12 Songs That Will Make You Thankful For Florida’s Large Rap Scene Today
Pitchfork writer Alphonse Pierre rap chronicle covers songs, mixtapes, albums, Instagram freestyles, memes, weird tweets, fashion trends—and anything that catches his eye.
Florida’s best rap right now
Following Florida rap is a full-time job. A pop scene in the Sunshine State is nothing new: from Miami bass in the 80s to Trick Daddy street raps at the turn of the century to the blowouts of current stars Kodak Black and the City Girls, the Florida is a constant.
But the state’s rich rap output is so overwhelming because it’s fractured into tons of microscenes that rarely intersect. There’s the exercise scene in Jacksonville. Casual street rap in Tallahassee. Kodak’s followers spread throughout South Florida. Party rap. Painful rap. Michigan inspired beats. Fast music. Internet scenes. No Limit-like funk. Florida rap is such an intersecting world that there’s currently a TV show on HBO trying to capture a little taste of it.
This year I tried not to fall behind, but there is always something new bubbling up from the swamp. There have been a handful of major albums coming out of the state over the past nine months – by Kodak, Rod Wave, Denzel Curry, Trapland Pat and Hotboii – but the songs that stood out to me the most come in big part of the underground. Below are a dozen of my favorite recent Florida rap songs that not only hit the spot, but also highlight how many different styles there are in the state.
While the Michigan rappers have perfected the punchline marathon, Pompano Beach MC Loe Shimmy’s event is the 40-yard dash. In less than two minutes, he rushes through banging one-liners on everything from his rags to riches, trap and fly stories. His hissing shortness of breath feels like he’s constantly pushing himself to the brink. Someone get this man a bottle of oxygen.
Mari Montana has the type of booming voice you’d expect to hear recounting a ’90s black gangster movie. The West Palm Beach spitter navigates the funk groove of “Super Star” with the presence of a mob boss in cold blood. His rhymes feature evocative threats, money-chasing fantasies and paranoia, all of which feel so alive because of his storytelling instincts, and little touches that add color: “I’m going to get rich despite everything, but I try to be legit / I feel like the biggest target, the fuckin’ feds on our dick,” he raps, as a police siren blares in the distance. tell me Society Threat II Wouldn’t have been a bit better if Mari Montana was the narrator instead.
The verdict is still on if Real Boston Richey is worthy of the hype, but there’s no denying ‘Bullseye 2’. Over piano-heavy production backed by muted percussion and futuristic laser beam effects, Richey’s sleek shit talk is so searing it feels like steam is about to come out of his ears at the Yosemite Sam. It’s such a flamboyant verse that it even dragged Future out of his pile of cash to step back in time for a moment with an electric performance all his own.
Much of the fanfare surrounding TDE’s Doechii is due to his rage on “Crazy” and the SZA-assisted R&B single “Persuasive,” which seems destined for a long life on TV rom-com soundtracks. But “Bitch I’m Nice” is by far his toughest song. The Tampa rapper’s minute-and-a-half heat check is coupled with stunting so striking that a City Girls remix seems inevitable.