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Flo Rida coming to Q Casino outdoor stage in Dubuque
Miami’s melting pot shaped genre-hopping hip-hop artist
While hanging out backstage with Kid Rock 15 years ago in Philadelphia, the rap-rocker was ripping art-rockers Radiohead.
“No one reaches for Radiohead to take the party up a notch,” Rock — aka Robert Ritchie — told me.
But the conversation switched to Flo Rida, and there is no debate. Party and Flo Rida go together like peanut butter and jelly.
When Flo Rida — aka Tramar Dillard — released “Mail on Sunday” in 2008, it was obvious there was a new master of ceremony. “Low,” the initial single, which features rapper T-Pain, introduced Dillard to the world.
If you go
What: Flo Rida, with Too Hype Crew opening
Where: Back Waters Stage, Q Casino, 1855 Greyhound Park Rd., Dubuque
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 27, 2023
Tickets: $49.99 and $69.99; backwatersstage.com/events/flo-rida/
“When I look back at ‘Low,’ well, that song set the tone for me,” Flo Rida said while calling from Miami. “It’s a varied record that led me from urban to the pop charts. That song and that album changed my life. That album allowed me to do what I want to do stylistically.”
Flo Rida, who will perform Saturday on the Q Casino Back Waters in Dubuque, is versatile. He can crank out bangers like “Low” and go to the other end of the spectrum to country-rap, as he did in 2022 with “High Heels” with Walker Hayes, and “No Bad Days” with Jimmie Allen.
“There are many sides to me,” Flo Rida said. “I’ve had different styles and worked with different producers. It’s been quite a journey. But so much of it goes back to ‘Low.’ People love that song. T-Pain knocked it out with such a great melody on the hook. There are so many great melodies on the verses.”
Flo Rida looks back to “Low” and “Mail on Sunday,” but part of the secret to his success is that he looks forward and delivers in surprising fashion.
“Part of what makes things work for me is that I listen to different genres,” he said. “It helps me come up with different melodies. This is a labor of love. It helps that I grew up in Miami, which is a music melting pot. Miami has helped make me who I am. There is no city like it in the world. Look at who came out of there and what is there.”
There’s considerable glitz around Flo Rida, who is friends with DJ Khaled and Rick Ross, but the rapper paid his dues and his work ethic is laudable.
“You got to put the time in to be successful,” Flo Rida said. “I love going into the studio. When I go in, it’s organic, but I work hard when I’m there. When you work hard, the sky is the limit. You can see what I’ve done.”
Like 2009’s “R.O.O.T.S. (Route of Overcoming the Struggle)” with feel-good tunes, including “Finally Here,” “Jump” and “Gotta Get It (Dancer).”
“Only One Flo, Pt. 1,” which was released in 2010, is filled with polished club tracks. “Why You Up Here” and “On and On” amp up the party.
"Wild Ones,“ from 2012, hits with slick, celebratory and swaggering tracks, such as the playful ”Good Feeling“ and the infectious ”Sweet Spot.“ The artist will draw from each of his albums when he performs in Dubuque.
Flo Rida is a fascinating figure in hip-hop. He’s inoffensive. His songs have hooks but some of them are akin to “Seinfeld,” as in the tunes are about nothing. He’s also a very good technical rapper, who could hold his own with the iconic Eminem.
“I love what I do,” Flo Rida said. “I go all out with what I’m passionate about.”
It’s paid off, since he’s sold more than 80 million albums.
“It’s great to have a fan base who supports what I do,” he said. “They show up when I perform, and I just go out there and give it my all.”