RICK ROSS at Rozz Entertainment Complex, Saturday, January 15. Rating: NNN
A snow-dusted strip mall in Brampton's industrial outer reaches was the place to catch Rick Ross, the Miami rapper who's risen to hip-hop royalty thanks to a string of hit singles and year-end accolades for his fourth album, Teflon Don.
Following a ragtag succession of local openers, the gruff-voiced MC came out swinging at 12:45 am with single MC Hammer, and the crowd lit up - literally. The bass rattled, the gain pushed the sound system to its limits and the crowd rapped along.
Ross, flanked by two towel handlers, has an imposing stature that's integral to the larger-than-life character he describes in his grim, delusional rhymes. But while his stage presence seems effortless, he could work on reading the crowd. Top-loaded with hits, the set lost momentum with less familiar (but no less excellent) cuts from new mix tape Ashes To Ashes, and ended on an oddly soulful note with Tears Of Joy.