Florida Hip-Hop: Depakote and Luminary Youth
Internet culture (more specifically indie culture) has acted as a catalyst of hip-hop’s ongoing evolution. Now, with virtually unlimited access to information, hip-hop’s sphere of influence has opened up drastically. The result: modern artists are able to produce wildly imaginative aural works of art.
Unfortunately for us, Florida hasn’t contributed much to the conversation in the way of pushing boundaries. It seems that a number of native hip-hop artists, like Rick Ross and T-Pain, are more concerned with cranking out crowd-pleasers than changing the formula. Without major label deals and heavy airplay, there still exists an entire community of artists who are overlooked and unspoken for.
This realization prompted me to look in my backyard for some undiscovered talent. What I found was a colorful array of artists, producers and emcees alike, each with a unique take on their craft. Two of these artists—producers Depakote and Luminary Youth—embody the forward-thinking spirit that the Sunshine State may need to stay on the map.
Depakote, a drug prescribed to fight mania in people living with bipolar disorder, is also the moniker of Garden-Grove-via-Orlando producer Erik Lopez. As he suffers from the disorder, Lopez creates music as a form of catharsis and therapy, hence the name. While listening to his newest release, Suicide Watch EP, the soul and psych-rock samples evoke strong Dilla and Madlib comparisons, but the cohesion of his material gestures at something more emotionally profound. You can stream his EP at Fly Definition Bandcamp, or check out a free album sampler below:
Depakote Suicide Watch EP Sampler
Matt Moore, otherwise known as Luminary Youth, is another Floridian who is garnering attention for his approach to the craft of beatmaking. Rather than crate-digging for ’60s and ’70s soul and rock, Moore often samples contemporary electronic and indie. While the immediacy of his beats resemble hip-hop, the dreamy, synth-heavy nature of his songs hint at a ghostly presence of dance and chillwave. You can listen to “Stay Outside,” the (somewhat prophetic) Cults remix from his most recent EP, Weekend Dreams, below and keep a look out for Lovers’ Passport, due in September:
Luminary Youth – Stay Outside (Cults Remix)