For years the city was the same. Beats that were closer to bass orgies than art and tired lyrics were about selling crack and murder saturated the rap market. The city had seen a lot of rappers and even a storyteller or two, but never a true artist. This changed when the son of a jazz trumpeter from Pearl-Cohn High School decided to make his mark.
His music reflects where he comes from. Nashville doubles as the country music capital of the world, but also a hotbed during the Civil Rights movement, playing home to the hottest battles of the sit-in episodes in 1960 that effectively integrated lunch counters all over the south. This coupled with his jazz upbringing leaves no element of surprise to his style. He draws this intense soul of country music and perfectly marries it with the anger of institutional racism and pastes it over jazz rap beats.
Originally he went by Openmic and had a new kind of sound. The city had been devoid of lyrics for so long. His two debut mixtapes showed a raw promise. A new sound of beats and dense lyrics paired with playful delivery littered DatPiff and began to take hold on Nashville internet circles.
He wasn’t just another drug dealer turned crunk rapper. He makes music that constantly forces the listener to think and re-evaluate tough, thought-provoking questions ranging from topics of race to religion.
After years of grinding as an opener, undergoing a name change, and performing for crowds of 100 people, Floss finally found his break. The song was “Dopeboy Dreaming.” It garnered over a million online streams, and the video was debuted on Complex’s official YouTube channel.
This song was pure emotion. Written about Floss’s own stories of seeing others get money through illegal ventures, and the temptation and struggle of keeping his nose clean, both metaphorically and literally. The song summed up growing up in the inner-city for many listeners and this relatability helped propel the song to online prominence.
Today he has accumulated much internet success and was awarded with the “Best Rap Artist,” as well as, “Best Rap Album,” titles from the Nashville Scene. These awards were won over heavy hitters like Starlito, Young Buck, and Chancellor Warhol.
Mike Floss is the soundtrack for the progressive art music in the city, challenging the traditional country labels for control of the area. In fact, if it wasn’t for Mike Floss this blog wouldn’t be around.
Mike Floss will explode soon. It’s impossible for him not to. His hooks are infectious and his songs are easy to listen to, yet thought provoking and beneficiary to the listener.
This is the new southern art movement. It is a liberation from the standards of the past, governed by western music, poverty, and lack of multi-layered thinking.
In a sense, he is reminiscent to Langston Hughes. Black empowerment through music is in Floss’s DNA, and this new mindset catalyzed a culture shift in Nashville, proving that urban culture can be more than crime and violence, and instead is the perfect stage for raw emotion displayed through art and image.
It’s not just Nashville that has taken notice. Floss has been featured on Tidal, Complex, Pigeons and Planes, Sway in the Morning, The Source, and HotNewHipHop.
Mike Floss is soul food in a culture full of McDonald’s.
You can listen to his critically acclaimed album “Tennessee Daydreams” on Spotify and Apple Music.