Rappers who get this nerd out of the trap — plus updates on Tampa Bay hip-hop artists

By Julie Garisto

Daniel, my other half, has taken over our Spotify and Youtube accounts, eschewing my trust-fund-kid-approved playlists of Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra in favor of  Fetty Wap and O.T. Genasis.

His playlist on Spotfy is a diverse mix of hip-hop and R&B, ranging from Aesop Rock to Big Sean to Childish Gambino to Run the Jewels to J. Cole to Nikki Minaj. I’m a little late to some, but I’m starting to get current.

Boogie, who’s more intense and buggy-eyed than Lil’ Wayne, has grown on me. His “Oh My” has a big fat hook you could hang Andre the Giant’s coat on.

Chance the Rapper’s “Angels” is an ambitious track that doesn’t conform to the status quo but is equally bold, as so is his superheroic video.


My favorite this month is  Domo Genesis feat. Anderson .Paak‘s “Dapper,” a smooth tune with a sweet roller-skating vid.

Action Bronson is a cult sensation who along with rapping is a full-on chef who hosts a cooking show on Vice’s Munchies channel called “F*ck, That’s Delicious.” Along with being smart as a whip, the 32-year-old performer born Arian Asllani gives us this big teddy-bear nice guy vibe but can hold his own in a fight.

Bronson’s “Baby Blue” video (directed by Lil Chris) has no doubt endeared many with its Coming to America tribute the world’s most awesome revenge verse from Chance the Rapper.

Dave Burd, aka Lil Dicky, is a humorist and lovable douche who has been dubbed an anti-rap artist because he crafts rhymes about saving money and the mundane pastimes of middle class life. His track “Lemme Freak” is a brilliant sendup of suburban male sexual frustration. My favorite part is when he envisions himself a senior in the virtual reality future, calling out his wife for throwing out his shoes.

Locally, Dynasty, aka Dream Pusher, aka Lady Dy still reigns supreme. Both fierce and uplifting, she is on point with her poetry and doesn’t have one iota of inauthenticity.

Here’s her track from a few years back, “Magnificent”:

Dynasty has always been community-conscious, too. Right now she’s recruiting kids for the STAAR Program, a music and arts summer camp in June. Visit her homepage for more details.

I had the honor of being the first journalist to interview Ms. Diana Hardy more than a decade ago for the Times/tbt*. Since then, Dy has had a number of great collaborators, from Talib Kweli to Tampa Bay rapper Mike Mass, who, likewise, has an effortless flow.

Mass was recently featured in Blame Ebro as an “Artist on the Come Up.”

For those of you who appreciate having more to love, Clearwater-based Blackwell, a Blakknation Music hip-hop artist, has just released a track dedicated to the BBGs of this world:  “Thick,” featuring Shock Da world and D. Jone$. For more info go to Reverbnation.Com/blackwell612. Oh, I almost forgot: He’ll be on WTAN-AM’s “The Dawn Reese Show” Wednesday, May 11, 6-7 p.m.

Tampa favorite Breakdown, whom I was also fortunate to interview when he first hit, is working on a new album.

Here’s what he had to say about it:

“Quite a few of songs deal with my interactions with different women, so I touch on love, heartbreak, unrequited feelings, dating, etc. A couple songs deal with the frustration of just working full time and still trying find time to devote to writing music. So a lot of it’s dark, but there are a few songs about typical-rapper stuff. I actually composed all of the music first. Some of the songs started with samples from punk, emo, and melodic hardcore bands and the other songs started from original guitar riffs I wrote. There’s some faster tempo stuff and almost drum and bass on a few songs.”

Here’s a vid for “Been a Minute” from his last release a couple of years ago, So Far Away. Directed and animated by Ranmecca, the track can be downloaded for free criticalbreakdown.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you again Breakdown. It’s indeed been a minute.


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