With so many false prophets pretending to portray lifestyles that they never lived, hip-hop has been searching for a respected rapper to come along as a true grassroots spokesman to the streets. And now, the search is finally over with the arrival of central Florida firestorm Rennie.
Over the past five years, he has been dropping bombs across the Sunshine State with two hood-certified mixtapes and a slew of hit singles. Via independent label Blazay Squazay Entertainment, this rapidly emerging musical talent is set to detonate with fiery new single “Accidental” and forthcoming mixtape Court Dates and Caskets.
“The streets want to hear a mixtape that is real, that’s talking about what’s really going on,” says Rennie. “In this world, in this environment that black people are living in, all we hear about is another funeral or another court date. I’m talking my life, your life, everybody’s life. You might got a cousin that’s got to go to court next week or got a family member that just passed away. I can’t name my mixtape Farms, Millionaires and Ranches because how many black people got that?”
Born Lorenzo Hurd III in the sleepy town of Wauchula, Fla. (about an hour Southeast of Tampa), Reenie learned the difference between the good life and the not-so-good life at an early age. Raised amongst the orange groves, ranches and sandy white beaches of Florida, his small section of town was separated from the rest of the world by poverty, drugs and lack of opportunities.
“It’s was tough. It was real tough,” says Rennie. “It was very isolated. We had one Circle K, one McDonald’s, one little jailhouse. It was a two ways in the hood: one way in and another way out. It was really racist. It wasn’t nothing to brag about.”
Making matters even worse, his mother died from an aneurism when young Lorenzo was only eight. His father did all that he could to raise the boy into an upstanding man but with 11 children, it was hard to feed and keep tabs on them all at the same time. So by the age of 10, the youngster was in the streets, “trying to make a way,” he says. “My dad worked hard. He raised me but the streets made me.”
As an escape route from reality, Rennie always confided in the music of rap legends Tupac, Master P, Scarface, UGK, the Notorious BIG and TI. But it wasn’t until he heard the flossed-out rhymes of Cash Money Records artists Birdman, Juvenile and B.G. did Rennie realize that he could rap just as well as anyone else.
“I was used to lyrically inclined artists like Tupac, Biggie and Nas. They made the rap seem harder. It was hip hop,” Rennie remembers. “But Cash Money was talking about what they got, their bling-bling, their diamonds, gold in their mouth, they’re cars. I was like ‘if they can do it, I can do it. I just got to get my words and rhythm right and rhyme.’ They broke the lyrical element down to the lowest point.”
So Rennie crafted his style by combining the witty wordplay of artists such as Lil Wayne, T.I. and Tupac with the energetic club tempos of the South coupled with his own street corner grit. The result was his stellar 2010 single “Man Up” and debut mixtape The Glow. He came right back a few months later with follow-up mixtape Florida Selection featuring regional hit single “Wait Until Tonight.” Like an epidemic, fans started to multiply.
“Whatever I do, I’m going hard at it,” Rennie explains. “I’m gone put the world on my back and tote it as far as I can. I ain’t gone fold.”
He is now riding off the momentum of his latest single “Accidental.” Flexing over a hypnotic mid-tempo track, Rennie explains why his bank account is so obese.
“It ain’t no accident that I got to where I am,” says Rennie. “I ain’t got no free ride. Nothing I do is accidental. It’s all premeditated.”
Although the track is flaming hot, it’s just a sample of what else he has to offer on upcoming mixtape Court Dates and Caskets, set to be released in 2016. Cuts like the hard-edged “Snitches In Ditches” and “Tell Somebody” prove that there is nothing fake, phony or flawed when it comes to Rennie.
“I try to be as real as possible in my music,” he says. “I’m not telling you to go kill somebody or rob a bank. I’m telling them to try other options, try to get a job. If all of this fails, then try another way. If you got to do what you got to do, do it. But at least try to make the positive road first.”