Each year of BET Awards the best part of the big-budget production is the performance. As expected in-demand artists put on some of their best live renditions on the big stage. Too bad the pre-show doesn't get prime-time re-runs even though it's improved giving TV time to rising talent, like B.o.B.'s introduction of Ricco Barrino. Ricco standing in for Bruno Mars was puzzling. Who was the brolic crooner that would step over the sincere words girls adore from the guy who stole their hearts the first time? Ricco is Grand Hustle's R&B prospect, also known as Fantasia's brother, and by the looks of his ten standout guest spots for T.I., B.o.B., and more, we believe after his last impression, he's on his way to being an American idol, sort of.
T.I. F. RICCO BARRINO, "MR. PROPANE"
The thought of T-Pain going au-natural sans auto-tune seems impossible. That's all Ricco though on the chorus of this 2007 leak, sometime around T.I. vs. TIP. For about three years, Ricco has been a background player in the Grand Hustle camp, long enough for this strip club-curated track to be one of the last make it rain anthems, right before the recession dried things up. Then when Paper Trail hit in '08, Ricco assisted Tip again with vocals on "Porn Star," the 9th track on his 6th album. Numerologists, zeitgeists, do your worst.
ACE HOOD F. RICCO BARRINO, BUSTA RHYMES AND MISTA F.A.B., "ROCK WIT YOU" (REMIX)
This random collaboration would be better pictured as a one of those dating game shows. The girl they're all jockeying position for states the pros and cons about the guys waiting in the wings listening to elevator music on headphones. Naturally, the smooth talking R&B guy (Ricco Barriono) would get the W off of GP. Anything else would just be gutta.
RICCO BARRINO, "SAUSAGE" (REMIX)
Doubt Tom Green's musical genius if you want, his sausage jingle from Freddy Got Fingered might have done more damage influencing Ricco, and fellow North Carolina fam, Showdown and the Fire Dept. Showdown, who was also cooked up the beat for the remix to "Rock Wit You," tapped Ricco to throw a low ball at ladies. The pause-worthy-ness of this sausage-fest of singing and rapping about meat just asks for it.
MICA SWAIN F. RICCO BARRINO, "IN MY ZONE"
All the funny metaphors for sex aside, at some point Ricco has to sing for real, like his sister Fantasia does. He assumes the position of a conflicted R&B singer—grimacing through this emotionally-wrought song, knees to the floor—both signs of love right there. Only thing missing is the signature handkerchief often used by heavier-set soul men.
P-WONDA F. RICCO BARRINO, "YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS"
Thanks to the Internet hosting P-Wonda's 4 minutes and 38 seconds of fame, Ricco Barrino wasted another slick line I'm an R&B cat and that's a fact/we in the presidential suite show me the bush from the back. Another Dubya for Ricco.
YUNG L.A., F. RICCO BARRINO, "FUTURISTIC LOVE"
Did someone forget to style Ricco Barrino? Everyone in Yung L.A.'s retro-fitted video is dressed in gear from the '90s (faux-hawks, colored denim, finger-waves) and Ricco is left out looking like Biff in the Back to the Future flicks. Not McFly, one bit.
RICCO BARRINO F. FABO, "BUBBLEGUM"
It's the R&B equivalent to D4L's "Laffy Taffy." Unlike Ricco's take on "Sausage," "Bubblegum" just has a better chance at commercial appeal because of it warrants "i-can't-believe-they-put-that-on-the-radio" response. As addicting as the song is, it also doesn't help feeling your teeth rotting looking at the pictures of jaw breakers all day.
RICCO BARRINO, "GO HEAD"
If Ricco turns out to be anything like his Grand Hustle affiliates, the very kingly horns from his newest release are a first sign. Go through T.I.'s arsenal ("What You Know," "Bring 'Em Out," "Top Back), they've all got some brass behind it. With that in mind, Ricco crowns ladies with a comparision to the ATL royalty Lauren London played. I love to see a woman that do what you do/swagger on 10, something like NuNu, well little shawty I can do that too.
B.O.B. (BOBBY RAY) F. RICCO BARRINO, "5TH DIMENSION"
Before B.o.B. planted his feet in the fertile ground of females on "Nothin' On You" a lot of his songs were about being "different." His other-worldly personality was a start to help set him a part from other new rappers developing their cool-guy voices different from their tough guy contemporaries. But the alien thing got old real quick. At least Ricco Barrino was able to bring a soulful-funkadelic twist to Bobby Ray's martian rap.
B.O.B. (BOBBY RAY) F. RICCO BARRINO, "NOTHIN' ON YOU" (BET AWARDS 10 PRE-SHOW)
A little beat-boxing, and a perfect cover of Bruno Mars' lyrics, North Carolina's own Ricco Barrino stole a few of his fans at the BET Awards. Nothin' on who?