“Ain’t nobody reppin’ Tampa,” says Gizmoe, a 23-year-old Tampa native who wants to bring the hip hop world’s attention to his hometown. The Bay area is lacking credibility in terms of rap music, so Gizmoe is a trailblazer in that regard.
“I bring a mix of everything,” he says, “but I want to create my own style.”
Having trouble finding a label to produce his album, Gizmoe and producer Mesta Bish formed their own label, Flowridianz, Inc.
“We really wanted to get into the game, so we weren’t going to let (not being signed) stop us,” Gizmoe said.
Tampa Bay has given much love to Gizmoe, especially local and college radio stations, such as 93.3 WFLZ and WBUL, by placing his recent ode to the Buccaneers, “We Be the Bucs,” on heavy rotation. The song is easily Gizmoe’s most popular hit.
He has also performed at many area clubs, such as 1509, Empire and Club Masquerade.
Gizmoe says his first album, ironically titled Unsigned, was a “learning process,” adding, “I wanted to see how many styles I can flip.”
The haunting intro on Unsigned warns, “Gizmoe’s coming.” His lyrics are sharp, full of humor and wit.
The title track tells listeners, “If you don’t like my CD/take it back and get a better one,” and that his “head is more gassed up than a (expletive) Citgo.” His voice fills up this track, and grabs you by the throat.
On “Splurgin,” he drops references to John Travolta and Kahlua, while dissing foes by saying, “You spent a million on your own record/but I spent 2,000, and my s—‘s better.”
And the line “the only cock you get is frozen chicken up in Publix” might be the funniest line of the year.
“1, 2, 3, Stop” aims at getting everything bouncing, including, “Fat thighs, booties … clubs, cars.” Mesta Bish also slips in a sample from the ghetto-kung fu cult classic, The Last Dragon. Gizmoe shows off his wit on this track, exclaiming that he “lays up in the cut like Neosporin.”
The two most banging tracks are definitely “T.A.M.P.A” and “Boonky Room.”
On “T.A.M.P.A,” Gizmoe puts it down for the Bay, giving props to all sections of Tampa, Pinellas, and local sports teams like the Devil Rays and Buccaneers. (Gizmoe even wears a D-Rays cap on the CD cover). His flow here differs noticeably. He rhymes more quickly, with less resonance but more emotion, so the track ends up having more of the grit that Southern rap is known for.
“Boonky Room” gives props to Tampa’s premier contribution to the humanity, that being its world-renowned strip clubs. He opens the track with a, “Holla to the city where they roll cigars.”
Gizmoe goes on to show his appreciation for the prominent posteriors of area strippers, and recounts many sexual exploits certainly un-recountable in these pages. As on other tracks, A.J. Quinteiro lays down great background vocals.
All the tracks on Unsigned were produced by Gizmoe and Mesta Bish.
Despite obvious budget constraints, the production on Unsigned is top notch. Each cut sounds crisp and is aimed at getting people up and partying.
Gizmoe might not be unsigned for long. Big-name record companies Def Jam South, Flip Mode and The Row have expressed interest in Gizmoe, but he adds, “nothing is definite.”
His follow-up album should be released this year. Gizmoe says Unsigned is just the start. As for the state of rap in Tampa, Gizmoe is more positive.
“(It) feels good to rep Tampa, to put us on the map,” he said.
Contact Andrew Pina at firstname.lastname@example.org