The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2012, No. 8: The Ritz Ybor becomes Tampa's hip-hop heaven
(It’s the end of the year, and just as we did in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Soundcheck is counting down the year’s top local music stories as determined by your humble Soundcheck editor. We’ll be counting down two each day through New Year’s Eve.)
Empire and Studio Inc. have fallen by the wayside, and Club Skye, Club Underground and Scene all seem hit-and-miss. Truth is, there is no single dominant hip-hop club in Tampa Bay.
Unless you’re talking live hip-hop. In that case, there is nothing like the Ritz Ybor.
The Ritz has long been ahead of the game when it comes to booking hip-hop talent, from Odd Future to Wiz Khalifa to Lauryn Hill. In 2012, however, the Ritz took it to another level, bringing in just about every hot or buzzed-about rapper you can name — Kendrick Lamar (above), A$Ap Rocky, 2 Chainz (not just once, but twice!), Die Antwoord, Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Big K.R.I.T., Tyga, Meek Mill, Curren$y and more. It’s a staggering resume.
True, shows by more established acts like Waka Flocka Flame and GZA failed to drum up similar interest — they were moved to the Orpheum and State Theatre, respectively — but such is the Ritz’s dominance in the local hip-hop landscape: Fans might actually be getting burned out on how many amazing shows they’re putting on.
We’re still waiting on that Freddie Gibbs show, though, guys. Get on it!
PREVIOUSLY ON THE TOP 10 TAMPA MUSIC STORIES OF 2012
No. 10: The return of arena rock