Nico Suave takes it up a notch, diving into his introspective pocket alongside Madmanbeatz handling production on their latest 3 track EP, “Random Delusions EP”.
I really mess with the cloudy moody production laced throughout the project. Madmanbeatz did his thing setting the tone on the EP. Nico usually has a message with most of his music, but the cohesion on this whole tape was next level. Telling the story of a relationship that isn’t meant to be can be a tough task but Nico and Madman let it flow without a hiccup.
“Loving (Intro)” starts the project out, setting the tone. At first Nico is head over heels for the girl in the song. Everything is all peaches at first before things take a wrong turn. That peach tea line was a gem. Great interpretation of the butterflies that get in your stomach during the early stages of lust.
Next we roll into the “Toxic Midway”. This my favorite beat on the whole project. Nico does his thing over the somber production. The Sunny times are done as things in the relationship take a rocky turn. The rain in the background is a nod to the cloudy/rainy state of the relationship. You can’t get back the time you lost, but you can take the lessons you learned and moved forward into a brighter day.
“Retrospective Ending” was a great way to end out the project. Nico has learned a lot from the dysfunctional relationship, overcoming the pain and turning it into triumph. Nico’s flow is crazy on this one where he spits about nights in Tokyo and Tampa, slamming sake like the pros. We def need some visuals for this 1.
Really loved how short and sweet this project is. Nico and Madmanbeatz knew the task at hand and executed it flawlessly. Every new Nico track I hear he gets better and better, especially when it comes to tying in themes with his work. We def need some visuals or a mini movie would be insane. Be on the look out for this one on the New Tampa Bay Playlist, as well as my end of the year EP list.
Big Racks gives fans a taste of what’s to come on his latest effort Lift-Off EP.
Mostly know for providing the production for some of your favorite artists out of the St.Pete Underground Scene, most notably his work on tracks for DYINGOUTSOUTH, and Tony0K’s full length “WW4” that dropped at the top of the year. With all the momentum Big Racks has been making in the scene as of late it was only right to review his latest EP, all self produced, as well as self engineered.
“Been About It” kicks the project off with a banger. Racks goes off the dome with a barrage of bars. He ain’t have no choice but to run it up, you know how we rockin. We need a video for this joint for sure. This that Friday pay day flex music, ya herd!
Racks takes a darker approach on “Piped Up City”. This track is a short but sweet banger. The way Racks spits on the hook comes off like a check list. Got that whip, check, got that bitch, check, got that stick, check. Probably my favorite hook on the project.
“Ibiza” is my shit. It’s got that Detroit style production but brings it all together with a cloud rap inspired sample. Racks killed it with the vocals towards the mid section of the track. This that throwing bands in the club type of record. Love the production.
“IDK” send you straight to space. Racks flow is a bit more experimental on this one but it fits the wonky nature of the beat. Just when you think Racks is all production, he drops gems that stick with you again and again.
The project closes out with the booted up “Fully Loaded”. Once again I dig how Racks uses his vocals on the more hook elements on the track. Really solid way to end out a fire EP.
With his yet to be titled full length dropping at the top of next year, Big Racks has definitely staked his claim when it comes to top producers in the scene on both sides of the bay. What I liked about this EP is Racks showed he can also shine as not only the producer but as the total package. You can best believe “Lift-Off EP” is going to be heavy in the rotation for the rest of the year.
All the way from NY, the homie Mike Finesse channels all his chakras on “Sage Mode”
The project kicks off with the title track “Sage Mode”. Tons of video game references throughout the track make it an enjoyable listen. Mike went crazy with that Wendy’s 4 for 4 line. It seems Mike has leveled up all the way to Sage Mode, and is presenting us with this project.
Things take a more melodic note on “Serpentz”. Everyone has delt with snakes and betrayal and Mike is no different. All the trials and tribulations Mike has faced throughout his life built him up to reach the level he is at today. I really dig the melodic change up on this track, taking a break from the morning Hardcore Hip Hop sound Mike is known for.
The airy “No Way” bring a light hearted tone to the project. Mike’s done playing games and is on the search for something real. I really mess with the hook on this joint.
“Make Out Paradise” is one for the club. This track shows how versatile Mike is, he can go from the streets, to heartbreak, to the club! This track is short but sweet, with Mike still getting his point across.
I love the beat on “Amaterasu”. Mike is back on his Hardcore Hip Hop shit but adding in a melodic twist. This track has Mike’s best flow on the whole project.
“Ghosts” is on some street vibes. Just because everything look all good on the outside doesn’t mean that things are all good on the inside. Mike tackles the ghosts and skeletons hiding in his closet on this introspective track. From drugs to trifling hoes, Mike puts his all into this song.
“Reaper Death Seal” has a bit of a somber vibe but Mike does his thing on the melodic tip. The trickling Hi Hats on the beat make for a great soundscape for Mike to do his thing.
“Hidden Rain Village (Pain)” featuring the one and only Michaela Paladio is hands down my favorite track on the project. From the Castle Cagliostro sample on the beat to the storytelling Mike delivers throughout the song. Not only is the sample insane but the beat is very hard hitting, adding a bit of NY Drill vibes to the track. Michaela brings it home with her lush vocals on the outro, add a gravitas to the track.
The homie Mike Finesse really did his thing on “Sage Mode”. I feel like the Tampa Bay Area could really get behind this project once they give it a listen. That “Hidden Rain Village” track is one of them ones. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Mike Finesse and the rest of the 4EverLitt crew in the rest of 2023.
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.