Live preview: Rick Ross

Despite his law-upholding past, rap's Teflon Don still rules the hip-hop game.

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Best Buy Theater; Fri 4

First, photographs surfaced online of Rick Ross standing guard as a Florida corrections officer. Then, former drug kingpin "Freeway" Ricky Ross—the rapper's namesake—filed a $10 million copyright-infringement lawsuit, declaring Ross to be unworthy of his reputation. The rapper, who later admitted to having been a prison guard, was suddenly a poster boy for hip-hop's latest anomaly: The game's roughest ball-breakers are secretly on the straight and narrow.

Pay it all no mind: Despite continually promoting himself as the drug game's "capofamiglia," Ross churns out highly textured, expansively produced hip-hop. Teflon Don, Ross's fourth album, solidifies his status as a definitive force in urban music, a brash, lyrically adept heavy whose signature low-rumbling, pit-o'-the-belly "uhh" resembles a hibernating bear's reaction when poked with a stick.

The new album's subject matter stays on familiar territory, as on "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)," where Ross embodies drug barons Big Meech and Larry Hoover. But his flow is refined ("Free Mason"), his production inventive ("Aston Martin Music") and his cohorts premier: Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I., Cee Lo and Gucci Mane all appear on Teflon Don. Ross repaid West with noteworthy guest verses on "Monster" and "Devil in a New Dress," while also notching indie cred via a reported smoking sesh with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Ross's image may be slightly tattered, but he's still on top—clearly in the rap game, there's room for phony drug pushers, so long as they've got product to back their bravado.

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Best Buy Theater; Fri 4

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