Sarasota rapper Sota drops debut album ‘State of the Art II’ on Tampa’s Illsboro Records

He also said goodbye to his cover band years.

click to enlarge Sarasota rapper Sota drops debut album ‘State of the Art II’ on Tampa’s Illsboro Records

Brandon Nadal is a staple of Sarasota rap, and this month he finally released his first full-length record under his pseudonym, Sota (stylized, “SOTA”). An eponymous (sorta) EP from 2018 accumulated over 100,000 streams on Spotify, and “Make Room”—this album, State Of The Art II’s lead single and opening track—has already reached nearly 20,000 streams over the span of a few weeks.

State Of The Art II is not your average hip-hop effort, but ripe for election year, COVID-19 area America. “Peace And Love” is probably the hip-hop song that Ringo Starr wishes he had written. It promotes, as you can imagine, unity, as Sota raps, “The key to life is self-preservation/Thru meditation, self-medication/But we gotta come together, no more separation.”

“Cool Guy (feat. 80p),” driven by a keyboard riff on repeat and straight out of a contemporary ‘80s song, sees Nadal and 80p bringing up his chronic coolness, and his humility. “I could talk about my paper and how it won’t fold/But to me, braggin’ about money’s really getting old,” he stresses. Closing out the album are two non-collab pieces: “Changed Up” and “This Is… “, in which he briefly looks deeper into his “life, story, journey, struggles, pain, and glory.”

Advertised as a rap album without the word “bitch” in it, State of the Art II focuses on Sota’s goals and the the killer inspiration behind the record: This time last year, Nadal was playing in EPOD, a soul/R&B cover band. But because they didn’t do original material, he didn’t feel as respected as he desired.

“I learned so much in that time about music, and the business, polished up my performances, plus it kept me doing what I love during a time where I was picking myself out of depression and lacking creativity,” he wrote in a recent Facebook post. He was recently picked up by Tampa-based Illsboro Records, which put out the album. Listen to it on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Josh Bradley

Josh Bradley is Creative Loafing Tampa's resident live music freak. He started freelancing with the paper in 2020 at the age of 18, and has since covered, announced, and previewed numerous live shows in Tampa Bay. Check the music section in print and online every week for the latest in local live music.
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