All we've ever wanted to do is create a brand that embodies the creative lifestyle. We've worked with more Creative Enthusiasts than we can count. We just never recorded the process. Until now.
Hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed living it.
Thank you to the producers who provided beats for the project as well.
Produced by .44
Arrogant Watcher via his Fall Apart to Fall In Place Project
For the second time around, Debonair District held down a tent at the annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The ten-day cultural event features local and nationally-accredited speakers, musicians, artists, poets and craftspeople. Concluding on the week-end after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the TBBHF promotes diversity and cultural sensitivity. For the last two days of the event, the city of Tampa is rewarded with all day music festivals at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa.
After locking in our slot as a vendor, we went to the drawing board to create some new ish to drop this year. One of our favorites from this release is the “Herd” cap and from the responses we received at the festival, it is a crowd’s favorite as well.
Speaking of favorites, Demi Nova and Blaq Pocket Music rocked the stage and had the audience in awe! Dynasty also hit the stage with a dope solo performance with the assistance of Dj Sandman. We appreciate the opportunity to share our creative flare with others amongst our community.
You can shop the Heritage collection here.
It’s not often that you come across a beautiful and talented young songstress that plays the ukulele. Ari Chi’s melodious voice is known for doing covers of some of the most popular tunes such as Timmy Turner by Desiigner and Apparently by J. Cole. Something about her voice hypnotizes from the stage, capturing your full, undivided attention.
Hailing from Atlanta, Ari Chi moved to the Tampa Bay Area to establish her music career and we are thrilled to have her put on for the city. Currently in Orlando, Ari travels frequently, performing throughout South Florida. During the week, the majority of her time is spent in the studio working on features or new music for her projects. She also teaches private ukulele and vocal lessons.
Her weekends are jammed packed! You can catch her in a street performance with a live visual artist or on stage at a show. She makes appearances to local shows and she’s definitely a supporter of the arts community. Despite her growing success and attention, She is humble in her efforts to make it big.
When asked about her favorite aspect of being an artist she replied, “being able to warm hearts and touch souls musically with absolutely nothing but [my] vocal chords.” It is evident that her intentions are pure.
As far as inspiration, Ari Chi mentions local artists: Betty Dawl, Shevonne “Shevizzle”, and Ella Jet. She also admires Lady Bug Mecca (DP), Lauryn Hill, The Local Natives, Sampha, and The Xx. Ari studied classical music and was enrolled in three different performing art programs. She also comes from a musical family. Her mother has a beautiful voice and her aunt is a well-known singer in LA by the name of Kimberly Holloway. Her influences allowed her talents to excel.
Outside of her music career, Ari Chi loves cooking and she’s taken an interest in directing music videos. Find more information about Ari Chi on her website: arichimusic.com.
From time to time, we host pop up shops and vend at various events. While vending at Da Cypher, we met Jax Judo. Without hesitation he copped a Centro Mobbin snap back and showed love. We exchanged contacts because we knew at some point we'd cross paths in the city again.
It wasn't long after that Jax stopped by The District with Tampa rapper, Jafarlee (@iamjafarlee), to close a merchandise deal. We caught up and had a dialogue about the state of the Tampa music scene, pressures of work/life balance and pursuing passions.
Who knew days later that he'd be "[Centro] Mobbin" in his next music video.
Success is not a destination, but the road that you're on. Being successful means that you're working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That's living your dream. -Marlon Wayans
When you think of Debonair District, you have to directly correlate it with creative collaboration. Working together with other like-minded individuals who want to aspire the same greatness and influence we all strive to achieve. When DD collaborates, it isn’t a small project that is appreciated in the moment, but more a timeless and emotional effort that can be felt by those new and seasoned to the DD wave.
A good friend and collaborator of DD, Indie Reece, came to the warehouse to check out our latest advancements and touch base with the crew. It was hot, it was wavy, it was inspiring - and did we say it was hot (AC soon come)! Indie was loving the new DD headquarters so much that he offered to do our very first mural - and man did he kill it. We were beyond excited and honored to have a personal piece done by the painter, writer, illustrator and photographer. Not only does his piece serve as an attraction point of the room, it also reminds us why we’re doing this and who we’re doing it for. After hours of detailed painting in the hot warehouse, the beautiful African-American woman in the mural came to life. Every color and shape capturing your gaze, attention and curiosity. To this day we find ourselves staring at it for hours.
We were able to debut this awesome piece at our April Product Release Party on 4/3/2016. Our guests were in love with the piece as much as we were. Indie’s mural was one of the main attractions of the event. It was also the spark that generated good vibes, great conversations and the promise of fruitful relationships with DD and the attendees.
To see more of Indie Reece’s work you can find him on social at @indiereece or you can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also sells artwork at #SmokenWords events every Thursday in Tampa, FL.
Though founded in 1885, Ybor city was not annexed and made a part of Tampa until 2 years later. And just like Debonair District, Ybor was founded by an independent group of creatives. But these creatives where of a different craft. They were cigar manufacturers led by a man in which Ybor City was named after, Vincent Martinez-Ybor. The cities population began with Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked mostly in the cigar factories. Shortly after, Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants followed. They began to establish everything from retail shops, to grocery stores, to even print shops.
By the time the 1890's rolled around, the city began to flourish with newspapers in multiple languages, labor organizations, and many other social and civic organizations that helped blend all of the different cultures. Ybor City grew and prospered from the 1890s until the late 1920s, by which time its factories were annually producing almost half a billion hand-rolled cigars, giving Tampa the nickname of the "Cigar City". Later on in time, Ybor suffered majorly during the great depression and World War II. But began to rebuild itself around the 1980's. The old business district on 7th Avenue began a slow recovery as a bohemian haven for artists, and leading into the 90's, as the popular nightlife and entertainment district that we know today.
One staple of the entertainment district is a favorite among hip-hop heads and Creatives Enthusiasts, The Crowbar. The owner, Tom and his wife, are known to be the leaders of the music scene. Bringing popular events such as Ol' Dirty Sundays aka ODS, and even housing endless music concerts and events. The Crowbar has paved the way for creatives who express themselves musically to have a home to display their talents. But The Crowbar is only one of many places where you can witness the essence of the creative culture within Tampa.
Ybor has become the center stage of Tampa where you can go and find something new and different at every turn. From mom and pop restaurants, to high end clubs and venues, even walking the strip seeing all of the different walks of life, you are sure to find something eye catching and stimulating. We at Debonair District have captured the essence of Ybor with our Centro Mobbin snap back. We pay Pure Homage to the history of Cigar City. The Centro Mobbin snap back is our interpretation of a classic influence through a modern lens. Ybor City is the place to be seen. The strip is draped with lights, glamorizing its deeply rooted "cigar city" architectural heritage and grunge.
It's the people that give the strip life. The unknown adventure makes it a destination. Centro Ybor is the place where you call up your friends and "mob" in the streets.
Firm Front Panel
Seamless Front Panel with Full Buckram
With the sun shinning and no rain in the forecast, Sunday, 4/17/16, was looking to be a day packed full of greatness. And it was!
Debonair District is proud to say that, this year, the DDBBQ was everything we were hoping it to be. With images captured by fellow creatives such as Bernard Alexander and Indie Reece, we made sure to get as much of the action documented as possible. Yes folks, even some of the bloopers. So take a moment to relive the day with these few flicks of the day's festivities.
As the grill was fired up and the bases laid down on the field, players and spectators began to arrive. There was nonstop music flowing to set the mood for the day's events. The players received their team shirts and soon enough the games began. With our host Jayy Cannon on the mic making sure that everyone could hear the calls clearly, his teamwork with Zay and his group of volunteer referees kept the games going at a steady pace.
First up to the field to play was Team TomBoyChiq vs. Team Kumlawdi. The game started out like normal, each team going back to back feeling each other out and moving at a steady pace. But soon enough, the players begin to really play to win! Team TomBoyChiq comes hard right out the gate with Aych throwing a few mean pitches and Queen of Ex coming through to show us that, not only can she spit bars, but she can also catch a pop fly easily. But TomBoyChiq slowly loses their momentum and Team Kumlawdi comes back with a vengeance. Making play after play, and even running a few homeruns, Team Kumlawdi grabs the first win of the day.
Next up to play, after a brief 15 minute intermission, was Team Trusted Reeses vs Team S.O.S. These two returning sponsors immediately start off with playful trash talk and high energy. Trusted Reeses contributor Tyler makes a few highlights by catching some pop-flies and helping keep the energy of his team high as they immediately take the lead. But S.O.S contributor Angie Reed stays on the sideline cheering on her team, giving them motivation and good vibes. And soon enough, they make a crazy comeback and take the win right from under Trusted Reeses. It goes to show that you can't get comfortable just because you have the lead.
The final game was a winner takes all face off between S.O.S and Kumlawdi. The energy is still high and the players are ready to win. And soon enough the game begins. Players are cheering each other on play after play in hopes of winning the tournament and getting a bag full of goodies form a few other sponsors such as I Love Driving Slow and Cyncere Scents Homemade Candles. S.O.S played a great game, but it seems like Kumlawdi came to take it all home. And take it home they did, with a sweep of long kicks and homeruns, Kumlawdi takes the win and becomes the DDBBQ Kickball Champions of 2016!
And with the final game decided, we snap a group picture of the winners, all of the participating players and sponsors, and then everyone who came to support. The growth from this year versus last years turnout was immediately recognized. We thank you all for making this year's DDBBQ one to remember. Make sure to follow the official Instagram @debonairdistrict and like the Debonair District Facebook page to see all of the images captured of the event. Tag yourself and friends, like, and share and spread the word so that next year we can do it even bigger!
We humbly express our gratitude to all those who played and those who just came to enjoy themselves and some free food. We also would like to send a special thanks to our sponsors: Saving Our Society (S.O.S), Trusted Reeses Auto Services, Kumlawdi Foundation, TomBoyChiq, I Love Driving Slow (ILDS), Debonair Prints, Cyncere Scents, Bernard Alexnder, Pocket7, Meeyogi, Sweet Indulgence, and Young Parisians Promo. We appreciate your contribution and support in this years event and we hope to have you all return again next year.
This Week's Rotation is for none other then HMTWN. Having released Without a Cape back in October this tape still gets HEAVY play. This week is a collaborative effort between Debonair District visionaries and music enthusiast Zay Martinez, and Mercedes "Mouse" Robinson. They give you an in-depth look at the project from two different perspectives.
Mercedes "Mouse" Robinson
I have to say, my man HMTWN (HomeTown) has dropped something so swanky, I didn't even realize it was 17 tracks until I began this here write up.
I had the pleasure of having a conversation with HMTWN after being introduced to him at a mutual friend's pool party. We were a little lit, I won't lie, but the conversation still flowed. So when I was told about his album release, I took the word of my friend Joerod and I hopped on it. And, man, am I glad I did. As I've told HMTWN personally, I am a fan!
With releasing his new album "Without A Cape" on his birthday, he not only gifted himself with the support of his peers on his big night, but he has gifted us with a stellar piece of lyrical and instrumental excellence. Right from the jump, after his heartwarming Birthday song intro, the mellow instrumental and his words about his mom had me interested to hear more. He starts the album off introducing us to his life. Things like wanting to be in the NBA, wanting to give his mother the world because she gave him the best of what she had, the death of his father. He gets pretty personal and he does it in a soulful way. But that's just song number one. Trust me when I say: It only gets better from there. There are so many dope tracks to pick from when it comes to my favorites. But I told my man's Zay that I would stick to picking my Top 5 and leave it at that. Excuse me if I have a fangirl moment when breaking this down. But understand, this man is dope.
Where do I begin?!
1) Track 3: Foreally. Boy! The keys and the orchestra sample in the intro of the beat perked my ears up immediately. The beat switch ups, his flow switch ups, the boom boom cat and the overall mix of the track, definitely in the running for my favorite song on the album.
2) Track 6: Where The Wild Things Are. I've always said the best things come in 3's. So it didn't surprise me when I found out that this song was only 3 tracks from Foreally. I mean, it's only right that my second favorite song is also a multiple of 3. But anyway, let me tell you, the chorus alone is definitely a "Lines to Rewind" moment, because that is exactly what I did. It's so catchy that I had to rewind it multiple times just to make sure I memorized it and could sing along:
"Why do I feel beyond,
Beyond all the things I see in mankind?
If you could take a look inside of my mind,
Then you'll see why my ideas collide.
I live this life. What I say is real.
Even though the News tell you all the lies.
All my life said "Thou shall not kill",
But if I don't kill, I surely would die."
I don't have to convince you anymore, do I?
3) Track 5: Bluuzone Forever (Ft. Gat$). BLUUZONE!! This song is so jazzy. I applaud Derius Myrick whom produced this joint. This is a song that I can have on repeat for hours at a time just based on the beat alone. And then when you add in the lyrical lyricism of Hometown and, one of my favorites, Gatsby, you have the makings of a masterpiece. 2 minutes and 40 seconds was such a tease.
4) Track 9: The Lil'Victories. I'm going to be honest here, I usually don't care for repetitive hooks. But this here is a chant song that I would gladly partake in. It's empowering and tells a tale of success. A started from the bottom type of track. Cocky in the best way possible. I rocks with it. Heavy. "Made the plan, and we did it" - "They showing love cause we winnin'. But they don't know how we get it." This is most definitely a #Squad song.
5) Track 14: Open Mic (Ft. Ari Chi). First off, I simply love Ari Chi's voice. The first time I witnessed her perform was at Wine And Rhyme (Shouts to Young Paris Promo) and she stole my heart with her airy soulful voice. The one thing I love about this track is the embodiment of hip hop radiating through every note. This song makes me think of home. This song makes me think of my childhood. This song makes me think of the best Hip Hop Era known to man. Don't trip and act like y'all don't know that the 90's had it on lock. You knew.
There are endless lines to rewind on this track. It's hard to pick just one or 2 quotables on this one. From simpler lines like: "Hakuna Matata. I'm Big Poppa. Nah, give me a crown like DaDa. On second thought I'm thinking 'Nah Nah'. 'Cause I ain't tryna prove nothin', I'm just tryna move somethin'." To lines that make you think: "Thinkin' bout my generation, like how the f*ck am I pushin' it? Lookin' at older n*ggas like 'How the f*ck are they losin' it?' I must admit my biggest fear is being one of them..." This track has so much heart in it. Expressing his dreams and aspirations, his fears and appreciation for his fans, and so much more. This song definitely is heartfelt.
Honestly, y'all, I have had this project in rotation everyday since the day he dropped it. Bravo, HomeTown, Bravo.
When I listen to a new project from an artist, I like to try to listen to it as if I were the artist. As if the stories that are being told are my stories. By doing so it challenges me to think in a different perspective. After all the consumption of art is solely perspective right? How can you understand what an artist is saying if you are on the outside looking in? You will be limited to a spectator’s POV. Which isn’t a bad thing, just a different experience. Now, this can only be accomplished if the artist has direction and meaning for the project. A project that I took a journey through recently hit home (No pun intended) because it’s someone I know personally, but not on a personal level. This project was a great window into his mind and life experiences. I know anyone who appreciates music with a purpose will embrace this project, but for those who need a nudge in the right direction please…..SEE BELOW.
The project is called, Without A Cape (WAC) by bay area native HMTWN (Hometown). My initial reaction to this tape was “Whoa, 17 tracks?” as I am more a fan of smaller tapes that have 10, maybe 12, tracks. So me putting on my critic hat, I looked for songs that could have been scratched. In my eyes this project was a statement from HMTWN, and every song carries its own weight earning a spot on the tape. HMTWN delivers with quality and quantity. The variety you crave to keep your attention is all there. There are the hard-hitting tracks accompanied by witty flow like “Forreally” Prod. By Santos, along with conscious tracks that display an aware mind like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Open Mic” prod. By Elgin Louis. Bottom line, if you appreciate great production with flows that give you a screw face, WAC is that and more.
The project opens up with a gospel inspired birthday song, which was relevant since the release date of the project was his birthday. But after listening to the whole project I see that track as him being “born again”, and he’s ready to make his mark on the game. The journey that he takes you throughout the project is filled with trials and tribulations and staying true to yourself.
And he does it with just the right amount of arrogance.
My standout tracks, which change every day, have to be “No Lie” prod. By UNO featuring the amazing talent of fellow Bay area emcee Queen Of Ex (if you don’t know of her, this is definitely a great introduction). HMTWN showcases his ability to switch up flows with ease as he flows on the very nostalgic, jazzy beat. On this track he sets out to make sure there was no one out there that questioned his rhyming ability and versatility with the flows. I caught myself wishing HMTWN blessed the track with another verse *cough.