Florida is blowing up right now, and if you’re paying attention to the southeastern hip-hop beat as the summer season approaches, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For the first time in a generation, three different major scenes out of Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami are attracting international attention specifically thanks to the insurgent nature of the rap element they’re equally enjoying, and in the case of players like 4Pack Boss, you can feel the excitement influencing the artists generating it in the first place. 4Pack Boss’ new single “Johnny Dang” has the hard-hitting swing of a celebration number, but the ominousness of a track that speaks to his all-business attitude both in and outside of the studio.
The verses in this song are strong enough to hold their own against the bassline even though my man isn’t grinding out the words quite as hard as he could have – that said, I wouldn’t change a thing about his method of execution in this release. Rather than employing some sort of flimsy improvisation or, worse yet, over-processed auto-tune vocals to bridge two inauthentic melodies together, he’s staying straight and hard on the hook here, rejecting familiar trap harmonies for a drill-style delivery that feels (and sounds) a lot more authentic.
Intentionally rough around the edges, “Johnny Dang” is mixed like an old-fashioned demo cut, sans the inefficient compositional whims a work of that caliber would usually be saddled with. Instead of amateurish faceting, the instrumental side of the track retains the contemporary, pro-quality foundation 4Pack Boss needs to serve as a canvas for his linguistic paintbrush to attack in stages. He takes his time getting there, but when he does hit the climax in this single, the presence he’s flexing makes all of the tension a more than worthy tradeoff.
I just found out about 4Pack Boss the other day, but now that I’ve been introduced to his advanced skillset via “Johnny Dang” this June, I’m going to stay on top of what he’s developing as summer comes into focus. There’s a lot of angst in the international hip-hop community following the challenging year that was 2020, but down in Florida, guys like 4Pack Boss are getting amped up for what could be one of the more important stretches of music history for their scene – and, with any luck, the genre that they have made into their own in recent years.