Friday, December 7, 2012

Chart-topping and recently Grammy-nominated rapper Rick Ross's street cred is taking a beating today. Yesterday afternoon, Live Nation announced that The Maybach Music Group tour concerts, featuring Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, and Machine Gun Kelly, scheduled for Friday, December 7 at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro and Saturday, December 8 at Bojangles’ Coliseum here in Charlotte have been cancelled. Though Live Nation didn't give an explanation, other than to say that tickets would be refunded, media outlets began to link the North Carolina show cancellations to ongoing and recent death threats made against the rapper by a gang known as the Gangster Disciples.

I'm not going to get into what the alleged beef is about (you can watch a couple of the many Gangster Disciples' YouTube video threats against Ross by clicking here and here), but what's interesting is how several leading news/entertainment websites began running the headlines last evening on through today, that are some variation of "Rick Ross Cancels North Carolina Tour Dates After Death Threats." You can find the articles at MTV, Rolling Stone, E!, XXL, Vibe, just to name a few. Most of them took the early reports by NBC Charlotte (WCNC) / The Charlotte Observer and ran with them.

And they're all giving the gang members too much credit.

After the news broke, awesome FOX Charlotte anchor Morgan Fogarty emailed me yesterday and asked if I would comment on Ross cancelling his North Carolina shows, for a story on her 10 p.m. newscast. I met Morgan and her cameraman in Uptown shortly before 6 p.m. to tape the interview (she also interviewed Power 98's Nolimit Larry). Even though I was just learning of the shows' cancellation like everyone else, my experience in covering entertainment led me to doubt that the concerts were being cancelled because of the threats made by gang members.

Are gangs to be taken seriously? Yes. Are the Gangster Disciples scary? Absolutely. But they've been posting those videos threatening Rick Ross since at least back in October. And the concerts in North Carolina didn't get cancelled until this week, a couple days before they were scheduled to take place. Sounds fishy.

When I talked to Morgan last evening, I told her, among other things (this blog allows me to elaborate more than TV soundbites), I believed the promoter cancelled the shows because of low ticket sales. My assumption was that because Ross, Meek, and Wale have been to Charlotte and Greensboro several times in the past year, the concerts that were planned for this weekend probably weren't drawing much interest.

I know about the Charlotte visits particularly well--heck, Ross and Meek performed at Bojangles' in March while the 2012 CIAA Tournament was in town, when Ross also proceeded to host at least four Charlotte parties over three days. Then Ross returned to Charlotte in June, when he headlined the 2012 Dub Show Tour at Charlotte Convention Center, and hosted an after-party at Club 935. So he's saturated this market all by himself. Not to mention, his MMG artist Meek Mill was a part of Drake's Club Paradise Tour that stopped at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in May. Wale also had a concert during CIAA Weekend in March at The Fillmore.

Morgan Fogarty interviewing me.

One other thing. You might recall that last year rapper Waka Flocka Flame had his tour bus shot up while he was in Charlotte. Three months later he was back here performing at the Dub Show Tour and hosting an after-party. That led me to ask, "Why, Waka?"

Some might say, Waka came to Charlotte when it was potentially dangerous, but Ross didn't. In hip hop, street credibility is (foolishly) all-too important. The difference here, however, is the money. Low ticket sales led to the cancellation of the North Carolina shows for this weekend, and I don't care how many news headlines claim the contrary. Ross, who was also scheduled to host an after-party this Saturday night at Club 935, is being clowned by many people on social media sites for the cancellations. He hasn't commented on the controversy yet, other than this tweet last night:

Most importantly, as I often say, the hip hop community (primarily, the African-American race) needs to once and for all stop condoning and supporting the violence in hip hop music's lyrics, videos, and culture. I've been a fan of hip hop forever, and always will be. Have I ever bought a Rick Ross album? No. Have I ever bought a Waka Flaka album? No. And I don't plan to. Hip hop isn't the blame for all violence that goes on in the culture, and people are absolutely responsible for their individual actions. But you'd be a fool to ignore the correlations between what goes on in hip hop music and what takes place in the streets.

Because album sales have decreased dramatically over the last six or seven years, artists are hitting the road more and more because concerts are one of the ways they continue to successfully make money. Though the decrease in album sales is largely attributed to Internet piracy and a new generation of fans who, when they decide to pay for music, prefer to buy single songs online (mp3s) as oppose to whole albums, no genre of music has seen its album sales decline as much as hip hop. I'd like to believe that fans--many of whom aren't African-American--are being turned off by all of the ignorant talk, drug references, glorification of violence, and misogyny towards women. And it might finally be also affecting the turnout at concerts.

Waka Flaka was scheduled to perform at The Fillmore just last month, but that show was cancelled too.

By the way, if you don't understand the first part of the headline of this blog post, watch this Rick Ross music video

UPDATE 12/11/12
Rick Ross spoke at-length about the cancelled tour dates and situation with the Gangster Disciples in this interview with 99 Jamz radio station in his hometown of Miami. In summary, he explains that he cancelled the tour dates because of a promoter who wasn't handling business effectively and not because of gang threats. He makes it clear that he isn't scared--he's a bawse, he says repeatedly. "I was just in Chicago a week and a half ago. That's the birthplace of the G.D.s. And if I'll go to Chicago to handle my business like I did, I have no problem going to North Carolina or South Carolina.... I'm certified worldwide. I can put a thousand gangsters in any hood. But that ain't what I'm here for. I'm here to make stars, I'm here to make icons, I'm here to break records. I'm here to be Grammy nominated," he says.


  1. hip hop sales are tumbling because most mainstream top 40 stations dont play hip hop anymore.

    i live in milwaukee, wi. 103.7 kiss fm is the biggest station here and it was pretty much the go to station to hear all the new hip hop artists. now theyve switched over to pop/dance/soft rock.

  2. You are an idiot sir.

  3. I agree with the other anonymous, he was just recently shot at in florida. He didn't just name drop larry hoover he said I think I'm big meech, Larry Hoover. There's a difference between referring to yourself as a gang leader and just dropping their name

  4. 103.7 is not the place for hip hop in milwaukee. V100.7 is the biggest station for hip hop and rap. Clearly you know nothing about hip hop.

  5. Good comment thread, guys.


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