In the sprawling, ever-evolving universe of hip-hop, there exists a constellation of emerging stars whose narratives shine a beacon of inspiration and sheer tenacity. Right in the center of this constellation, shimmering with undeniable vigor, is Jacksonville’s very own Foolio. As of 2023, according to the financial wizards over at CAknowledge, this prodigious artist is estimated to have amassed a net worth of a cool $1 million.
To truly grasp the essence of Foolio, one must voyage back to the gritty streets of Jacksonville, Florida. Born in the heart of Duval County, Foolio, christened Willie Dewayne Robinson Jr., embarked on his musical journey amid challenging circumstances. Undeterred by the hustle and bustle, and the occasional strife of his environment, Foolio found solace and expression in his rhymes.
Crafting A Distinctive Voice Amid The Crowd
The hip-hop stage is undoubtedly crowded, with many a microphone battling for attention. However, Foolio’s voice resonated. His lyrical style, a blend of raw emotion and poignant observations of his surroundings, made him stand out. Tracks like “Voodoo” and “Slide” turned heads and churned discussions as listeners felt the weight and depth of his stories. Further, being lauded critically is one thing, but turning that into commercial success is quite another. Yet, Foolio deftly bridged that gap. The journey from dropping tracks on SoundCloud to headlining shows and being a sought-after name for collaborations has increased his financial stature.
The Man Beyond The Music
Additionally, Foolio’s tracks might often be intense, offering a deep dive into the world he’s emerged from. There’s more to Foolio than meets the eye. The artist is not just about hard-hitting beats and compelling lyrics; he’s also about community and kinship. Throughout his career, Foolio has consistently highlighted the importance of staying grounded and remembering one’s roots. OVerall, having touched the million-dollar milestone, the journey is far from over for Foolio. With the hip-hop landscape constantly shifting, artists like him are redefining the genre’s boundaries and potential. As we gaze into the future, one can’t help but feel that this is the first of many accolades and accomplishments for Jacksonville’s shining star.
In 2012, one of the artists to pique the interest of Hip Hop aficionados was the rapper Gunplay. The rapper had just departed from his group to embark on a solo music career. By the time 2012 rolled around, rap was having a progressive year, and the genre was breaking further into the mainstream. As such, there was no better time than the present for Gunplay to debut as a solo artist.
The MC was recently involved in a controversial case and has received backlash for allegedly pointing a gun at his partner and child. He currently faces allegations related to domestic violence and more. Gunplay has faced legal troubles and backlash throughout his career. Obviously, this has overshadowed his music and professional career. As a result of this, many have understandably struggled to separate the artist from his personal issues.
Background & Musical Career Beginnings
Miami rapper Gunplay was born Richard Morales Jr. on July 18, 1979. Growing up, Morales struggled with academics and dropped out of school at the age of 15. The following year, a 16-year-old Morales started selling and using drugs. The rapper shared in an interview with Complex that during that time, he was spending a lot of money weekly on his habit.
“I was 16 years old. I used to sell coke, and one day I just tried it, and I liked it,” he said. He continued by revealing he got hooked on the drug. “I ain’t put it down since. I used to spend around $600 to $700 a week on drugs. [After my label deal], I spent thousands of dollars a week.”
Before he struggled with drug abuse, Morales developed an early interest in music. Eventually, he started rapping as a teen. Several years later, he became associated with the Carol City Cartel. The local rap group was founded by rapper and label executive Rick Ross in 2005. Morales became popularly known by his stage name, Gunplay. Likewise, he rose to prominence as a member of Carol City Cartel alongside rappers Torch and Youngbreed.
Gunplay & Triple C’s
Meanwhile, the rap group was eventually popularly referred to as “Triple C’s.”. Their introduction to the rap scene was achieved through a feature on Rick Ross’s debut album, Port of Miami. Triple C’s was featured on the track “It Ain’t a Problem.” Subsequently, in 2008, the group was featured again on the Ross track “Reppin’ My City.” The song appeared on the rapper’s sophomore studio album, Trilla.
Thereafter, Triple C’s debut album, Custom Cars & Cycles, dropped in 2009. It is the group’s sole album and achieved moderate commercial success. The album peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard 200 chart. Gunplay gained significant recognition, leading to the rapper snagging a solo deal with Def Jam in 2012.
Although he did not sign a solo deal until 2012, Gunplay’s debut was actually in 2009. During his Triple C’s run, he appeared as the eponymous feature on the Rick Ross song “Gunplay.” He had an impressive feature run thereafter, spanning a couple of years before and after he got signed. The MC’s first mixtape, 601 & Snort, was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. His debut studio album followed three years after that, in 2015.
The album, Living Legend, received generally positive reviews upon release for its raw and unfiltered style. In 2019, Gunplay shared a collaboration album with rapper Mozzy. Further, Gunplay is expected to appear on Self Made 4, a long-awaited and highly anticipated collaborative project from Maybach Music Group.
Personal Life & Controversies
Besides his musical endeavors, the rapper is also a father to two children. The first, a son, was born in 2004 by his ex-wife, whom he separated from in 2008. His second child is a daughter he shares with a 24-year-old Instagram model. Recently, she accused him of domestic and child abuse, among other claims. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the rapper has been accused of violence. In 2012, the Gunplay allegedly pointed a firearm at his accountant.
Additionally, and throughout his career, Gunplay has dealt with numerous legal issues and controversies. One of his most notable involves the swastika tattoo he has. The rapper has also struggled with substance abuse and has been open about his efforts to overcome addiction. His recent alleged actions, though, if true, mean that he still has quite a ways to go with his personal growth.
2 Live Crew’s reputation was unlike any rap group before or after them. The quartet made the lyrics of MCs such as N.W.A. or 50 Cent seem tame. The Miami group was well-known for their improper and sexually implicit lyricism, leading to arrests and fines. In 1987, a record store clerk was even charged with a felony offense for selling 2 Live Crew’s debut album to a 14-year-old girl. The predicament spoke volumes about how offensive 2 Live Crew was then. Ultimately, their refusal to compromise positively changed hip-hop for good. As Rock the Vote’s Ashley Spillane put it, “It’s tough to imagine a similar effort even gaining support today, let alone getting to the point of banning albums and arresting artists for performing their music. That’s a direct result of young people exercising their political power.”
In fact, a few counties in Florida attempted to outright ban their 1989 album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Even the simple prospect of performing their music was dangerous, with its members frequently being arrested during live acts. Their arrests spurned much controversy over space in areas beyond hip-hop. It raised a philosophical question surrounding the validity of the First Amendment. How far did the amendment go in solidifying freedom of expression? Seemingly enough, the First Amendment was taking a backseat in favor of court rulings that deemed 2 Live Crew’s lyricism as overtly offensive.
2 Live Crew Were Known For Their Verbal Obscenity
However, 2 Live Crew’s wild adventure onto the front steps of the Highest Court in the Land was for a slightly different issue. In 1989, 2 Live Crew released a non-explicit version of their hit album in the form of As Clean As They Wanna Be. The clean version served two purposes. Firstly, the record expanded the group’s audience beyond the federal bans thrown on them. In addition, the release was a slap in the face to the bureaucrats who wanted to see 2 Live Crew erased from hip-hop. As a part of As Clean As They Wanna Be, they recorded a parody of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.” The collective contacted Acuff-Rose Music for permission while promising royalties and credits. However, Acuff-Rose would sue 2 Live Crew a year later.
Eventually landing in the Supreme Court, 2 Live Crew had shockingly ended up there for copyright violations rather than verbal obscenity. Ultimately, the group would win Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music. The victory was significant for hip-hop as a whole, solidifying the idea that there shouldn’t be limits to creative expression. The court deemed the parody of “Oh, Pretty Woman” as “a comment on the naiveté of the original of an earlier day, as a rejection of its sentiment that ignores the ugliness of street life and the debasement that it signifies.”
They Enforced Creative Freedom In Hip-Hop
2 Live Crew’s lasting influence on creative expression exceeded their chart numbers. Back in the 1980s, artists were beginning to express their creative sides more clearly than ever before. Madonna was rolling around stage while vocalizing “Like a Virgin” on MTV’s Video Music Awards. Prince and the Motley Crue pushed controversial boundaries regarding their experiences with sex or violence. However, parents were worried about the impact of the subjects on kids. All of a sudden, hip-hop had begun to enter the political sphere. By the end of 1985, The Recording Industry Association of America deemed it would include “Parental Advisory” labels on albums it determined needed them.
However, the ruling wasn’t enough for Florida activist Jack Thompson. Marveling at 2 Live’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be, he was trying to eliminate the flamboyant Miami group. All of a sudden, the government was blockading creativity like never before. Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and the Eminem’s of today were under threat to never exist in the first place. However, 2 Live’s victory in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music hushed suffocating political activists for good. The case didn’t directly surround freedom of speech. However, it silenced future detractors from attempting to limit the creative freedom of artists. In addition, it set the precedent that The First Amendment was King regarding creativity.
To say that this era of Hip Hop is flooded with new artists is an understatement. At every turn, a fresh voice emerges, an artist with stars in their eyes of becoming the next huge hitmaker in Rap. Bobby Fishscale’s name has been buzzing in the industry for years, but a conversation with the Florida native shows he doesn’t simply want to be viewed as a rapper looking to exploit his talents. There is more to the Roc Nation standout than meets the eye, and in our conversation with the rising star, he emphasized that the streets that helped raise him are only a part of his developing story.
Born Darryl Thomas in Quincy, Florida, Bobby Fishscale grew up far beyond the bright lights of Miami. The Sunshine State’s popular city is a hub for musical talent, and often, artists flock there hoping to make their marks. The successes pouring out of Miami were something that inspired Bobby. Growing up in the projects and getting involved in the street life was how a young Bobby Fishscale survived. However, he knew that it was just a stepping stone to something more significant. These days, he’s taking those lessons and using that as a foundation for his blossoming career.
In our conversation with Roc Nation‘s latest star, he’s clearly not like his peers. You may find him flexing a bit on social media, but as he tells us, he is more focused on adding his voice to the Hip Hop community rather than involving himself in the ills that often derail careers.
“I was young, trapping, and I went to jail a lot. I made a lot of mistakes. I rap about that to motivate people to do right. But like, I did a lot of good stuff, too. So, it can be balanced out. Now, I know the right path, I learned from my mistakes and all the headaches.”
With co-signs from artists like 2 Chainz, Rod Wave, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kodak Black, it comes as no surprise that the industry has poised him to be next in line. Additionally, Bobby’s “Huncho Fishscale” alongside Quavo has captured attention, and with a new album on the horizon, the industry is zoned in. Most recently, Fishscale returned with his latest single “I Might,” further cementing his placement.
Read through our insightful—and often motivational—conversation with Bobby Fishscale as he details leaving his trap life behind him, making his new hustle his music career, remaining dedicated to his craft, staying humble through the fame, and never making excuses.
This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.
HotNewHipHop: It’s such a pleasure to meet you, we really appreciate your time today. Let’s jump right in—give some insight into your background for those that may not know about your upbringing.
Bobby Fishscale: I started off in the country. You know, being from the country, so we look up to people from like, Miami and stuff. The bigger cities, we always want to get there. So like, you made it to Miami, you got your music to pop in Miami, like, you onto something. All the Trick Daddys, you know, Kodak [Blacks], everybody influenced us. That was the influence and the motivation.
Well, I read that you had used music to get out of the street life. Yet, you also incorporate a lot of that into your art now. Tell us about your developing years as a teen and how that influenced your career.
Oh, yeah, you know, I was young, trapping. So like, the streets, like, I didn’t really choose the streets. I was born in the streets. So, I was young, trapping, and I went to jail a lot. I made a lot of mistakes. I rap about that to motivate people to do right. But like, I did a lot of good stuff, too. So, it can be balanced out. Now, I know the right path, I learned from my mistakes and all the headaches.
I think it’s just really refreshing to hear artists say that. I was going over your interview with Big Facts Pod, and you were talking about how you’re not really in that whole beefing, competition space. It was interesting that you said you share everybody’s music, listen to other rappers, and promote everyone. Why is it important to you to embrace your peers instead of getting into the head-to-head space?
I mean, it gotta be just like the whole growing up in the projects. You know, growing up there—being in my project, it was like 100 apartments. Everybody got like four or five people in there. So, you growing up around 500 people that you really got to like because you got to see them every day. And then, going to jail, having to share a room with somebody you might not know, might not like everything about ’em. Going to prison and having to be in dorms, having to deal with so many people. But, everybody got something that you could like about him. Something you could benefit from.
“Everybody deserves a chance. A lot of the music I listen to, they really got potential.”
Even in the streets, my plug always told me, before I started rapping and stuff, everybody deserves a chance. A lot of the music I listen to, they really got potential. I look at people, the stage they in. When I was at that stage, I wasn’t rapping that good. I wasn’t really taking it that seriously. So, I just feel like everybody deserve a little boost, a little acknowledgment for at least trying. ‘Cause you could be out here robbing people or something. I feel like you’re doing something right, so you deserve a little something, at least.
I really love that mindset for the culture. I’m gonna jump into your music. I heard that you have in your upcoming project is like a hustler’s guide, but the “Fishscale way”? [laughs]
[Laughs] Yeah, the Fishscale way.
Talk a little about that. I also heard that each of the music videos will be a lesson of some sort. What’s that all about?
Well, that was mainly on my team, because my team, they not really in the streets. They never really went through what I went through. So, a lot of the stuff I talk about, the conversations, they really be interested in. They really asked a lot of questions. Even with the music, when I have to do the lyrics, they be like, “What you mean by that?” I have to explain it to them, and they be like, “Oh, okay, okay, okay, you just taught me something.”
So, with the “Fishscale way,” like, let’s start out with the intro, you know. I tell people about my struggle, what I went through. Like, if maybe a friend of yours went to jail or something. You sad and want to give up, maybe your engineer or maybe somebody love, your brother or something, went to jail, and he won’t give up. Maybe he caught six months or two years or something. My brother caught 36 years, so if you’re gonna use that for an excuse, you need to find another excuse.
I went through the same thing, but I overcame it. So, that’s like, one of the rules. And with one of the videos we shot, it was like, don’t get high off your own supply. Even if you’re selling merch, you can’t wear a new outfit every day and lose seven outfits that you sell for $100 apiece. Over a month, you done lost $3,000, and if your profit was only $2,000, you’d have made a whole company lose because you want to wear that merch instead of selling it. So, don’t get high off your own supply. But it’s a lot of knowledge and lessons. And I don’t want it to be just in the drug form because I don’t do that no more. But, I use the same principles from the street Iife. Selling my merch, marketing my music, marketing artists. It’s just guidelines to life.
It sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. What advice would you give to other artists, either coming up in your space or already established? What is a bit of Bobby Fishscale guidance?
Never not do something. There’s no reason that you can’t do something. I got homeboys like, “Oh, why I ain’t got no beats?” Why don’t you just download a beat off YouTube and then come up with some content, you feel me? Like, excuses only satisfy the person who makes them. So, even if you want it, I’m like, why do you shoot no video? Okay, shoot it on your phone and do the little Triller, the little TikTok. Do that. It’s no reason why you shouldn’t do something. You’re an upcoming artist.
“Excuses only satisfy those who make them.”
Shout out Luh Tyler. He is—one of his first hottest songs, “Law and Order” or whatever, he recorded on Bandlab on his phone. And to this day, he never re-recorded, remastered it, remixed it. It was quality enough to get the world’s attention. So, the studio should never be a reason why you want to say an excuse. ‘Cause ’til this day, I still record on my phone. If I’m on the road, trip, airport—I use GarageBand. I started using GarageBand. I’m on the plugin headphones right now. If I hear a flow or something, I get on my notes, and I do voice memos all day. But just put it in the work. Even now, I gotta do two songs a day mandatory.
I love that you said, “Excuses are…”
Excuses only satisfy those who make them.
That’s it, I’mma take that for me.
Right, no excuses.
This is my last question; I ask it to everyone I interview. So, we know celebrity is an illusion, right? Like people, audiences, fans…they think they know you based on the interviews you do, or the music you make, or whatever they see in the blogs or whatnot.
There are always these expectations for artists to live up to the standard of what the public thinks they are instead of just being naturally who they are. What is something about you that doesn’t always translate because people have this veil of celebrity around you? Or they think you’re just a Florida rapper, or think you’re just another artist out here trying to make money? What’s something about the heart of you as a person that people don’t often get to see?
The humbleness! Like, you gotta see the humbleness. ‘Cause I could be doing way more flashy stuff. I could be just, out more, but I’m just humble. I just take everything as a blessing. And I don’t disrespect it. That’s one thing about it—you gotta respect the position you in. I don’t just go to regular stores like that, I don’t really want to put myself in a position. I kind of pick and choose everywhere I go, I really don’t look for trouble. If trouble there, I’mma just go the opposite way.
So, people should embrace the humble ones more. It ain’t all about going to jail, the stuff that people glorify. I got homeboys who don’t trap, who don’t rap, who work jobs, who got nice stuff. And you know, I embrace them like they should be, but the world don’t. Even though I say I don’t work a nine-to-five, I respect everybody who do work a nine-to-five. You got no worries, you know.
I just think we need to embrace the hard workers. The engineers, all the people. The interviewers! People like y’all to bring it to life. Y’all don’t get famous too often, but y’all should. Even y’all on this call, I feel like y’all questions is better than a lot of people questions. So, the humble ones should get more glory. But other than that, you know, I’m just Bobby.
Confidence and an unapologetic voice define the career of Florida Rap icon Trina. Born and raised in Miami, she helped set the tone for women in Hip Hop with her bold lyrics and fiery attitude. Trina’s entry into the music industry was serendipitous. She was thrust into stardom in 1998 when she was featured on Trick Daddy’s single, “Nann N*gga,” which became a hit. It showcased Trina’s gritty lyricism, setting her apart in a predominantly male genre.
Her debut album, Da Baddest B*tch, dropped in 2000 and successfully peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard 200 chart. Not only did the album garner commercial success, but the title track also earned her the enduring nickname “Da Baddest B*tch.” It’s a moniker that she warmly embraces. Her fans never cease to let her know that she’s influenced them to live without worrying about the confines of the world’s expectations.
A Journey Up The Charts
Two years later, Trina built on her initial success with Diamond Princess. The album outperformed her first, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard 200. It included popular tracks like “No Panties,” which further emphasized her audacious delivery and confirmed her status in the Rap scene. Additionally, over the years, Trina has worked with an array of distinguished artists. Her collaborations have showcased her ability to intertwine her delivery with different genres and artists. Among these collaborations, her track “Here We Go” with Kelly Rowland remains notably popular, thanks to its empowering message of self-respect and resilience.
Despite her fame, Trina has never shied away from sharing her personal life with the public. Her roots in a Dominican and Bahamian family have instilled a sense of pride in her heritage, which she promotes through her platform. Her openness about personal relationships has encouraged her fans to advocate for themselves and their independence.
Outside Of Music
Further, Trina’s impact extends beyond her music. She’s a powerful figure for women in the industry, breaking barriers with her no-holds-barred approach to Rap. Her frank discussions about love, sex, and personal power through her music have challenged societal norms, creating a path for other female artists to follow. Trina’s influence has spilled over into other areas as well. In 2018, she joined Love & Hip Hop: Miami, venturing into reality television. In 2012, she founded her own record label, Rockstarr Music Group, further expanding her influence and opening doors for new talent.
Critical & Cultural Reception
Trina’s industry contributions have earned her critical acclaim. Among various nominations, she was up for the BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Her peers also recognize her influence and celebrate her for her contributions to Hip Hop. Even after decades in the industry, Trina remains active in the music scene. In 2020, she released The One, her sixth studio album, to positive reviews. After a short hiatus, it marked her strong return and featured collaborations with heavyweights like Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and Nicki Minaj.
The femcee’s journey shows an indomitable spirit. Her daring lyrics have inspired a legion of women to embrace their individuality and power. Today, she continues to be a vital part of Hip Hop, setting the tone for future generations. As she expands her reach, the “Baddest B*tch” in Rap is far from finished. Her journey serves as a beacon for aspiring artists, demonstrating that with unwavering dedication and authenticity, they, too, can leave a lasting mark.
Doechii is emerging as a superstar in the music scene, especially following the release of her “Persuasive” remix with SZA. She has garnered praise for her unique blend of alternative hip-hop, rock, pop, and rap. The genre-bending rapper self-funded and released her EP, Oh the Places You’ll Go, showing the young artist’s level of faith in her music. Now receiving more recognition for her unique style, she is rising to prominence in the ever-competitive rap game. Here’s what you need to know about the Doechii!
Early Life & Career
Born Jaylah Ji’mya Hickmon in Tampa, Florida, Doechii’s love and interest in music came early in life. Raised in a creative and supportive household, Doechii’s mother encouraged her to pursue many creative outlets. This included ballet, tap dancing, acting, and cheerleading. The future star also participated in gymnastics as well. The artist was also on track to attend college for classical choral singing during high school.
During her 11th-grade year, however, Doechii discovered SoundCloud and the D.I.Y. music scene from one of her friends. At this point, Doechii began skipping classes to pursue her new interests in a rap career. During that time, she posted her debut song, “Girls,” under the name IAMDoechii. Years later, she dropped her 2019 project, Coven Music Session, Vol. 1. Afterwards, Doechii faced a stretch of writer’s block, which she would cure by reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
Doechii would start receiving more recognition from fans, critics, and record labels after the release of her self-funded and released EP, Oh the Places You’ll Go. “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” would be the biggest hit of the EP, going viral on TikTok in 2021. In March 2022, the artist signed deals with Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and Capitol Records. This gave Doechii the bragging rights of being the very first female rapper to sign with TDE. Labelmates of Doechii include Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and SZA.
In the same month, after releasing the hit song “Persuasive,” Doechii would also appear as a featured artist on David Guetta’s “Trampoline,” featuring Afrojack, Missy Elliot, and BIA. Her song, “What It Is (Block Boy),” which features Kodak Black, would also go viral on TikTok. The track samples “Some Cut” and TLC’s “No Scrubs.” The solo version of the track appeared in over 40,000 videos. The song would help Doechii make her Billboard Hot 100 debut, entering at No. 98. The song peaked at No. 11, showing Doechii’s ability to make moves on the chart.
Style & Influence
Doechii has cited Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill as major influences on her musical style. Her style is often described as “genre-bending,” incorporating traits from multiple genres, including Alternative Hip Hop, Rock, and Pop. Critics and fans have described the artist as being clever and creative. Known for her hybrid rhymes, the clever lines of the artist catch the listener’s attention off the jump. She can often be heard switching from rapping to singing on her tracks, showing versatility in her talent. Not afraid of the subject matter of her music, her songs explore themes of love, spirituality, and the singer’s raw emotions.
Awards & Nominations
The bold and animated female artist has also received attention from award shows during her budding career. In 2022, Doechii won Best Choreography in a Video at the UK Music Video Awards for her single “Crazy.” The same show also nominated the video for Best Cinematography in a Video and Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Video- International. The same year, Doechii was nominated for Best Dance Performance and Best New Artist at the Soul Train Music Awards. She was also nominated for Push Performance of the Year at the 2022 MTV Music Video Awards. The star won the Rising Star Award this year during the 2023 Billboard Women in Music event.
What’s Next For Doechii?
After the success of her singles and EPs, fans anxiously await the versatile artist’s official debut. Earlier this year, TDE revealed that an album from Doechii was on the way. The label plans to release the album shortly after releases by artists Reason and Rayvaughn. With singles like the hit “Persuasive,” Doechii is ready to prove herself. With fans anticipating her album and critics giving Doechii her flowers, the Tampa-raised artist is prepared to make her impact on the industry!