Rap artist Rick Ross and pop rock band COIN performed in this year’s Hoptoberfest concert on Oct. 14. To be honest, ahead of this concert, I had never heard of either Rick Ross or COIN. Their most well-known tracks, “Talk Too Much” by COIN and “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross, were vaguely familiar to me, but not to the extent that I could sing along or shout the lyrics at a concert. However, I figured that a free concert was a free concert, so I went.
And I am so glad I went. In the first hour of the concert, a DJ played throwback hits like “Low” by Flo Rida and “22” by Taylor Swift to get the crowd energized. While I did end up wondering about half an hour in whether the other artists were going to perform, it was a great introduction. It was super fun to dance and shout the lyrics to songs everyone in the crowd knew, and it built up the excitement for the concert to come.
Unfortunately, that energy took a swan dive when Rick Ross took to the stage. It was honestly so disappointing. When he emerged, the crowd got excited and whipped out their cell phones to take pictures. But, about halfway through the first song, the crowd’s cheering mostly faded to a low, murmuring buzz, except for a few more energetic audience members.
I suspect this is because it’s hard to sing along to rap when you don’t know the songs. You can’t really fake knowing the lyrics, so vibing with the song turns into a lot of head bobbing and swaying. If I were to attend this concert again, I would have spent more time learning some of the lyrics to minimize the awkward dancing on my part.
However, I really loved watching Rick Ross perform, even without knowing much of his discography. I got to understand what was important to him, both as an artist and a person. Ross clearly was proud of his self-made artistic identity and made multiple references to his work ethic that made him successful. There was a clear theme of working hard for his current lifestyle.
This shined through in his visual accompaniments on stage and segues from one song to the next. Notably, in these segues, Ross also paid tribute to rappers who have passed away, like Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. He also referenced the late Kobe Bryant in a performance of his new song “SHAQ & KOBE.”
After Ross left the stage, there was about a fifteen-minute delay before COIN started to play. Immediately, the energy was cranked back up. The lead singer, Chase Lawrence, showcased his charisma by dancing around onstage and, at one point, even climbed onto the drum set to (literally) elevate his performance.
The whole band was great at engaging the audience, and it was fun to just watch them. One particularly memorable moment in the performance was when Lawrence made a shoutout to COIN’s lead guitarist, Joe Memmel, who is from Baltimore, and the crowd erupted in chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!” Lawrence even remembered the “s” at the end of the “Johns” in Johns Hopkins, so that’s always a crowd-pleaser.
Even though I didn’t really know their songs, the choruses were catchy and easy to learn. By the end of the songs, I felt like I could sing along and flub my way through the lyrics, which made listening even more fun. By the time the concert ended, I felt like I had a good sense of their style and identity as a band. Many of the songs they performed were upbeat rhythmically, but, lyrically, they explored doomed and failed romantic relationships.
All in all, I really enjoyed this concert. COIN and Rick Ross together were certainly an interesting combination, and though I wouldn’t have thought pairing them together would work, it did. It was amazing to see them perform live, and I’ve already added some Rick Ross and COIN songs to my playlists. I’m definitely looking forward to attending the Spring Fair concert next semester.