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Rapper Rick Ross (right), the headliner for this year’s Hoops Mania, proved a bit of a disappointment compared to last year.

By Megan Malamood

Last Friday, Oct. 26, the ’Nova Nation packed the floors of the Pavilion once again in anticipation of this year’s Hoops Mania concert. Despite the countless rumors spread by “credible” sources, few students truly knew who our guest performer would be. As the atmosphere turned from a bright, spirited sea of blue and white, to one with flashing lights and eager faces, a rush of exhilaration spread across our beloved home court. The mystery of who was about to appear on stage was one we were all waiting to uncover, and when that moment of truth revealed Rick Ross as our Hoops Mania performer, there were many different reactions—both excited and unsatisfied ones.

Back in 2006, 50 Cent and Tony Yayo made a surprise appearance, shocking and exciting the Hoops crowd. Ever since then, the University has consistently been able to get big-time rap, hip-hop and R&B names to perform at Hoops, the exciting kickoff to the basketball season.

The agreed mentality found across campus was that there was a lot to live up to with this year’s concert, considering last year Drake’s appearance stunned  ’Nova Nation.

Regardless of whether students like him or not, when Rick Ross first came out last Friday, the Pavilion indisputably erupted. Very suddenly the basketball scrimmage ended and, in seemingly no more than a few seconds, students and players rushed the court to secure a spot as close to the stage as possible. The music started pumping throughout the Pavilion and “Ricky Rozay” quickly began to electrify the crowd.

Ross performed a number of songs including the well-known “All I Do Is Win,” a song by DJ Khaled (in which he is featured) as well as his originals, “Hustlin’” and “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast).” At one point, in an attempt to convey his excitement, Ross exclaimed to us “this is how I feel,” breaking into “I’m On One,” another DJ Khaled song on which he is featured.

Ross also performed a couple of songs from his fairly new album, “God Forgives, I Don’t,” released this past summer on July 31. He told us this was the “most anticipated album of the year,” but even this slight trace of overconfidence did not seem to stop students from having a good time. The basketball court was filled with dancing while hands waved energetically through the air for the entire duration of the show.

Ross came out onto the stage in Villanova apparel and he seemed happy to wear our blue and white. Based on his nickname, “Ricky Rozay,” Ross repeatedly called out one of his signature lines to the crowd: “Can I get a Rozay?” Not only did Rozay yell out this trademark line, but his trademark “grunt” as well. Many fans and non-fans alike found it excessive. However, it cannot be denied that this famous and bizarre “grunt” still excited many among the crowd.

Although Ross is a big name in the rap and hip-hop industry, he is apparently not a universally known artist on our campus. As he first came out on stage, there were many confused and unenthused students who were heard asking, “Who is this?” Many students in both lower and upper level seating left before the concert was over.  Sophomores Cameron Crowe-Morgan and John Sorice expressed similar feelings when asked about Ross’ performance and their reactions to this year’s Hoops Mania concert.

“This year was kind of a disappointment after having such a big-name artist perform last year,” Crowe-Morgan said.

Sorice added, “I didn’t really enjoy the show because all he did was grunt and ask, ‘Can I get a Rozay?’”

Freshman Bridget Black, a first-time attendee of a Hoops Mania concert offered her reaction and said, “I had a lot of fun at Hoops Mania but I didn’t know any of Rick Ross’ songs so I didn’t stay long for the concert.”

Overall, the reaction to this year’s Hoops Mania concert is full of ambivalence. Many students enjoyed themselves, yet many were very unsatisfied and felt the concert had the potential to be a better experience than it was. Despite these feelings, countless “Can I get a Rozay?” and distinctive grunts have been echoing across the campus since Ross’ performance. Undeniably, he has impacted students and has left us with memories to recall until next year’s mystery performance is revealed.

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