They swayed, they sang along, they invaded the stage... American rapper Flo Rida cast a spell on the audience at a concert in the city. Prince Frederick joined the ecstatic crowd

There was a frisson of excitement when Flo Rida finally arrived on the stage. The rapper-singer-songwriter from Florida whipped a swelling crowd of youth into a frenzy at the at the expansive lawns of VGP Golden Beach, casting an intense and religious-like spell.

In the three long hours that preceded his appearance, a succession of DJs, including those from BlaNK, prepared the way for the god of rap, which Flo Rida is to a multitude of teens and young adults around the world. The frenzied worship of the man's music and his on-stage ‘persona' began with ‘In the Ayer', from his debut album ‘Mail On Sunday'. The very young in the crowd flawlessly recited the lines of the song, quite obviously sacred to them.

‘Low', also from the debut album, achieved the opposite of what the name suggests. Through this song, he gave the crowd an incredible high and a bunch of robustly-built bouncers had to strain to keep female fans from invading the stage. For this performance, Flo Rida had invited a small group of women to dance with him: some of them left the stage reluctantly.

Through ‘Move Shake Drop' (a song by DJ Laz that features Flo Rida) and ‘Turn Around', Flo Rida demonstrated the control he wields over his audience. Some of them responded to the words — “move move shake shake now drop — as if they were express commands. Flo Rida was however like a benevolent master showering his followers with rewards — in this case, caps, autographed towels, flowers and his oversize shoes. He got closer to the people further away from the stage by riding on the shoulders of his bodyguards and meeting with them. All the way, he was singing ‘Club Can't Handle Me' — from his third album ‘Only One Flo' (Part 1) — and the beneficiaries received this act of mercy with ear-piercing squeals.

Everyone was waiting for his much loved ‘Right Round', from his second album ‘R.O.O.T.S' and when it came on, the worship hit its highest scale.

During the eye-flicker of an interview that followed the show, Flo Rida rated ‘Good Feeling' — the first released single from the album ‘Only One Rida (Part 2)' which is in the making — ahead ‘Low' and ‘Right Round', songs that have given him a god-like stature in the rap world. Having come at a time when “people counted me out”, this song has brought him great satisfaction. The album is expected to be out in early 2012.

Flo Rida also allowed a peek into his life before the spotlight found him. Following a string of rejections from big labels, Flo Rida (born Tramar Dillard) dabbled in many jobs and also equipped himself with a degree in international business management from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. This turned out to be a minor detour, because the artiste returned to Florida and music. Flo Rida explains that music is in every fibre of his body. He grew up in an environment that fostered music: some of his seven sisters are good singers.

Quite an irony that ‘Low' — his first single which features T-Pain — started the ascent to rap glory. The title was T-Pain's idea, says Flo Rida with a palpable sense of gratitude. Just then, a young fan cries, “One photo with you, Flo! One photo, please!”

Fearing a crowd might gather soon, the bodyguards huddled around Flo Rida and whisk him away to his car.


MetroplusJune 28, 2012