FTLiens Show Love to a City That Doesn't Get Anywhere Near Enough
Bleubird performing at For the Love last February.
Photo by Ian Witlen
That’s the ever-present adjective when Bleubird describes FTLiens, the DIY rapper’s Broward-centric LP project, produced by fellow Ft. Lauder-loiter Numonics, is available now on iTunes.
It’s fitting diction when one considers the inspiration. South Florida as a whole is known for it’s quirky-but-murky personality, but at least West Palm gets the money and Miami gets the glory. Broward is the weird leftover at the bottom of Paradise’s pretty-little barrel. It’s a place you have to love because you really have to. No one else will do it first.
“For those of us who grew up here, we know the truth. It can be dark and gritty, and sunny and happy-go-lucky at the change of a dime,” Bleubird says. “It’s up to us to plant a flag and let people know that this is a viable place.”
Both these fine FTLiens, as in a loving play on Outkast’s ATLiens, put the city on their back, in their hearts, and at the center of ten playful and appropriately “ridiculous” tracks full of name-drops, references, and spot-on lyrical portraits. All together, they create one giant musical map of the Broward County experience.
“I wanted to do something that was specifically fun and localized,” Bleubird says. “I wasn’t taking a lot of time [with each song]. Usually, I’ll sit with music for a month and write out to it. This was on the spot.”
The whole project was spontaneous, the result of a few late night jam sessions where Bleubird’s punk-rock ethos merged with Numonics traditional hip-hop juice as mere experimentation. It was a friendly game of getting outside one’s comfort zone. First came the neon sleeze of “Nightmoves,” a fly moment for sure, but when the pair came together on the now-intro track “BRWD,” sights became set on a full release.
“His buddy PJ already recorded that hook,” Bleubird says. “He played it for me in the studio, and was just like, ‘This is ridiculous. This is bananas. You have to record verses to this.’ So, I wrote them that day and recorded them because it was just too good. When I said that FTLiens line, we both kind of looked at each other and were like, ‘Yep, that’s the name of the project.’”
Just like BroCo, FTLiens is tongue-in-cheek with a lot of bloody bite. Bleubird sees it as their own Handsome Boy Modeling School, at once equal parts parody and commentary on the world that made them who they are. Numonics spent three years in Section 8 housing. Now, he pays homage to the 954 from his home studio at the top of a downtown condominium. Bleubird has traveled the streets of Europe and Japan fueled by the music he makes back at home. FTLiens is their way of giving back.
“It’s always been a tough scene here, because there isn’t really a specific venue that fosters a local scene, unfortunately. It’s always been warehouses and underground parties that foster this stuff, places like Poorhouse and Laser Wolf,” Bleubird says. “These beats [Numonics] was making were inspired by our conversations about the city and growing up here, the things we all experienced...I don’t know if it’s a good time or not, but it’s not going to stop us from trying.”
Now that the project is out, it’s ripe for celebration. The duo premiered its first video from the LP, “Shark.Wav,” through popular hip-hop blog 2DopeBoys. The LP is charting on iTunes, and topping it all off, there’s going to be one downright “ridiculous” album release party Saturday, July 11th, at Bleubird’s home-away-from-home, Laser Wolf.
To make sure things are especially over-the-top, he’s bringing in Too Future’s massive sound system, resurrecting Jabberjaw for a very rare rap performance, ensuring plenty of surprise guests during the proper FTLien set, celebrating “Shark.Wav” director Digital Cypher’s birthday, and sending off Laser Wolf’s Protoman before he leaves the state of Florida for good.
FTLiens is how Bleubird and Numonics celebrate the least celebrated wonder of the Tri-County area.
If you aren’t good at math, that’s basically four parties for the price of one, which is to say, free.
Fans and supporters in the building can cop fancy hand-made embroidered hats, pins, stickers, t-shirts, and more all blazingly repped out with the Miami-Subs-ish FTLiens logo. Each piece of merch comes complete with free digital download.
“It’s going to be a really ridiculous celebration,” Bleubird says. “This is the first time we’ve brought this big of a sound system in the courtyard, so we’ll see how that works.”
FTLiens album release party, with FTLiens, Jabberjaw, and more. Saturday, July 11th, at Laser Wolf, 901 Progresso Dr. #101, Ft. Lauderdale. The party starts at 9 p.m., and cover is free of charge. Call 954-667-9373 or visit facebook.com.
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