They might pass for teenagers, but rapper and singer Kewanee "Brown Suga" Johnson said the members of FlowCity are all grown up on their new mixtape, "Ready 2 Live."
A release-party for "Ready 2 Live" will be held at SportZone on Feb. 27, and the project will be available for download on Datpiff.com and Livemixtape.com.
"We were growing up when we first started making music. We were kids in high school," explained Brown Suga, 22, a native of Smyrna who now lives in Dover. "Now we're adults. We've lived a little more and we've seen a couple more things in life."
FlowCity is known for dipping their toe into topics of romance and partying. But the rap trio — comprised of Dexter "Nino NoSay" Brown, 19, Brown Suga and her cousin, Darien "Shorty Rock" Williams, 21 — is practically scuba diving in such themes on "Ready 2 Live," which is a big step for them.
"As an artist, I know I'm not really afraid to say anything now," Brown Suga said. "In the past, we've done a lot of shows that have had a lot of kids at them, so I thought they were the only kind of people who listened to us. I've since come to find out a lot of people from different age groups listen to us. Now we're making music [again] and I'm like forget it — I'm going to say what's real."
She added, "The best music is the music you know. And you talk about what you know. I'm not saying all I know is partying, but I do know a little bit about having a good time."
Mature in more ways than one
"Ready 2 Live" is a strong follow-up to FlowCity's previous project, "Kidz from the Dele," released in 2011. The trio's signature, eclectic rhyming has been injected into the mixtape, but with more polished lyrics and amplified energy. Not to mention, FlowCity producer and beat maker Shorty Rock's synthesized beats continue to impress. Whether it's a slow jam like "Wide Open" or party track like "Swagg," which has been made into a video, Shorty's catchy tunes instantly become infectious.
Once the emcees pour their sizzling rhymes over his honeyed beats, and Brown Suga adds with her zesty singing ability, the songs become downright irresistible.
For "Ready 2 Live," Shorty Rock has been spending more time developing all three of his talents (producing, rapping and audio engineering), rather than making lyricism his main strength.
Page 2 of 2 - "I look at myself as a complete artist," said Shorty Rock, of Dover. "I record, I make beats, I'm an engineer. I'm the full package; that's something that I really haven't pushed too often. But I really need to start pushing it because there's not, too, many people in the game, especially coming from the place where I'm coming from, who've never had any schooling to do that.
"I'm being talked about as being one of the best recording engineers in Dover on Twitter. I take great pride in that because there's people who have degrees, yet my stuff sounds better than theirs."
Meanwhile, Nino NoSay, the youngest of the group at 19, has expanded his horizons to deliver more creative raps on the new mixtape.
"I recently got my hands on the book the '48 Laws of Power,' so I'm trying to stay grounded in that," said Nino NoSay, of Dover." I'm becoming more of a better lyricist."
Case in point, "When I'm speaking on fashion for 'LOL to the Bank,' I'm taking about famous designers, but I'm not saying the label or the brands [they represent]. I'm naming the CEOs who are running the brands," he said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT FlowCity in concert
WHEN 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27
WHERE SportZone, 235 Stadium St., Smyrna
INFO sportzonede.com or 223-1808