Rick Ross lived up to the hype Monday night.
The Carol City rapper was joined by family, friends and entertainment insiders to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his debut studio album, “Port of Miami,” at the Treetop Ballroom at Jungle Island — with a sweet view of (you guessed it) the Port of Miami. Earlier this month, Ross told Rolling Stone he was going to perform atop a shipping container at the port, but obviously there was a venue change.
After mingling at a VIP reception and taking countless pictures, the hip-hopper appeared on stage, dressed in signature head-to-toe black, a gigantic gold medallion hanging from his neck.
Ross moved well, his still-large frame considerably smaller than back in the day; in 2011, Ross landed in the hospital after suffering two seizures in a single day. Three years later, the so-called hip-hop heavyweight shed almost 100 pounds in a seven-month period and has since been able to maintain a more healthful lifestyle, which involves Cross-Fit and Bikram (hot) yoga. Ross’ diet is better now, too, although he still admits a fondness for the fried Oreos at Prime 112.
For fans of the classic album, Monday night’s concert was pure gold. Ross went through almost every track on the record; the crowd went particularly wild for two of his most famous hits, “(Everyday I’m) Hustlin” and “Push It,” about Miami’s infamous cocaine trafficking scene, with lyrics that include “Port of Miami, port of my candy. Ain’t got nothing to lose. We supportin’ the family. Never traffic for fun. Only traffic for funds.”
The Maybach Music Group founder, 40, was in great spirits but also appeared emotional, talking about his eternal love for the 305 and how thankful he was for the support he has received over the years from the city where he was raised and still resides.
Friends? Ricky Rozay has a few. The famous cameos came fast and furious: Meek Mill, Jeezy, Trick Daddy, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Trina and Young Greatness all joined in the on-stage celebration. They performed a mix of old and new songs off Ross’ seven other albums such as “Teflon Don,” “Hood Billionaire” and “Black Market.”
A few famous faces were missing in the crowd: Ross’ “brother” DJ Khaled, who co-produced “POM” —which was released Aug. 8, 2006, and originally titled “Career Criminal” — but the global superstar had a “prior engagement.” Khaled is busy promoting his new album “Major Key,” and had just attended the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Ross also mentioned Akon, who collaborated with the so-called boss on “Port of Miami” for “Cross That Line.” Ross gave a shout-out to the “Right Now” rapper for having faith in the then-showbiz newcomer so many years ago.