Taking the Drake out of Drake: Tampa emcees take a ride with Drizzy — listen

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Parents, if you haven’t noticed, all of our children are freaking out about Drake coming to Amalie Arena on Saturday.

The Champagne Papi is getting all kinds of love locally (there’s a Drake Night party at St. Pete’s The Bends on August 26 for chrissake) and CL is getting in on the action by kinda-sorta ignoring all the hype around Jimmy Brooks and shifting the spotlight to a few Tampa Bay emcees who we’ve asked to pull some Drake instrumentals and then drop a few bars of their own.

These acts represent just a slice of the vibrant hip-hop community that has acts making music within all rap subgenres, and this is meant to get Drake fans on board with the artists who live and create hip-hop locally. One of the featured artists (Gat$) is even throwing a multimedia album release show for his forthcoming concept LP. Listen below.


There is a track on Drake’s new album, Views, on which the Toronto rapper croons about losing his way because he “wants an independent woman to feel like she needs me.” It’s extra emotional. Drake sounds really sad on “Redemption,” where producer Noah Shebib splices a Ray J sample into the mix. Tampa emcee HMTWN did the whole thing one better on his take on the instrumental, which is live below. HMTWN's latest effort is a 17-track LP, Without A Cape, featuring production from Elgin Louis that righteously bouys HMTWN’s witty wordsmithing and easy, unforgettable cadence. There’s a polish to the effort that suggests a perfectionist, but the whole of it all is marked by an attitude that says HMTWN isn’t afraid to have fun creating his music. The 27-year-old currently helps curate [beatsnchill], a series of monthly concerts and in-depth web series for producers by producers.


CL profiled Robert Gats two weeks ago by sharing a new single, “No L’s,” where the 27-year-old Tampa emcee nonchalantly tackled some heavy topics on the trunk-rattler. “It’s totally narrative driven, yet still relatable to have stand alone songs,” Gat$ told CL in a message. “’No L’s’ is primarily about the paranoia black men feel about mental health and is my take on the braggadocio angle most rappers take by proclaiming ‘we’ll take no losses’.” Gat$ pulled Drizzy’s “4PM in Calabasas,” which some are saying is Drake’s jab at Diddy. Hear what Gat$ did with Drake’s cry for attention below.

Gat & Cris

Not to be confused with Robb Gats, who reworked Drake’s “4PM in Calabasas,” Gat & Cris are a Tampa-based duo that released a debut album, Nuisances, last summer. Their video for “No Yams” (which we believe means the boys refrain from hard drugs) is a vertiable party where at least a dozen and a half of Gat & Cris’ closest friends have piled into a small back room to hang out until the sun comes up. Another clip, “Turn Up,” is an ode to old-school Southern trap that splices together live footage from a racous show at Orpheum in Ybor City and also turns the duo’s hometown pride up thanks to some Bucco Bruce orange and at least one Martin St. Louis hockey sweater. The cream of the crop, though? The official video for “Difference,” where the Ballast Point Pier goes front and center along with the Shaqueefa screenprint designed by local skateboarder Scott Conley, who has placed his irreverant stamp on global skate superstars like Ishod Wair and Grant Taylor. the duo took on Drake's "Energy" — listen below.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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