Hip-hop artist Ricardo "Gaps" Tejeda is a Fort Lauderdale native who started rapping in high school, making, according to him, "little horrible tapes and dabbling with Fruity Loop beats." Guided by his brother's interest in rap and the lifestyle of growing up in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Tejeda recorded his first first album at 19.
"I was always around really good music because my parents are huge music aficionados, and I just started writing poetry, and that actually just seamlessly transitioned into rap one day, so that's my musical influence," he says. A member of the Black Locust Society, he is participating in the monthly musical night at Five Points Lounge BLS954 along with Bleubird, Protoman, Astrea Corp, and Jabrjaw. Considering he's one of the voices of the evening, we asked him to list his ten favorite MCs of all time, and luckily, he obliged.
"The first time I heard Nas on Illmatic. It completely blew my mind. I was about 10 years old, and I think that was the first time I knew I wanted to rap."
"Dude is so influential on so many levels. Amazing wordplay. Amazing flow. Part of the first rap duo to receive a million-dollar contract (Eric B and Rakim). Need I say more?"
"He's a pioneer and the godfather. An ambassador of hip-hop for fans everywhere and a teacher. Plus he made one of my favorite songs ever ("Step Into a World"). Bass goes hard on that one!"
"To me, he's the rapper's rapper. When I was starting to get a little wet behind the rap ears, I listened to Guru nonstop. I think it shows some in my monotone voice that I sometimes sport."
"I remember my brother used to blast PE all of the time, and there was something about Chuck D that captured me from a young age. To me, he spoke about what I was seeing almost daily. He was the political and street voice of black people, in my eyes."
"Again, my brother used to play NWA and Cube records like they were going out of style. I view Cube like I view Chuck D, but more aggressive. He brought a lot of racial issues to light that otherwise were not discussed in any media. Cube was also likely to beat a cop down before the cop could do it to him. I don't cosign that, though..."
"He has a style that is so unique. One of the sharpest and nastiest to do it. Plus, he's the slang and wallabee king."
"He has such a smooth flow and voice. He's the poster of Rawkus when it was the label everyone looked at to provide dope rap, and he put out the last classic album of the '90s."
"In my eyes, he's the driving force of modern rap. Like Mos Def being the poster child of Rawkus, El is the poster child of the independent, DIY, hop-hop movement. One-third of legendary group Company Flow, he has one of the more hard-hitting styles you'll hear."
"I simply love listening to Phonte. Dude sounds crisp all of the time. I've never heard a wack verse from him, even when he's over wack beats. Plus, he has one of the more memorable lines of the 2000s on Little Brother's The Listening album where he states, 'I got ya head still bobbin' and my verse didn't rhyme, so it's whatever girl.' I mean, c'mon, that's nasty right there."
Gaps will perform at 10 p.m. Friday, May 25, at BLS954 alongside Bleubird, Protoman, Astrea Corp, and Jabrjaw with records by Sensitive Side and Chair Weiner and live screen printing by Jinx Remover. BLS954 takes place monthly at 5 Points Lounge, 608 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Cover is $5. Visit BLS954.org.