Delray Beach-based hip-hop artist Eric Biddines is not your run-of-the-mill aspiring rap star. Born in Ocala, Florida, he moved to Palm Beach County when he was 6. Biddines was raised a Jehovah's Witness, but his strict religious upbringing isn't what makes him such an unusual rapper. Mainly it's his fascination with coffee. He's so captivated by java that he's formulated an entire way of living around it.
Biddines broached the subject on his first solo mixtape, DaCoffeeShop, but his 2010 full-length debut, FLA Alien: Planet Coffee Bean, laid the framework for Biddines' caffeine-fueled ethos. The album formulated an alternative lifestyle, all revolving around a brewed cup of java. Sounds a bit strange? Indeed, Biddines is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum. His eclectic, idiosyncratic style, though, has garnered a following and earned him a nomination as Independent Artist of the Year at the Palm Beach Hip Hop Awards.
He isn't a one-trick pony, though. His 2011 mixtape release, Aye Story About Love, was a neosoul, introspective effort that delved into all the trappings of romance. The talented wordsmith is coming off his fourth solo project now, The Frozen Lake EP, and is soon to open for Solillaquists of Sound at Speakeasy Lounge. New Times caught up with this Palm Beach County trailblazer to learn more about his fascination with coffee.
New Times: How do you like your cup o' joe?
Eric Biddines: I enjoy it light and sweet. Extra cream and sugar. A little tip: Don't sleep on McDonald's McCafé! They have quality beans, and they are much cheaper. They've restructured their brand with an emphasis on the coffee, because it really is good.
What's your favorite coffee place in town?
I love Harold's in Palm Beach and Coasters Coffee in Lake Worth. Delray would have to be the Beat Cup.
Describe the Planet Coffee Bean concept?
Planet Coffee Bean is an escape. I like to believe when my followers see me or play my music, it gives them an out-of-body experience. Like, I'm branding landmarks and characters throughout my projects, and there's themes that help you bring the mental aspect into this physical world.
How do you see Florida's rap scene?
Florida's got a long way [to go]. We have no sound and little proper representation. But there's a lot of heat bubbling, so once the lid is off, I see us being the next Atlanta, Texas, or L.A.
Does Rick Ross do more harm than good for our image?
Rick Ross is so disconnected from Florida, as an idol, that he does nothing for us. He's great for the rap game in general, but for Florida, unfortunately, he's done nothing for us that I can see. He's created some jobs for people and fed many families, but he no longer belongs to us, in my opinion. Trick Daddy is still Florida to me. Uncle Luke and JT Money. They make me feel like we had a voice. Rozay was on the path with that first "Hustlin' " record.
Please describe your next album and what direction you are going with it.
Planet Coffee Bean 2 is probably my most flexible and well-balanced album. I worked on it for two years, recorded about 50 songs for it, mixed late hours, and spent months on the artwork and visuals. You're gonna hear songs that you've never heard in the industry. I've learned how to capture my emotions on a record perfectly.
Eric Biddines, with Solillaquists of Sound and Lox tha Rippa. 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Speakeasy Lounge, 129 N. Federal Highway, Lake Worth. Tickets cost $10 presale, $12 at the door. Call 561-540-6328, or visit speakeasylw.com.