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Rick Ross and the rest of Maybach Music Group

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A beautiful Tuesday night in Indianapolis landed me downtown at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse to enjoy hip hop legend and leader of Maybach Music Group, Rick Ross. I must confess, I truly felt out of my element as I entered the grand venue. My anxieties eased as the pounding of bass began on my way to my seat. Heart-stopping bass and plugging of upcoming artists were about all DJ Scream delivered. His insistent need to stop in the middle of mixing to shout out chants about Machine Gun Kelly, Rick Ross, and the rest of Maybach Music detracted from quality mixes he was producing. Also, he began the trend of plugging these artists newly released studio albums. Honestly, I could not wait for his yelling about MGK being ready to take the stage to hold true. His watered down “DJ” set ended and within minutes MGK took the stage. I was very impressed with his set. His rhymes were very well formed, his stage presence was engaging, and he had a guitarist and drummer highlighted at a certain point. Furthermore, his rapidly delivered rapping didn’t muffle the messages he was attempting to convey. In a hip hop world filled with idealization of money, possessions, and women, MGK held true to his rough Eastside Cleveland upbringing. Which was especially refreshing in a night filled with money, fast cars, and demoralizing banter towards women. MGK was the highlight of the night for me, and an artist I would want to see perform by himself.

After a brief intermission, it was time for Meek Mill and Wale to perform. I didn’t think anything could be worse than DJ Scream, but I was sadly mistaken with these two goofs. They music was mediocre, rhymes poorly choreographed, and was honestly one of the most demeaning actions towards women I’ve ever witnessed. It was kind of sad. Another chunk of time used primarily to promote Maybach Music Group and released albums. In an age where  concern with album sales have gone by the wayside, the constant promotion of studio work seemed like a blast from the past. I must confess, the overt plugging didn’t diminish how energy the crowd was producing. Instead, with every stoppage of music the ruckus of the crowd seemed to increase. Maybe this is what hip hop has morphed in to, but I personally enjoy more music featured in a performance. Rallying the crowd was the one positive I found in their set. Just like DJ Scream continued to chant MGK was about to perform, Meek Mill and Wale constantly informed attendees Mr. Rossè(as they called him) would soon be performing. Also, they’re constant drug references, talk about money and material goods, and demoralizing rhetoric towards women were clichè and shallow. Again, I could not wait for this to finally happen. 

Once Rick Ross(or Ricky Rossè touted by his crew) finally decided to grace the large crowd, the crowd roared as he seemed to just go through the motions. His flatness didn’t quiet the energetic crowd. Fans of all kinds cheered as he featured verses from collaborated hits with other hip hop artists. The portions of these songs only featured his verses and ended each song with a dubbed female voice saying “Maybach Music”. It was perplexing, but was effectively delivered by usage of pyrotechnics, an excellent light show, and confetti blasting cannons. As a maestro conducting his first headlining tour, Ross did an excellent job manning the ship. Until at one point, he exited the stage and left the show in his “wolves” hands. Which was followed by ten minutes of his entourage begging the crowd to make some noise for Ross’s return and constant dropping of the dubbed “Maybach Music”. I guess the crowd achieved his self-fulfilling wishes, because Ross finally reentered the stage. The silliness of what transpired faded as he took me back to my youth with repetition of 2 Live Crew’s famous line: “Face down  a** up, that’s the way I like to f*ck”. Ross did feature some of his own hits, but constantly interrupted the flow of each song with the insertion of “Maybach Music” in the middle of each song. My favorite tracks featured were: “Hustlin”, “So Sophisticated”, and “She Got Me Caught Up In the Moment”. These tracks truly showed his masterful showmanship and sent the crowd into a frenzy. His set continued, but waned on with more “Maybach Music”, plugging of albums, and poorly timed banter.

Honestly, it would have been an amazing show without all of the overtly displayed attempts to sell albums. The lighting was phenomenal and the sound was equally impressive. It was one of the most fun I’ve ever seen crowd having, but in regards to live music presentation it wasn’t impressive. Ross let it be known this was the last leg of the tour and it was obvious touring had taken its toll on Ross and crew. Which is really no excuse for Ross, who is supposed to be the leader of MMG, but appeared most worn down by the touring. Ross performed decently in front of the massive crowd. As an entertainer he fulfilled his duties, but as a musician he failed to meet my expectations. I left the same way I entered, feeling a little out of my element. Machine Gun Kelly stole the show and did so without all the flash and glamour of Ross’ stage setup. Overall, I had a lot of fun attending the show, but musically it was mediocre.  I realize for Ross and company it was more about presentation than the quality of music, and the presentation was perfect.

All photos taken by Phierce Photography by Keith Griner

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Music review:

  • Performer(s): Rick Ross and the rest of Maybach Music Group
  • Venue: Banker’s Life Fieldhouse
  • Sponsors:
  • Concert date: 2012-11-12
  • Review Writer:
  • Editor rating: 5*

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