Artists from Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, not to mention New York and L.A., are coming up hand over fist as the internet has opened up the floodgates to consumers. Ohio artists, meanwhile, can’t seem to find the same foothold. Much of that has to do with a lack of infrastructure. The necessary resources that exist elsewhere but hardly found in Ohio include: major record labels or imprints, robust music public relations agencies, publications with national reach that showcase local artists, and marquee festivals, to name just a few. A lot of the more successful artists from this area are the ones who have left for greener pastures.
It is within this tough scenario for rap and hip-hop that veteran artist and entrepreneur CartaGino has been grinding and trading his wares. Born in Cleveland an partly raised in Canton, CartaGino is blessed with a “won’t-give-up-attitude”, which is what keeps his momentum going. He has released a series of singles and albums, working with a bunch of features, including Mr R&B SauceGangSavage, Mr ShowBiz Ohio Blac, Mr. Nasty, and AO from the Gumbo Boyz.
CartaGino has also dealt with his share of trials and tribulations. Not least, the shocking setback on October 27th, 2020 when he had to have his right leg amputated from the knee down, due to a combination of Staph & MRSA which are life-threatening, bone-destroying bacterial infections that he suffered from previous surgeries. This led to show and tour cancellations, as well as unattended important label meetings.
Put all of these afflicting occurrences together with the fact that CartaGino will also have to spend time away from music while he learns to walk using a new leg prosthesis, and it becomes clear that events like these are enough to discourage and depress the strongest of men. Not CartaGino. He has already set his expectations high for a return to the stage during the fall of 2021.
None of which should be surprising for someone who has his own self-branded energy drink called Da Sauce, and is busy setting up a women’s fitness line called Signature 4 Women, as well as a men’s clothing line and a barbecue sauce. CartaGino and his partners of Funknab North – a branch of the powerful indie label of Up North Music House LLC., are are preparing some big moves, set to take place in 2021.
In the meantime, to keep fans satisfied, the indie label CEO and self-made entrepreneur, CartaGino, has released the single, “Reppin’ My City”, which puts together all the skills he has accumulated in a 20+ year career. CartaGino’s flow on his new remains confident, freewheeling, and inspirational.
This is the real hip-hop; the authentic polished funky beat of the game, the game that veterans and heads accuse the contemporary new wave rappers of disrespecting. There’s nothing modest about “Reppin’ My City”. CartaGino is all up in your grill, huffing and puffing over rhymes that dance above the rumble and roll of growling synths.
CartaGino is a force to be reckoned with, and new age players won’t be able to ignore the palpable drive of his flex and flow. His rhymes sit tight in the pocket of the groove. The best moments on “Reppin’ My City”, recall the particular magic of a classic bygone era in hip-hop – a unity of soul-stirring music and CartaGino’s distinctive presence as the everyman poet with a touch of street swagger.
It’s reassuring to hear that, unlike many of his peers, the passing years in the game has actually sharpened CartaGino’s agility as a rapper. His voice artfully plays with the peaks and pockets of the track’s rhythm, as “Reppin’ My City” easily competes against the contemporary pop landscape, eliciting an emotional response that transcends the boundaries of time, eras, or genre categories. This is music with staying power!