set to be a momentous affair, up there with the Phat Joe/Ciara/Lil Kim show.  In terms of entertainment value, music lovers await to see if it will live up to its billing.

Live show enthusiasts who spoke to The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle expressed excitement at the prospect of watching Rick Ross performing live in the capital.  In their excitement, they were also cautious on what to expect from the show.

“We have seen many shoddy performances by these international stars,” said Tiara, a budding female hip-hop artist. “They get away with it because we are often too star struck and happy just to see them. Rick Ross must deliver on Friday.”

Then on to the hip-hop factor!  Rick Ross’s visit to Zimbabwe comes at a time when Zim Hip-Hop is on the rise and appears to be unstoppable.

While Zimdancehall, an offshoot of the larger reggae-dancehall genre, has had its time in the sun for a prolonged period — it appears this may be Zim Hip-Hop’s time to shine.

And there is no bigger endorsement than having multi-Grammy award winner, ‘‘Rozay” Rick Ross, put a stamp of approval on the genre.

From South Africa, Nasty C will witness the coming of age of a genre that he has helped nurture through collaborations and a few shows supported by rising local stars, some of whom he will definitely recognise.

A debate is ragging, as was expected, about which artiste would have represented Zimbabwe better on Friday when Rick Ross and Nasty C perform.   But that is neither here nor there, as the duo of Takura and Holy 10 appears to be the hottest pair of voices in that genre at the moment.

Rising star Nutty O will represent the Zimdancehall genre, to complete a stellar line-up that appears to be worth every penny show-goers are forking out to attend.  DJs King Her, Madeherbelieve and Rimo are the chosen few to be on the turntables on Friday night.

According to a close source, Nutty O will be the opening act for The Boss.  Nutty O said in an interview that he was not intimidated by the other hip hop artistes on the line up as his music is intertwined.

“I am happy to be performing along with some of the country’s great musicians, regional and international superstars. Definitely, expect fireworks and we are one family.

To me music is not about competition, but we compliment each other,” said the ‘‘Handipere Power’’ hit maker.

Organisers of the event did not want to disclose how much they paid Rick Ross to perform in Zimbabwe or what were some of his demands at the show.

From previous shows he has held in other countries, it seems the musician is not trivial about what he likes on the show compared to his counterparts such as Usher, Beyonce, Dj Khaled etc.

In 2018, according to Face2Face Africa, news spread quickly about a Rick Ross concert in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.   It wasn’t for the fact that “The Boss” was coming to the East African nation, but for a list of demands he allegedly made ahead of the concert.

Rick Ross, was alleged to have demanded among other things: a presidential suite, three floors of a five-star hotel, round the clock services of a butler and a personal chef, a helicopter, 30 air tickets, 10 first class four tinted vans driven by licenced chauffeurs, a shutdown of two major roads, 1 500 fresh towels and 3 500 bottles of premium alcohol.  It was said Rick Ross threatened not to attend the concert Kenyan unless the demands were met.

The organisers of the Kenyan concert, NRGWave, denied the rumours and urged the public to stop spreading the outrageous list of demands.   Rick Ross himself denied the rumour in a Twitter reply, saying they were “false demands”.

But superstar musicians are famed for making such outrageous demands ahead of concerts.   Seems he is a humble guy.   Since his major studio debut, Rick Ross has been a force to reckon with on the international music scene.

His sound has evolved, he has experimented with various cadences and tried to shift gears on his content focus in later years, but Rick Ross has displayed a gradual rise to prominence that saw its commercial peak between the years of 2010 and 2013.

Although he may no longer be at his peak popularity right now — it’s hard for any artiste to maintain the height of their popularity no matter their current stature — Rick Ross has made sure to show growth, and thus his fanbase has had to evolve alongside him, or else be left in the dust from ’09 bangers.

According to HHH, over the years we have basically been able to watch Renzel rise up from impressionable runner, to kingpin, to OG in this little game called Hip-Hop, and he’s accomplished it all with an imitable style — there may be a dozen future wannabes, and some may be close enough to simulate the real thing, but we have never had an artiste really attempt to replicate the character that is Rick Ross.  This is the same artiste who gifted us with playlist mainstays such as “BMF,” “Hustlin’,” and the famous “Maybach Music” series.

With a keen and consistent ear for beats, he’s built a catalog that bears cohesiveness without the cliché of an overarching theme —  a difficult task that has placed many of the South Florida-reared rapper’s contemporaries at a serious disadvantage.

With a catalogue outfitted with nine studio albums and seven mixtapes, it could be hard trying to navigate the repertoire of the M-M-M-Maybach Music Group honcho.

There are so many cuts that could easily represent the rags to riches narrative present throughout Roberts’ impressive run, but for better or for worse, we have put together a list of songs from Rick Ross that define his career, and his best work to date.   All the records belong to Rick Ross first, but may contain features.

What the following tracks represent are the unanimous highlights of each stage of Rick Ross, with some phases populating the mix more than others.   “Rich Forever” is definitive Rick Ross. There’s no debating this.

“Holy Ghost,” featuring Diddy, takes on the former as the Bugatti Boyz deliver on an outing that alludes to Ross’ Christian background in a storm of well-written double entendres and metaphors.

“They say I’m gettin’ money, must be Illuminati/Talking to the Holy Ghost, in my Bugatti/He knockin’ on the do’ don’t let the Devil in/He knockin’ on the do’ don’t let the Devil in,” Ricky lets off on the hook.

At the time “Holy Ghost” was one of a few cuts that emerged from an era of Rozay/Puff collaborations, following 2009’s signing of Rick to Puff’s Ciroc Entertainment management company.

What their collaborations often entailed was the aforementioned focus on the lavish way of life and Puffy’s signature rants of wisdom, and “Holy Ghost” doesn’t stray from that formula.

In discussing Rick Ross, the debate over which outing of the Maybach Music series prevails as the best can’t be left alone.   For the purpose of this list, we’ll have to settle on “Maybach Music II.”

The recipe for success was a metaphor-packed Lil Wayne, a T-Pain who, in his prime, served as everyone’s de facto choice for hooks, a Kanye West who was quickly approaching his most controversial era outside of music, and a Rick Ross who had settled into a signature sound.

In the case of Renzel, “Maybach Music II” managed to outdo its Jay-Z-assisted predecessor, and outlive the iterations to follow, even that forgotten 2.5 edition with Fab, Birdman, and King Push


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