Whether by way of No Limit in the 90`s or Cash Money at the top of the millennium, New Orleans has only had unforgettable rap mouthpieces to sustain the city`s rich musical tradition. But as with everything else in the city, thing`s just haven`t been the same since Hurricane Katrina hit. Some five years later, the effects of one of the most deadly hurricanes in US history are still being felt, not the least of which is the city`s need for a credible rap voice. The question is, who will speak for New Orleans? Or more importantly, who may speak for New Orleans? With Master P dancing with the stars and Lil Wayne escaped to Miami, the only sensible answer is Supa Blanco.
From a rap standpoint, Sammy Supa Blanco " Wade knows too well the same N.O. realities Lil Wayne once broadcasted, because he lived them alongside the multi-platinum rapper as they grew up together in the infamous New Orleans East. But before he`d pick up a mic, Blanco plodded his own route out of the hood as a celebrated high school point guard, earning a basketball scholarship to a JuCo in Arizona. I went to junior college for half a semester, " he says. I`m in college and as my team is losing in the playoffs I got Wayne, Juvenile and my lil brother Mario calling me from the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money tour in Las Vegas. We lost and I caught me a flight straight to Vegas and I been in the music ever since. " It wasn`t quite straight to the booth from the locker room, however. Along with the aforementioned Mario (aka Yung Yo), Blanco and friends T-Streets and Gudda Gudda made up Wayne`s entourage and fulfilled their roles the best way childhood friends could, by hanging out a lot. On the Nellyville Tour, we was just Wayne`s partners, but everywhere we go, everybody`s like, Yall look like rappers, " he says. After a brief stint as Wayne`s road manager, Blanco, and the rest, started rapping under Wayne`s tutelage as Sqad Up. Wayne wrote my first rap ever and I never let nobody else write for me again, " Blanco says.
The crew went on to release no less than seven official mixtapes with Wayne along with a duffle bag full of fan-made tribute tapes before parting ways with Cash Money in 2004, just before Wayne`s seminal Carter album. And then came Katrina, the hurricane whose waters destroyed entire blocks and whose winds blew the group into a Houston refuge where they`d link up with Lil Flip. Though Flip`s ship would sink much faster than he or anyone else could have foreseen, Sqad Up went on to sign with Def Jam but was dropped after two months, disbanding shortly thereafter. Unsure about where to take the craft he`d been perfecting since he hung up his Jordans, Blanco reconnected with childhood friend Big Raymond, who was so moved by how far his talent had come, they formed Zero To 60 Entertainment together, a company named to describe how fast Supa Blanco`s due was coming. When I was in the Sqad, I was like the head man, trynna make sure everybody else was straight, " Blanco says. Now I got my own staff that caters to me and we all move as a team. It makes it a whole lot easier and a whole lot funner. "
On his maiden single and first solo smash, I Bet I Do It, " Blanco sounds like he`s having the most fun, stunting extra hard over a Monster Beats trunk rattler built on the loop of some jaunty marimba playing. I Bet I Do It " is a smooth wink in a hater`s direction, an embodiment of the kind of New Orleans charm burnt into croc pots across the city. With me I just want people to get the whole New Orleans feel, " Blanco says. I want them to know that we still struggling down here, we still trynna shake back. " That same drive is written all over Blanco`s face, from his prizefighter chin to the N.O. symbolic fleur-de-lis tatted on his cheek, just underneath his wistful eyes. New Orleans ain`t been the same since Katrina came through and flooded the buildings, but you can bet Supa Blanco has something to say about it.