After dropping a pair of singles to kick off 2023, $lugged $ounds own BTMVLE Jotta remains in the discussion as one of Tampa Bay’s top emcees on his latest soul sample fueled EP “Divine Intervention”.
It’s been a minute since we got a solo effort from Jotta. The BTMVLE generals debut project “Cheap Vacation” is a certified St.Pete Hip Hop classic, as well as the collaborative effort “Good Fellas EP” with his $lugg brother Jerry Nova, a former EP of the Year and certified classic in its own right. With all that being said I had pretty high expectations for “Divine Intervention”.
On the intro track “Pslams In Hebrew” Jotta takes us to church, delivering a sermon of his own on his life’s trails and tribulations, overcoming all the odds to become the father and man he is today. This was the lead single off the project which gave us a nice preview into some of the themes and sounds tackled in the rest of the project. Would be really dope to see a video of this in a church. Found the track very relatable. It’s hands down one of Jotta’s best tracks to date.
“Instincts” has Jotta on his Reasonable Doubt shit. The soul samples on this project are top tier, adding to the southern hip hop aesthetic Jotta delivers his bars with. Mad quotables on this joint, this one for the real heads. That “demonize me” line though.The lavish way the beat comes in reminds me of the way “Spanglish” hits. Jotta debuted this track at the Onlyonetwo show and it sounds even better in the context of the project. “This ain’t Ramen Noodles, This Crab Pasta”.
“Taj Mahal” is a straight bar fest. That “Dont wanna pay me for the clean” line is one of Jotta’s coldest lines to date. With each line Jotta paints a picture with his words that is clear as glass. That “You can see me on 49th St speeding” really hits home, since I take it on the way to work, it will remain a classic line in his catalogue for years to come.
“Barbershop Therapy” has that end of the movie vibe. I can just see credits rolling as Jotta puts his thoughts on wax. I really dig the theme of the barber shop talk, definitely a new approach in song writing that I have never seen. Jotta is a product of all coasts, and can’t be boxed into just one sound.
On “Divine Intervention” BTMVLE Jotta makes his claim as the top lyricist on both sides of the bay, adding to his already extensive catalog of Tampa Bay classics. Can’t wait to see what else this year brings for Jotta’s full length and the rest of the $luggs, with this project already in EP of the year contention, yerd!!!!!!!!!
Nico Suave follows up singles “Don’t Crash” and “What Happened” with some laid back vides on “Watchu Know about Dat”, that are just made to ride around the bay.
I have always felt the Tampa Bay scene should adapt some form of feel good west coast vibes since we are on the west side of FL, so the easy laid back beat sets the tone. I can just picture myself driving across the bridge back to the burg for the 813 with the sun setting.
Nico comes through with some very relatable bars shouting out Tampa Bay staples like Salems and shouting out the homies Cowboy By Takeo who crafted the cover. Elements like that make the track hit home, since that’s everyday life in Tampa Bay.
Nico has been killing with the singles as of late. I’d like to see some visuals for “Watchu Know About Dat” soon as well as an EP for full length project.
Impacted by the seminal Cyber Punk classic Tetsuo: The Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto, Pollex World unveils their latest creation in the name of the new flesh!
At the time of its release in 1989, the 16mm Body Horror nightmare helped spark a revival of Japanese indie cinema going into the early nineties. The themes of technological paranoia can still be felt today, as the growing concern of technology becoming apart of our body due to its dependency in our society.
As the metal slowly absorbs Tetsuo he and the steel become one and the same. Some may look at Tetsuo as a monster or is he just a higher advanced form of man. The film may be to graphic for some viewers but those aspects really hammer home this nightmarish tale of metal.
Just like how the metal in the film consumes Tetsuo, Pollex World always seems to find a way to work their way into our life, on both a physical and mental level. Just sit back and relax, Pollex World is here. Long Live The New Flesh!
2022 was a crazy year featuring some amazing projects from Tampa Bay’s best artists so I had to push the list up to a Top 15. For this list I am looking at projects that had under 10 tracks, placing them in the EP or Mixtape category.
I really dig the sounds Three D Swayze dabbled with on “Sick Sad World Vol.1”. The elements of Trill and Rage clicked well, with “Berlin 99” standing out. “Jellybean” with Richie Guapo needs a video ASAP. Can’t wait to hear the next installment.
Big Baby Scumbag did what he does best on “Natty & Noodles”. Down South Florida bangers with quirky themes and elements always make a Big Baby record stand apart from the rest. “Fish Fry” and “Elmer Fudd” are now some of my favorite tracks from Big Baby, giving crazy replay value.
Scumbag Wrld’s latest signee Sorryein put the game on notice with “UFO EP”. “Holdmycrystals” gives off a sense of nostalgia while still sounding new and fresh. The Cloud Rap influence goes a long way for me. The elements of Rage bring the whole sound together, resulting in hype out of this world experience.
Frankie X delivered another solid project to add to his growing catalog with the “Angels EP”. Melodically no one in the game is fucking with Frank, who also isn’t a slouch when it comes to the bars. “No Bonnie” showed a lot of growth from Frank on a song writing and song structure tip.
YZM quite possibly had his best year to date in 2022, all without dropping a full length album. “On God” and “VICES” showcased the “Rage Gods” versatility, becoming two of my favorite tracks of all time. With a slew of features from Tampa Bay’s best, “Nghtmr Demo” catapulted YZM’s next project to the front of my most anticipated for 2023, proving why he’s still “your favorite rappers, favorite rapper.”
Notsew delivered a one of a kind experience on “Sidetracked”. I appreciate how personal Notsew got on this project, allowing the themes to become more relatable. With standout features from Chael Blinya and Mel. the 8th Element, it was a no brainer to throw it on the list.
The entire “House-pitality Concept” trilogy is a feat onto itself. On the real I feel like no one from the city is really tackling issues that deal with the city better than Chael Blinya. Following up the “Coffee Shop De-Tour” with a double EP was insane. Can bro please get that “Chilis” sponsorship because “Waffles & Mango Tea” is so fire.
St.Pete is known for our Essential EP releases, and the cities own Dabron Kain added to that list with his “Kxng EP”. “Burg State Of Mind” featuring $lugged Sound$ own BTMVLE Jotta is a unanimous classic in the city, pushing the project into the 10 spot. I really dig Kain’s mix of flows and delivery throughout the entire project, proving why the Burg Day 22’ headliner is one of the cities best on the mic.
7Sinclair found his sound on “Stories Of A Sinner”. From bangers like “AMG” to anthems like “Me Myself & I” the whole vibe fit. The airy soundscape paired well with 7Sinclair’s moody vocals and lyrics. “Open Door” is one of them ones.
Deleteeglitch added to an already stellar 2022 with “How To Make A Tissue Dance” project. With Døøf crafting another surreal backdrop, sending us deeper into the mind of Glitch.
Then Barely Legal boys came out swinging in 2022 with the “Daytona EP”. It’s safe to say “Dat Way” is a classic record on both sides of the bay, getting any and all functions lit. Low key “Run It Up” is one of my favorite tracks of the year. I just love Barely Legal’s energy, and can’t wait to see what they bring in 2023.
Out of the slew of projects 9henom dropped this year “Cycles” got the nod mainly due to one of my favorite songs of the year being “Tru Story”. The vibe and production was stellar on this project. 9henom always bridges the gaps between genres with his vocals and sounds. Shout out to The Playground.
There comes that time when two of the scenes top emcees come together and just kill shit. Deleteeglitch & Breezy Montclair joined forces on “The Following Is Forbidden”, crafting a drum less and abstract hip hop classic both sides of the bay can get behind. Glitch always does his thing but I was really impressed with the growth Breezy showed, making his upcoming project a must listen.
Richie Guapo and 2022 producer of the year Dinero Tarantino perfected the sound they dabbled with on “Blaque”. The beats are wonkier and harder, with Guapo’s ad libs and word play going next level. Tracks like “Beastmode” and “Count It Up” join the list of my favorite Guapo songs to date.
Chester Watson need the year out right with “Nobody Home In Soulville”. I feel a preview to what to come on 2023s “Fish Don’t Cimb Trees”. Watson is really in his bag when it comes to the production on this project, highlighting his monotone flow but in a good way. Watson always feels like he’s 5 years ahead when it comes to his projects, and this one is no exception.
This project basically could take the 1 spot as well. When it dropped I picked this to listen to first over Kendrick, based on Fancy’s past classics and the immortal “AMG Benz”. On “Fan Favorite” we see both sides of Fancy. He’s in rockstar mode on joints like “Foreign” and “MARSHAWN”, while giving us more introspective moments on “Ain’t Hearin It”. Key Kartel came through with some of the best production of the year, to help usher in a new Rage classic both sides of the bay can get behind.
That boy Yella went back to back classic mode on “Cloud Crown” his follow up EP to 2021’s 727 classic album “Strange Noize”. Mixing feel good Zhu vibes with thought provoking bar feats, it’s hard to deny Heyeyella’s skill on a mic. Tracks like “Splash”, “Different Vibez”, and “No Manners” just get you in that mood to have fun, at any point in the day. Not to mention what could be one of the greatest songs in the history of St.Pete Hip Hop “Drunken Master” cementing this projects spot in history. Put that together with two rap epic tracks in “Steel Garden” and “Underworld Funk”, and you have the EP of the year. “Energy, Frequency, Message.”
Drogotdoe follows up his classic track “IPhone Gang”, with a sequel track and video, but this time he’s brining the gang along featuring YZM, Richie Guapo, and Hussein. You already know Kushh Newton is back on production, and the one and only Cmpser sets the vibe with visuals.
The original “IPhone Gang” off Dro’s second 813 Essential Album “No Call 4 Help” is one of my favorite tracks of all time, so you already know I was hype for the sequel, especially with the rogues gallery of artist Dro and Kushh enlisted for the sequel. The beat on this installment is a bit more laid back, giving off a feel good beach casino vibe. Dro did his thing as always on the track, delivering one of the best hooks of the year.
The way the verses are spliced up throughout the song was very clever, giving each artist their own time to shine. Guapo brought that Prettyboyguap esthetic he has been perfecting all 2022. It was dope to hear him on some more laid back production, reminiscent to the “Hot Boy” days.
“The Icon” YZM did his thing, brining some gravitas to the already stacked record. The rage god always comes through with mad quotables, and catchy ad libs that will have you reppin gang with each listen.
MACIBISION’s own Hussein was a real stand out on the track. His flows and word play was real off the cuff, with some solid imagery to make it click. Some of my favorite lines where the ones describing Hussein’s liar and weaponry. Can’t wait to see what’s next from the homie.
If I wasn’t already hype for the upcoming Dro project this track definitely solidified that even further. Really dope way to go about making a sequel for a classic record that still resonates on both sides of the bay to this day, doing what a sequel should do, be bigger.
One of the most consistent collectives in the burg Palm Pact, releases their follow up to 2020s “Armada”, with “Emerald Era” a project packed with beats and rhymes dedicated to the locals.
We officially enter the “Emerald Era” with “Soul Of Emerald”. Ryan Rev is one of a kind on the hook adding, a soulful melody to the triumph beat. Low key a posse cut, Euphemistic brings a more lyrical take to the track, while Bomber comes through with the hazy punch lines. Kai Ken closes the track with a barrage of bars. Hook of the year contender.
“Sad In The Morning” is a bit somber, but I dig the way Bomber rides over the bouncy beat. Ryan Rev does his thing once again on the hook. That “blasting off like team rocket” line by Euphemistic is a stand out.
“Catch Me Rollin” is that late night smokers anthem. This hook from Ryan Rev is guaranteed to get stuck in your head. The storytelling elements from Kai Ken and Euphemistic, make the track fee a bit more personal.
“Eye Of The Storm” is on some cloud rap vibes. The slower flows fit the slowed drugged out feel of the song. I really mess with Euphemistic’s sped up flow towards the mid point of the track.
“Nauseous” features Bomber on the beat. Ryan Rev is usually known for his vocals but he pulls up on the track with a sped up flow and some hard hitting bars. Bomber did his thing on the hook.
“Tell Me What You Want” features one of my favorite beats on the project. Once again Ryan Rev snaps with the vocals, bro is a hook master. Anyone can relate to this track. Things pick up a bit once the beat switches up and Euphemistic pulls up on the track.
“How Ya Feelin’” is a nice smooth track. Bomber comes through on the first verse, brining a different vibe than he normally does. That “Yabba Dabba Doo” line from Ryan Rev was a stand out for sure.
“8 Rings” is an ode to the GOAT. Hands down one of my favorite hooks on the project. This one is a certified banger. I dig that low key west coast vibe on the production. Just a barrage of bars and flows from the whole Pact.
“Going Against the Grain” has a melancholic tone to it but at the end of the day if you keep it 100, shit will be straight. I really enjoyed how personal Euphemistic got on his verse.
“Selling Pot In The Parking Lot” is an anthem. Straight banger from the homie Bomber on production. I could just hear a whole crowd chanting the hook. We definitely need some visuals for this one.
“Sold Again” features a hazy island beat. Kai Ken had a dope flow on this track. The song concept is a really nice idea, very relatable.
“Pan Out” has that bouncy vibe. This song is all about growth. If you never take a chance, who knows what will happen. This album has a couple tracks for the ladies on it and this was my favorite one.
“Top Tier Titan” features a glitchy banger from Bomber. Between the group some of my favorite tracks are when Kai Ken and Bomber collab.
“Who It Is” is so wavy mane. Easily one of my stand out beats from the production. Ryan Rev did his thing on the backing vocals, adding some heft to the song.
“Mountaintop” is a very uplifting song. We all have goals in this world, using each day to its fullest to reach the mountaintop. Whenever Euphemistic and Kai Ken are on a track together, you can expect sick flows and catchy lines here and there.
The project ends with the “Palm Pact Cypher IV”. All the members of the Pact show what they got going bar for bar over a Jolly Green beat. It was dope how they made the cypher into an actual song, rather than just spitting. The double time flows from Ryan Rev and Euphemistic really stood out.
There is definitely a place in the Tampa Bay Hip Hop scene for Palm Pact. I enjoy there feel good local vibe, with tracks on smoking and good vibes. My biggest takeaway is Ryan Rev though, that boy did his thing with the vocals, taking a lot of these songs to another realm with his hooks and backing vocals. Whether it’s solo efforts or another gang project, I’ll for sure be checking back in to see what’s next from the Pact.
Built on the philosophy of “Chasing Your Own Avenue”, Ave89 Clothing debuts its brand new slide and hat collection, for all the Ave Chasers to enjoy.
Coming in black as well as orange color ways, the new Ave89 slides are the epitome of style and comfort. Ave Chasers can keep it simple with the black and white combo, or spice it up a bit with that orange color way.
What’s a dope pair of slides without the hat to match. Hats are a key component to solidifying an identity, and Ave89 hit a Bullseye with this one. Both color ways have rockability at all times but, I would personally go with the classic black and white for that smooth look.
Ave89 Clothing continues to push the limits with each release, furthering the story and philosophy that the brand has bestowed in onto the community. Remember Ave Chasers, keep chasing your Avenue to the fullest.
Multidisciplinary artists DATASYNCED is pushing the boundaries of what AI technology can handle, peaking into the future, on the cusp of bringing our wildest dreams to life.
While the focus is on the future, DATASYNCED has used AI to get a glimpse at what vacation spots, wild life, spas, as well as what a dystopian pollution filed future could hold for Earth.
In a future filled with remote work, what will a traditional work space or place of business look like. Would these experimental work retreats be the norm. Once your subconscious is numb would humans be able to go back to their past habits
These experimental concepts for Alkaline Water & Desalination Plants. Due to miss use the risk of losing our clean water supply down the road is a real possibility. It’s time we take the necessary steps to try and figure out an alternative. The desalination or removing the salt from saline water could be one answer to that problem. DATASYNCED has used the AI to generate what these Desalination Plants could look like.
With all the recent reports of our air quality getting worse, DATASYNCED locked in with the AI technology to create Oxygen Priority Suites designed to increase air quality. Being a person with asthma I can relate to the answers DATA is searching for.
With hospitals these days being so drab and undesirable places, what if the hospital was a bit livelier, would it result in a better environment for those on deaths door, or even those for a short stay. What if you could make your hospital room, feel more like home at the touch of a button.
Depicted in the above scenarios is what the AI spit out when DATASYNCED inquired about 2030 climate change. You thought the masks during COVID where bad, imagine having to use them at all times due to how polluted the air is. Long sleeves and jumpsuits will become the norm, to protect our entire body from contamination. Due to the harsh changes, the sky’s color will begin to change, almost decaying.
If y’all think privacy is an issue now just wait until the future. Filters on your phone are just the beginning, wait until we are able to utilize them out in the real world, merging what is real and what is fake. People bitch about finger scanners, it’s only a matter of time before you will be Face ID to get into your records.
It’s not all bad in the future! These Artificial Geothermal Spring images could be the cure for ultimate relaxation. The hot springs and tub are all one. What if there was a way to make these springs available in all areas, sort of like a deluxe spa experience. Who knows it could even be possible to have this experience in your own backyard.
With various species of wild life being depleted each year it could only be a matter of time before we need to rely on AI animals and insects to take their place, continuing the flow of the ecosystem like nothing ever happen. Personally I feel like this would be a sad outcome. If cloning isn’t up to snuff by then this system could be used to replace animals that are used more for labor, but imagine a whole AI based rainforest, kind of eerie.
The possibilities are vast for what AI technology could do for us in the future. From music, to art, to aspects that will effect our daily routine, it is crucial for artists like DATASYNCED to keep pushing to boundaries of what AI can handle, furthering our journey into the future faster than we know it,
Following up their inaugural “China Shop Bull” release, Concealed United is back with the “Messenger Tasks” collection.
With Fall in full swing and Winter just around the corner, I was hoping Concealed would come through with some gear aimed for the colder months.
Every good messenger needs a bag to carry their messages, now this is all possible with the “Good For Nothing” tote. The purple on purple hits real well on the cream colored bag. Purple is one of my favorite colors so it’s a winner for me. The tote itself looks pretty sturdy, allowing for it to be packed to the brim.
The brand new “Protector Ringer” tee is essential for any fan of the brand. Featuring the “Concealed Protector” on the back of the tee, and the Concealed Untied logo we all know and love on the pocket. It’s not often you see the ringer look being used instead of a basic tee but I’m for it.
The “Rogue” crewneck is my favorite piece Concealed has dropped to date, other than the statement piece patchwork denim. I am big on crewnecks, especially this time of the year. Not to mention anything Grey is guaranteed to catch my fancy, you already know it’s Team Grey 4L. I also mess with the through the woods graphic on the front.
Once again Concealed Untied did it again with another amazing drop. I like that Chad & the team are focusing on quality small drops, with a variety of pieces, rather than just dropping a bunch of tees. The brand is slowly forming its identity, and I am happy to support it, watching the story grow before our very eyes.
Tampa Bay newcomer Asaru proved he could hang with the scenes top emcees on his sophomore effort “All Praises Due”, delivering the city an 813 Essential Album, during one of its darkest times.
2020 was a rough year for everyone and that can be felt throughout this project. In a way I am sure these songs acted as therapy to help the listener but also the man himself get through life’s struggles.
The project starts with “Amen”. News footage is played depicting the rise of COVID, the death of George Floyd, and other major moments that happened in 2020. Being from NYC, Asaru has a great voice for Hip Hop. That sound is really missing in Tampa Bay and I am glad he is adding that flavor to our growing melting pot. Bars and flows are mad on point, he’s spitting the truth but it doesn’t come off as lyrical miracle. Once the 808s kick in towards the end, we get a little Down South flavor.
“Pray” features a piano laced beat with hard hitting production. Asaru is a very relatable emcee. Everyone needs a prayer sometimes. The hook could come off corny in the wrong hands but Asaru pulls it off with ease. With the odds stacked in his favor Asaru is able to overcome all the obstacles.
“Need Sun’n” is a certified banger. I really dig his interpretation of “Ha”. Once he spits “Oh it’s lit”, bro just goes crazy over the beat. Asaru hands down has one of the best flows in the game once he hits that pocket. Some could feel Asaru comes off as preachy on some tracks, but he’s just spitting that real talk.
The title track “All Praises Due” brings Asaru back to his Boom Bap roots, and I’m all here for it. Hard hitting beats and even harder bars. I feel down the road this is gonna go down as one of Asaru’s classic records.
“Underdog” is for anyone coming from the bottom. The flute based sample adds a bit of a bop feel that works as a nice change of pace at this point in the album. One of my favorite hooks on the project. Really dope way for the beat to just ride out.
The “Hallway” interlude puts a lot in perspective, allowing Asaru to gather his thoughts.
“Everyday” featuring Michaela Paladio and DJ Sandman is a Tampa Bay Classic at this point. From the scratching of Sandman, to Michaela providing those nostalgic vocals. Asaru pretty much gives us a slice of life in one song. Amazing record showing love to both his old and new home.
The project ends out on the melancholic “Look What He Did / Amari”. More thought provoking lyrics from Asaru, contemplating money and fame with a simple life. Asaru sees his true potential, and will continue to strive to be the best. Yo that beat switch at the end is a moment foreal. The last few bars are a shout out to his younger brother, making the album feel a bit more personal.
With the 1 Year Anniversary of this project just passing I wanted to show it some love. Asaru is really carving out his own lane in the Tampa Bay scene, showing that you can come from the outside and still make shit shake, if you got the bars and bravado to back it up.