Sunday Night: Rick Ross At Arena Theatre

Ed. Note: Due to an email malfunction, Shea was unable to send his review until Monday evening.

Rick Ross Arena Theatre October 24, 2010

10:09 p.m.: Just walking in now. Papa Reu is finishing the catchy-but-not-catchy-enough-to-still-get-very-excited-about-hearing-it-live "Put It In The Air" song he's fond of doing and Z-Ro is just starting his endlessly relistenable "Mo City Don Freestyle." That, friends, is what we in the business refer to as perfect timing.

10:11: A couple of the girls behind the media pit are going word for word with Ro. Normally, a girl knowing the words to a thuggin' rap song is disconcerting (no woman has ever looked cute singing a Slim Thug song), however with regards to "Mo City" it's the opposite; it's actually more disconcerting if a woman DOESN'T know the words. You're better off telling a guy that you can be a bit bitey during blow jobs than telling him you don't know the words to that song.

10:17: Reu apparently has a song called "Bumble Bee Booty," in which he contemplates a woman's merit by asking, "What the buzz about?" to which someone responds, "She got a bumble bee booty." Ack. C'mon, Reu. When has an insect-based metaphor ever been a good idea?

10:20: J-Boss is here. And he's dancing. Awesome. J-Boss has quickly risen up the Incidental Rap World Personas We Hope To See At Rap Concerts charts lately. Guys with muscles doing dances are the best.

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10:23: Johnny Dang curtails J-Boss's dancing for a bit by offering up his verse from "Stay Iced Up." Has there ever been a more beloved Vietnamese immigrant turned jeweler turned rapper than Dang? We propose no. You can't see him and not feel excited and happy. You know how it feels when you try to rush through the end of a pee and end up getting a drop or two on your shoes or the fly of your pants? Johnny Dang is the opposite of that feeling.

10:45: "Bone" by Homegurl. You know that song? It's the one with the chorus that goes, "He got a big dick and know how to use it." Is this what being objectified feels like, women? Yak. It's icky. We suppose the more important question, though, is HOW does one with a large penis use it incorrectly? Like, is he sitting around trying to open envelopes or make phone calls with it?

10:54: Booyah. Last Friday we guessed that Ross would take the stage no earlier than 10:45 and no later than 11:08. He's walking out now. We're not certain if guessing this correctly is something that should make us happy or sad. Sad, probably.

10:54:04: Yo, Trae is walking out onto stage with Ross. Excellent. Ross must not've gotten the memo from The Box (their banners are up all over outside the entrance, so we're assuming their hands are in on this show). Nice work, Mr. Ross. You can't do much more for your street image in Houston these days than to bring a modern-day rap martyr on stage with you.

10:56: Ross is wearing a rather unremarkable black zip-up sweater. This is disappointing for some reason.

10:57: Hmmm. Ross elected to open with "MC Hammer," an excellent choice because it's an exciting song, but it's not THE MOST exciting song he does. He follows that up though with "B.M.F.," a curious choice for the second song of his set because it's one of two songs he has that people in the audience said "Even if this show turns to total shit, we absolutely can not leave until he does this song" about.

11:07: And we have our first Pimp C reference. He actually went an admirable amount of time before reaching into that bag. Hand claps, hand claps.

11:09: There's a guy with a duffle bag on stage. He'll occasionally hand Ross a towel to wipe his face with, but that's about all he does. Did Ross really hire a guy to hold sweat towels for him? God, please say so.

11:10: Man, there are far too many guys onstage right now. Rappers, know that it's frustrating as shit when you have a bunch of guys onstage with you, particularly if they're all standing around doing nothing. It's like some of the guys just approached Ross beforehand and were like, "Hey, I know you already have, like, 17 guys that you take on stage with you that already don't do anything constructive, but let me ask you this: Do you have one that does nothing while wearing an orange shirt? No, no you don't? Well you're in luck, because I totally can do that." Stage-standers are the worst. They're the fine girl's fat girlfriend of rap concerts.

11:13: "Aston Martin Music." Drake's chorus here is excellent for the crowd to sing. That's probably not by accident. Teflon Don is a really good album. Ross has crushed the first twenty or so minutes of this show. Good showing now, but he's all but set himself up to have a real lull two-thirds of the way into the set when he starts doing a bunch of tracks nobody is especially interested in hearing. We'll go ahead and lay the odds of him performing an impromptu rerun performance of "B.M.F." near the end of his set when he hits the inevitable drag.

11:15: A guy onstage has a black bandana in his back left pocket. This should be intimidating, because that's the manner in which most gang members carry bandanas. But it isn't, because he has a man-purse slung over his right shoulder, which is the manner in which our mother most often carries her purse.

11:20: "Still uneducated but dammit a nigga made it." -Rick Ross on "Tears of Joy." That is an excellent, great, great line.

11:21: Ross and Trae are doing "Inkredible." Hand claps, hand claps. Okay, can someone please explain how Trae managed to get more stage time at an out-of-towner's show than he did at an all-Houston show championing the historical significance of the SUC, something that he's repped endlessly since the beginning of his career? Everybody recognizes how backwards this situation is, right?

11:21:04: Speaking of, did you see Trae's new video/mini-movie?

11:21:08: And since we're linking to things, here's some goodness from Ro too.

11:29: Uhhh, where's Bun B? Can somebody please page him and ask him to stop by?

11:30: There are some crazy ladies in the first row behind the media pit screaming explicit things at Ross (all flattering, to be sure). What do they look like? Well, just know that no one has ever turned around to see who the women yelling obscenities at a rapper were and been like, "Hmmm, that's a group of good-looking women right there."

11:32: Ross rumbles around the stage in bursts, posing for cameras and smiling intermittently at the crowd (which is far more enjoyable live than we could have reasonably been expected to predict), but he does so with the level of engagement of a man who's thinking a lot about the next song he's about to do a little too regularly; he may be trying to do the "Let Me Walk Around In Silence And Soak In The Adoration" move, but it mostly looks like he's just walking around because he's a tad tired. His show is good because he has monster hits, not because he has a monster personality, and that's a little surprising.

11:37: Boom. He just re-upped "B.M.F."

11:40-ish: Show's over. Tonight had a lot of things in its favor -Ricky Rozay is probably one of the five most popular rappers in the world at the moment; Teflon Don is one of the year's best albums; etc--but this concert still ended up hovering closer to obviously good than obviously great (which it certainly had the potential to be).

Personal Bias: Ross' Port of Miami is probably one of our 15 favorite albums of all time.

The Crowd: Featured far more women than you're probably picturing in your brain right now. Kudos to him for that.

Overheard in the Crowd: Lots, but nothing too interesting. One lady did shout at Ross, "Let me hit it from the back!" Actually, yeah, that's kind of interesting.

Random Notebook Dump: Our sons have gotten fairly good at identifying rappers on the computer screen. We showed them a picture of Ross and asked them who it was. Boy B's response: Waternoose, the bad guy from Monsters, Inc.

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