Remember the song Ghetto Bastard by Naughty by Nature? Well, when I was coming of age (mind you, a few years after it’s initial release), that song connected with me on multiple levels. In my grown-up hindsight, that song did a fantastic job of detailing the dire environmental influences on the lifestyle so many urban youths both portrayed and lived in the early-mid 90s. That’s what was running through my head as I was listening to a young Palm Beach County Florida rapper by the name of Stackz. His latest mixtape Trill Thoughts Book 2 had me thinking about both the crazy shit a lot of youth have to live through today, and how the next generation’s unprecedented access to everything makes it possible for more and more young voices to paint pictures of life in America, which is often a dark place.

Like fellow Florida rapper Stitches, Stackz portrays rap life, complete with guns, drugs, bitches and, well, you get it; albeit, he much less aggressive than Stitches, which allows you actually to take in what he’s dropping. The jump-off track on this mixtape, Yea Hoe, as well as, songs like the bassy Bidness Only Bidness, and We Gon Get It N—a, give a sort of flat first-impression. By that I mean, they are sonically solid, but do little to distinguish Stackz from any other artist currently riding the trappy-wave. It’s in later songs, though, like the revealing No Apologies, the super dope Letter To My First Love, and the unapologetically west-coast Ride that we get more of a glimpse of Stackz’ trials and tribulations. He allows us his hear him explore different types of production, and – in essence – find his sound. A standout for me was the last track he served up, Welcome Back, a soulful joint that really showcases his flow.

At just 21, Stackz is off to a great start. He covered a lot of ground with this effort, so it will be interesting to see where he takes us next. He’s noted that he’s dedicated to bringing lyricism and polished flows back to the southern hip hop genre. If he’s any indication of the potential the next generation of cats the Florida rap has, then the south may rise a la No-Limit-days again.