Despite the updated big booty bass sound and feel of his most recent single “Big Drip,” the Florida-based artist known as 3Fifs generally has generally had a more-heard-hitting style during his decade-long career. The St. Louis native uses his diverse musical style to drive his deeper points home, as is exemplified in the re-release last year of one his of first and heaviest singles, “Dive In Deep.” Now with his return to hip hop, this Urban Songwriter of the Year is just getting started.
3Fifs’s name is a clear reference to the oppression and enslavement of black people in the United States, and his music started off with the same message with his debut single “Dive In Deep” and his 2013 album, Birth of a Nation. “Dive In Deep” featuring Lydia Lyon appeared later on the equally visceral The Runaway EP and is a jazzy update on the classic “Wade In the Water” spiritual song sung by enslaved people in the south.
“Dive in Deep” is the first song I ever recorded, but I never promoted it; despite all my day-1 fans encouraging me to do so. As someone inspired by Black history, I knew I wanted to flip a Negro spiritual, and “Wade in the Water” was the first one to come to mind. I wrote the song in my head while I was working a job at the mall and thinking about the type of woman I wanted…“Dive in Deep” is my signature song: it represents everything I am as an artist – smooth, laid back, introspective, and classy. The story and the beat are sexy, the video features my brother, my sister, and my cousin, O So Amazin’, who was tragically taken from us too soon.
3Fifs’s tie-ins to black history aren’t always in his vocals, as he states above, but they nonetheless are very much in the listener’s face. Both Birth of a Nation and The Runaway have stark, callback-to-slavery imagery and toggle between heavy subject matter with tracks like “Preamble,” “Jim Crow,” “Dred Scott” and, of course “Dive In Deep,” and more standard-style bangers like “Danny Bonaduce” feat. O So Amazin and Streetza Ria and “Due Time” feat. Khyre. His flexibility helps get these deeper messages across and has also amassed him an impressive following, with his new ventures amassing nearly a combined 200,000 listens on Spotify.
Since re-entering the limelight in 2021 with his single “Season of the Fall,” 3FIfs has launched into some of the newer styles like heavy bass trap but fans can bet his ties to the golden age haven’t gone away completely. The very next track after “Season of the Fall ” is “Smoke In the Breeze,” a smooth, jazzy melding of Nas-style big beat and Dr. Dre funk. Both tracks are fun, danceable, and, most importantly, contain well-spit verses with zero mumble rap.
Moving to “Big Drip,” it’s clear 3Fifs wanted to pull some throwback booty bass influence from his move to Florida, and hip hop historians will be able to hear the hint of 2 Live Crew in this track, but it’s also extremely modern and incorporates trap and pop sounds. “Big Drip” may sound like it’s just a fun, collar-popping track but 3Fifs says there’s more to it than that.
It’s a very braggadocious song, but as the line says “I spit like I live it:” I was one of the first people to reserve the new Hummer SUV straight off my car business money; my Mom and I lived in a homeless shelter when I was young, but now she has a home on 5 acres, and my Granny definitely was proud of me until her dying day. It’s a feel-good song with a bouncy beat and authentic realism. Hopefully others will relate.
“Season of the Fall,” “Smoke In the Breeze” and “Big Drip” will all feature on 3Fifs’s upcoming The Middle Passage EP, which is due out in 2024. As has always been the case with 3Fifs, fans can expect a healthy mix of deep, thought-provoking concepts, stark imagery and a running history of music in the remaining releases. It seems 3Fifs isn’t nearly finished with his message and music yet, and hip hop can only benefit from his presence.