The PERM$ head honcho Richie Guapo gets us hype all night with “No Sleep” entirely produced by Key Kartel’s own Dinero Tarantino, mixed and mastered by SodanSwishers.
Guapo & Dinero made waves on Guapo’s previous effort “Blaque”, so it was a no brainer to continue the vibe for an entire project.
The intro track “Pluto” reminds me of mixtape era Gucci. The hook is guaranteed to get stuck in your head. Dinero comes through with the fast paced beat. The spaced out keys take the song to another world. Guapo changes the vocals up a bit towards the mid section of the track but it fits the vibe.
“4PM” is that race around joint. The 808s are on full effect courtesy of Dinero. Guapo hits the double time flow throughout the song. The “skrt” ad lib from Guapo is slowly becoming one of my favorites.
“BULLY” reunites 2 of Tampa Bay’s finest with the addition of Lil Fancy to the equation. Easily one of my favorite hooks on the project. Lil Fancy brings a more subdued flow to the track which was unexpected but I messed with it.
“4PF (FREEBANDZ)” is a certified banger. “Keep a few bandz in my pocket” is bound to get stuck in your head. Indie.Indigo brought even more energy to the track, shout out to REACH on his verse as well.
“Count It Up” is reminiscent of some of the tracks from “Blaque”. It would be a Guapo project if he didn’t shout out “Fukk Em Worldwide”. This track has some of my favorite flows Guapo has displayed on the project. Dinero comes through like always with some trickling hi hats.
“Beastmode” has Guapo back on his shit. Not gonna lie despite the difference in sound, I could hear this track on one of the Hot Boy Guap tapes, which shows Guapo still sticks to the core elements of his sound despite the tone or vibe.
“Money Phone” is a hit boi!! It would be dope to get a club video of this track. The legend Famous Kid Brick comes through bringing some gravitas to the song. Lil Fancy brings mad energy to the song, his vocals was really hitting on this one. Dinero had the 808 really hitting on this joint. It was dope how the features was spliced up in the track.
What can I say Guapo does it again. I really like that fact that he saw what worked on “Blaque” and team up with Dinero Tarantino to further the sound, artists like Guapo, Fancy, and E.$krilla have been pioneering over the past few years. Another great installment to Guapo’s growing catalog.
Kozzy8 proves he’s one of the best singer songwriters in Tampa Bay, on the eclectic “Ethereal” one of the most positive albums I have heard in years.
Last years “Kozyy’s Summer” was one of my favorite projects of the year especially the classic “Ice Cream Cake” but I appreciate the more mature effort on “Ethereal”.
“Raise The Vibration” is one of my favorite songs of the year. I just dig how feel good this joint is. No matter what’s going on in your life if you stay calm and remain positive you’ll be ok. The hook from this track is bound to get stuck in your head.
I love how laid back “Everyday” is. Kozyy8 does a bit of rapping on this joint but I think the real star is his hooks. His vocals are A1 on this entire project. Just easy listenings man.
“Self Love” is that bop. The futuristic production sets the tone instantly. Once again Kozyy8 is snapping when it comes to vocals, no one in the game is touching him. This one you just light up, and let your worries go away. That “Sing with me, sing with me” part gets me every time. What sets Kozyy8 apart from the rest is how relatable he his on a track. Really dope uplifting track.
“New Level” is on a bit of a melancholic tip, but Kozyy8 is able to make it feel positive. Once you clear your mind from all of life’s distractions you can reach a new level. Kozyy8 does a bit of storytelling on this track, which was a dope touch.
“I Am Free” is an anthem. Being confined is just a state of mind, but having clear thoughts leads to mental freedom. This is just one of those day in the life joints. “I’m spreading my wings” is one of my favorite lines. Big vibes.
“Alignment” has a bit of a cloudy vibe to it. I mess with Kozyy8’s flow on the verses. Easily one of my favorite hooks on the project. It’s pretty remarkable for Kozyy8 to continue the positive vibes without coming off stale.
“Follow Your Heart” brings us back with some smooth guitar. Kozyy8’s beats always have a Island vibe to them and this is a great example. I can see him performing this live at some lavish beach bar, girls dancing to the side to set the tone. One of my favorite songs off the project, love this sound. When them horns come in it’s game over.
“Good Energy” has a bit of a bouncy vibe to it. I really mess with the futuristic production Kozyy8 dabbled with on this project.I dig the flow Kozyy8 puts down on this song, adding to the bouncy vibe. Everything you do and consumes has an effect on your energy, make sure your frequencies are in tune for good energy.
“Elevate” one of those put your lighters up tracks. Once again bro kills it with the tone and vibe of this track. You have no choice but to get these hooks stuck in your head. This might be the best produced albums of the year. We need to hear some of these joints live.
“TLC” has some smooth drums on it. I really related to the message on this track. Often we do so much for others we need to just take a step back and give ourselves some “TLC”.
“Complete You” has Kozyy8 on some spoken words vibes in the beginning but then it rolls into the hook. Before you can truly love someone else you have to love yourself. The low key piano in the back, took the song to the next level.
“Breath” is bound to relive your stress. This low key feels like a smoking song, and I can get behind that for sure. Just keep calm and take a deep breath, all will be well. Kozyy8 has seen ups and downs in his life, but he just focuses on his breathing, exhaling all the bad vibes.
Things get a bit more somber on “It’s You”. This is probably the most RnB based track on the project but Kozyy8 hits it out the park. A track like this could come off corny, but Kozyy8 has the vocals to pull it off.
The album ends on “Peace Of Mind”. Things speed up a bit more on this track, with some really dope backing vocals. Kozyy8 finishes strong with another fire hook. It’s going to be a real joy to hear these tracks with live instrumentation, especially the end of this joint.
Kozyy8 exceeds the sophomore slump with one of the best produced albums I have heard in years. Not only is this project better than “Kozyy Summer”, but there ain’t really no one else in the area truly doing it like Kozyy8. He’s got a great message I can get behind, and I’ve been rocking with fam since day 1. Really excited to see what’s to come for the homie. We need some visuals for a few of these tracks, as well as a live show soon. You already know this is gonna put up on the end of year list.
Three D Swayze shows off a new sound on “Sick Sad World, Vol. 1”.
Swayze’s “King Boo” project was one of my favorite joints to come out that year, especially that “Cash Coma” joint. So I was pretty hype to see what he was brining with this new sound.
The project starts off with the high energy “Johnny Cash” featuring Krysis theword. Swayze has always been known to bring mad energy to his songs and this one is no exception. Great way to start the project.
“Jelly Bean” featuring the PERM$ head honcho Richie Guapo is the definition of Trill. We definitely need a video for this joint. It’s safe to say this is one of my favorite tracks of the year. I love the Trill esthetic Swayze brought on this one, and having Guapo on the track added some gravitas.
“Berlin 99” was the first single released for this project, and I feel that was a solid choice. Once people hear the sample they are bound to get hype. I could hear this joint being played at festivals and such, I feel he should try to push it even more. The visuals for this one bring the whole vibe together, so check that out as well.
I really mess with the new array of sounds Swayze is dabbling with as of late. I would want to see him bring out a bit more of that Trill esthetic, but so far his latest single “God Hand” should hold us over until Vol 2 drops.
Chester Watson faces his demons in the land of the living and the dead on “A Japanese Horror Film”, the first true concept album to be enshrined as a 727 Classic.
Chester Watson has delivered classic albums in the past such as “Tin Wooki” & “Past Cloaks”, but on “A Japanese Horror Film” the “Monotone Samurai” brings his bars and production to the next level by threading a story throughout the project.
The album starts off with the moody “Life Wrote Itself”. The Japanese instrumentation in the background of the beat is the perfect vibe to set the tone. Watson hits us with a barrage of bars over the hard hitting drums. At this point in the album Watson is still amongst the living but reflecting on the dead, as well as his roots from St.Louis to St.Pete.
During the “Transportation Interlude” Watson is greeted by a taxi driver that will bring him on his journey to the after life. After all seems normal but traveling between worlds is harder than one would think.
“Taxi Ghost” featuring Ria & Sima Itayim gives off chills with how eerie the backing vocals and the beat are. The listener is instantly transported to the land of the yokai, supernatural entities and spirits in Japanese folklore.
“Porcelain Geisha” featuring Fifi Rong, continues that ethereal vibe from the last track, with Watson soaking in his surroundings. The backing vocals add such a mood to this track. There’s a weird snarl sound in the beat that really ties everything together. At the end of the track Watson is greeted by the yokai as well as a mysterious entity that tells him of his past and future lives.
“Yokai” featuring Psymun, Kanisono, Fifi Rong, and Kent Loon,slows things down a bit with that chopped and screwed vibe. I really dig when the beat switches up a bit, sounding like a burst of light It’s pretty wild that Watson spits this whole verse slowed. Things take a dark turn towards the middle of the track with haunting laughs filling up the scene. Kent Loon, Psymun, and Kanisono make up the yokai.
“Witch Hunter” featuring K.Raydio is straight bars. Things start off slow on a production standpoint but then once Watson starts spitting things speed up. Hands down one of my favorite beats on the album, I love that broken down coo coo clock sound. This track could be a look at one of Watson’s past lives. Watson is torn between both sides when he stumbles upon Vyri the earth witch, who says he’s been poisoned by the others.
“Kushiro” featuring K.Raydio has Watson contemplating who he should trust in this unknown land. The backing vocals are almost calling to Watson on which path to choose. At the end of the track Viere, teaches Watson about astral projection, allowing him to walk between both worlds while remaining whole.
This track is on some low key street shit. Nü Age Syndicate brethren Kent Loon pops up on the hook talking that shit. Sima Itayim brings that energy on with the backing vocals as well, with loud howling adding to the beat.
“Teleportation” featuring K.Raydio features a low key jazzy beat in the background that is reminiscent to some Japanese New Wave shit. Viere returns to help Watson fully cross over into astral projection. He thinks of Atlantis and it’s calming waters.
“Nujabes” has Watson on his journey to Atlantis. Seemingly falling asleep in Japan, Watson has been transported to another realm. This track is an ode to producer Nujabes.
“Atlantic Interlude” puts Watson in a new world of Atlantis, in search for Qí the Empress of Atlantis. Watson is in awe of this underwater world, amazed with the architecture and scenery.
“Atlantis” featuring Salami Rose Joe Louis puts you right in the under water realm with Watson. Since Watson is in a familiar place, the vibe from the production and backing vocals has a cool, laid back vibe to it.
“Hypnagogic Interlude” featuring Manijanai portrays the scene of Watson speaking with a mermaid who continues him on his quest. Watson must again use astral projection but he must be careful, danger awaits.
“Ronin” is one of my favorite Watson tracks period. Bro goes full battle mode. Watson knows his destiny, harnessing the power need to complete his quest. That one bar “Up in New Jersey With Kent Loon” is my go to every listen.
Watson finally reaches his depths on “Sunken Place” featuring Max Wonders and Sima Itayim. This track is so dark, it feels like Watson is surrounded by shadows.
Watson makes it through the shadows and into the “Fog” where he meets Yume the witch of illusions played by Dua Saleh. This track has Watson on his introspective shit. Watson often looks himself in the mirror in many tracks but this one in particular. Are his thoughts foggy from to much weed smoke, or the outsiders in his life. I really dig when the beat has that chant sound kick in. One of my favorite Watson hooks to date.
The project closes out with the melancholic “Daydreams” featuring Dua Saleh once again. Despite what others say, Watson won’t let them effect his dreams. His path is already set for him, he just has to stay on track.
Possibly the first concept album in Tampa Bay Hip Hop history, the way Chester Watson is able to keep a cohesive story and theme going through the entire project deserves major props. Dealing with themes of astral projection and reincarnation, through the Japanese Ghost Story lens, gave a cinematic effect to this album that is rarely seen. Remaining as one of the pillars of St.Pete Hip Hop Chester Watson is slated to drop his next full length project “fish don’t climb trees” in 2023.
There comes a time when two artists of a similar style and sound join forces to create magic on a track or project. Masters of the Tampa Bay “Drum Less” abstract sound, Deleteeglitch & Breezy Montclair craft one of my favorite collab EPs of the year “The Following Is Forbidden”.
The opening track “Emeka Okafor Freestyle” hits your like a car wreck. The screeching production could be overwhelming for some emcees, but Glitch & Montclair sound right at home. It was dope to see Glitch & Breezy go back to back with the verses, adding to that freestyle vibe.
This is my shit right here. “Hair In The Wind” featuring production from Glitch & Breezy is a master class on using the beat chop as a drum rather than actual drums. The sample is bonkers on some Russian Roulette shit. Glitch’s ad libs really shine on this joint, with him sounding out of control. Breezy pull up the track with that braggadocio raps and double time flow, claiming him & Glitch are “the only ones making it shake”. The visuals for this one came out really dope by the homie Cmpser. Easily one of my favorite singles of the year.
“Down” reminds me of being inside a casino. Breezy always kills it with the wonky slow flow, adding to the looped vibe of the production. Sometimes beat chops can get tired but I could here them rap over it all day. That F rhyme scheme towards the middle of Glitch’s verse where he speaks on “freaky foxes” was a standout on this project.
“Draconian” reminds me of the old school “Outer Limits” intro. It’s pretty wild how good these dudes can flow over such abstract production. Other than “Hair In The Wind” this is probably my favorite beat. Glitch enters storytelling mode on his verse. That “Wow!” ad lib is top tier.
I believe “Oven Mitts” was the first time I heard Glitch & Breezy collab, off last years “Primordial Soup EP” which you should check out if you haven’t. This was the moment when I was like, “Yo we need a Glitch & Breezy collab project”. This track just feels like we are all tripping in the field from “Midsommer”, without all the weird cult shit.
“Hold Me Down” features production from Skully Cipriani, who really killed it with those backing horns.I dig the way Breezy kicks off the track, sounding scattered with his flow but it just fits the whole vibe. Both Skully & Glitch adapt to Breezy’s slow flow and continue the vibe with their verses. I mess with how old and dusty the production sounds.
The project ends on “From The Sky”. Breezy starts things off with a bit more high energy, spitting those braggadocious bars. This one is a certified head knocker. That old school wrestling interlude was a vibe for sure, while Glitch enters the ring. On certain faster paced tracks like this Glitch always brings that best in the game energy, sounding like he can’t be touched on the mic by anyone.
With this sound continuing to bubble up from Breezy & Glitch, to the likes of Skully Cipriani, and Junkyrd, I could easily see this project going down in the books as a genre defining project. Breezy & Glitch have both delivered stand out projects this year as solo efforts, continuing to push the sound and movement into greater heights.
One of Tampa Bay’s premier spitter JC Tha God, takes aim for the Top Album of 2022 with “Tha Hidden Gem”.
The “Intro” takes place at an award show, awarding JC Tha God album of the year, for “Tha Hidden Gem”.
After that we are greeted with a bar fest on “Say Something” featuring Jajy. One of my favorite joints off the album, I dig the confident vibe coming from the beat and JC’s voice. The chopped and screwed aspect adds a southern vibe to the song.
“Tlk 2 Em” is another bar fest. One things for sure JC definitely came with the punch lines on this project. That David Blaine line was cold. JC’s flow on this joint is A1.
JC takes aim at the game on “E Money X Tha God Freestyle”. JC & E Money take y’all to church with a barrage of bars. Crazy punch lines coming from both sides.
“Trustworthy” is a bit more introspective vibes from JC. The beats and bars are still there but this time we get a bit more from the man.
JC sends a message to his haters on the “Interlude”, putting everyone in check.
“Judgement Day” is one of my favorite tracks on the project. I dig all the low key hip hop references throughout the song. The beat reminds me of something Apollo Brown would drop. We need a video for this one.
“Keepin It Close” has a groovy seventies vibe to it. JC keeps that thing on him so don’t over step. The vibe of this track puts JC as the star in his own blaxploitation film. This one’s definitely making its way onto “The New Tampa Bay Playlist”.
“What If” puts JC back in that introspective lane once again. This joint has an old school sound to it making it sound like it’s from the Golden Era.
“My Truth” featuring Krysis TheWord has a bit of a melancholic vibe to it. The added vocals towards the mid section of the track added a nice change of pace from the rest of the tracks on the album.
“Maze Of Life” puts JC back in that pocket where he really shines. The beat on this track is my favorite on the whole project. I’d like to see some visuals for this joint around the 813.
The project closes out on “Look At U$” featuring Jajy. It’s a guarantee the hook will get stuck in your head. This feel good track didn’t sound forced, which could happen on an album that’s mainly focused on bars. Solid track.
JC Tha God brought it with the bars on “Tha Hidden Gem”. I could definitely see him becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Tampa Bay scene. Can’t wait to see how he expands on his sound on the next project.
Tampa Bay’s sinner of the year 7Sinclair, gives a look into his life on “Stories Of A Sinner”.
The kick off with mad energy out the gate on the title track “Stories Of A Sinner”. The violin inspired beat is pretty dope, giving a triumphant vibe to the song. Chicks think they can play 7Sinclair but he’s already got em. Really solid way to roll into “AMG”.
The strings on “AMG” give off a out west vibe. It’s dope to see the confidence 7Sinclair has in his bars, makes it feel authentic. The piano break down towards the end was a nice way to switch up the vibe. Crazy flows up and down this track, I can see why it’s a fan favorite.
It’s safe to say “Me, Myself, & I” is my favorite track on the project. I am pretty sure everyone can relate to what 7Sinclair is spitting on this joint. I really mess with the vocals on this track. I could hear this getting played everywhere from the clubs to the radio. This gotta be the next video.
“Gone” is a straight banger. I dig 7Sinclair’s take on the FL Drill sound that has been making noise in the Tampa Bay Area over the past year or so. The vocal switch up towards the hook is one of my favorite moments on the project.
The beat on “Open Door” gives off crazy cloud rap vibes. Once again 7Sinclair does his thing with the vocals, never over doing it. We need more tracks like this.
“Closed Door” seems to have a lot of anger behind it. Even when things look rough, 7Sinclair is gonna pull through and make it work. Even when things feel up, it can all come down just like that.
The project closes out with “Hero”. This one is a really inspirational joint. People slept on 7Sinclair before but he’s better than ever on the top of his game.
Really solid project from 7Sinclair. I like the fact I can play this project at pretty much any point in the day and it fits. The vocal ranges and choices he picked on this album really fit well with the themes and production behind them. 7Sinclair progresses more with each project, and “Stories Of A Sinner” is no exception.
For our closing article on the Threshold fashion event, we look at LittleBull4U, who closed out the show, focusing on the theme of movement.
The main thing I dig about LittleBull4U is a lot of the looks give off a high fashion vibe while still remaining practical. Look 1 features long sleeves and pants, but the upper looks very breathable.
It’s all about the sleeves for me when it comes to Look 2. The twirling esthetic adds to the movement theme LittleBull4U conveys. The grey pant/skirt was a dope look as well.
You could really feel the confidence coming from Michela Paladio who pulled off Look 3. That checker board print jacket was one of my favorite pieces of the entire show. The boots made the whole look feel powerful.
Look 4 is more of my vibe. The shirt looked very comfy, giving off that cool breathable vibe.
The sewing work on Look 5 is amazing. Connecting the top to the bottom, was an interesting way to make the outfit flow. Really dope take.
Look 6 by far looks the coziest to me. Everyone loves a bad ass hoodie and sweats! The fabric on these looks so soft. It’s hard to find sweats with a good pocket, so I appreciate that side pocket.
The desert color scheme on Look 7 made it stand out. This like Look 6, gives off that comfy yet practical look that works for just chilling or training.
Looks 8 & 9 killed it with the grey vibes. The protective glasses was a nice accessory choice for the look. The grey tank top looks really comfortable, especially during those hot summer days.
The show closed out with a dance off, allowing all the looks to come to life. When I think LittlBull4U, I think movement and freedom.
Continuing our recap of the “Threshold” Fashion Expo, we finally enter the mind of Pollex World, with some of their latest experiments being unleashed to the masses.
The musical choices added a lot to the tone of Pollex Worlds presentation, making it feel like a true experience from beginning to end, we really felt that shit. It was a nice touch to see all the experiments from a solo aspect, and then once again in a twin aspect, showing off the duality of the looks.
Looks 1 & 2 gave off mad “The Shining” & “US” vibes. The patterns on both dresses both feature a row of white buttons down the center, adding a break in the pattern. Both these looks worked solo, but together it all comes together.
Look 3 was pulled off by the one and only 7Sinclair. The cut and sew upholstery pants might be under seen due to the babushka and the face surgery 1 black hoodie, but it is the crown jewel of the look.
Look 4 is reminiscent to a nun. The crucifix necklace makes the whole look connect. Really solid work on the mid section of the piece.
Look 5 is next level. From the leather upper to the flannel like skirt.
Looks 6 & 7 are two of my favorites from the show. Dinero Tarantino snapped with Look 6, I really dig the almost patchwork jeans. Really solid jacket combination. It’s all about the pants for Look 7, but the face surgery 2 hoodie stands out.
The pants for Looks 8 & 9 are crazy. Look 8 as almost spider web like pants. Not sure how they made those but it’s a game changer. The homie Ethereal pulled off Look 9, featuring a ripped pant and goggle combination.
Look 10 features a really dope crew neck like piece featuring Pollex World propaganda, furthering the point that they are always with us. The torn skirt times the whole look together.
Looks 11 & 12 really clicked when they came o it as a duo. The all white dress shirt features more propaganda, that can also be seen on the jacket for Look 12.
The whole show came together once the good Doctor rolls up on the scene, rocking cut and sewn adjustments length water proof pants.
One of my favorite shows of the entire event. The whole vibe was really an experience. The connection at the end made it that much sweeter.
Whenever in doubt Pollex World is there to guide us. If at first we do not understand, Pollex will eventually reveal.
After taking a 2 Year break from fashion shows, Muse By Pablo is back like they never left for the Threshold event, presenting “American Wedding”.
Famous for their comfy shorts featuring your favorite sports teams jersey or other embroidery, Muse By Pablo went high fashion with their presentation, but if your a true fan of the brand you can see touches of their esthetic and themes in each piece. Going with the “American Wedding” concept each model representing a participant in the wedding.
Look 1 featured a shrouded figure in red. Muse By Pablo snapped on the sleeves during their entire presentation, most notably on this piece.
Look 2 featured an all white look with sea shell pieces for the bra. The way the model unveiled the look under the white drapes was what really sold it.
The facial coverings where also on full display especially with Look 3. The skirt that transitions into a half pant leg was a really dope look, fitting for Muse.
This all black piece for Look 4 was a bit for subdued, but again Muse continues the theme of very long sleeves add a baroque tone to each piece.
Look 5 was a favorite of mine. The face covering was reminiscent of some of the work Ye did for the “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” roll out. I really dig how most of models were shrouded at first, subtly revealing themselves to the audience.
The icon Famous Kid Brick rocked Look 6, playing the part of one of the groomsmen. Brick added mad gravitas to the show. I really dig the layers featured on his fit.
Barley Legal’s own Kid Dre pulled off Look 7. I feel this one had the most current iteration of Muse By Pablo’s trademarks. The barque imagery on the chest piece is reminiscent to some of their past looks, which made me pop when I saw those themes make a return on a larger scale.
Look 8 was a standout more me. The different cuts on the tux where really dope and unique. Probably the most traditional piece in the show but the approach they took with it might have made it the most relatable.
The Bride and Groom closed the show with looks 9 & 10. Once all the pieces are in place it was time for the bride and groom to make their entrance. The white tux on the groom was a nice contrast, I really dig the design on the side. The brides look gave a modern touch, to the traditional bridal gown we are used to.
It was really touching to see Juan, Migna, and Baby Pablo make their way down the run way, soaking in the entire moment as a family. It’s been a minute since Muse By Pablo did a fashion show, but they didn’t skip a beat, continuing to edge their name in Tampa Fashion History for years to come.