From the beginning Aych has always been about rap and basketball, revering JayZ, “I always knew once I got in, I was going to make my way. That’s why I idolize JayZ, like how he maneuvers is what I always wanted to do. Like he can really rap, just like I can really rap, so it’s like he’s never a slouch in any one department; and his business, he just took it and graduated every time, each venture is bigger than the last one, always bigger, and I love that. I think that’s dope. Even now he has kids and is like super dad, and he is still a G overall, and that is and will be, ME”.
Aych is a music artist and a promoter who moved from Delaware to Tampa in 2004, at age 21, living on a couch, each day a struggle to come up, but in 2005, Aych not only climbed each agonizing step to the top, but started to raise the bar to accomplish his dreams. Progress for the sake of progress, and simple is an understatement when this artistic individuals’ dreams encompassed all the other artists. While lighting a path for his own music, he burned a yellow brick road for every other artist who followed and worked with him, forming his well-known reputation as one of Tampa Bay’s Best Hosts and Event Promoters. In 2006 Da Cypher was born. Splitting the week between beginning and end; twice monthly, Wednesday night at Crowbar, Da Cypher became the new spot for growing artists and those with words to spit. “It is a platform for artists to come through, do their thing, network, and build a little family from there,” Aych begins. Aych has been rapping for a while, with singles such as “Dollar & A Dream” and “Answers”, as well as most recently released Corona Kid in 2021. He also has a hat market in the clothing industry promoting Loud on 7th music festival with custom designs which has been immensely successful
Music festival meet Aych, Loud on 7th is an event packed weekend with amazing talent and diverse performances from rap to hip-hop to R&B to poetry. Loud on 7th’s music festival debuted 2019 and was a hit, everyone was making noise about the moves Aych was making, and these shows were the place to be. Aych was serving King size moves as he made the vision that took him months to build come to life. Due to the same pandemic that time locked the rest of the world, Loud on 7th was put on hold until 2021, but Aych didn’t miss a beat, he had and still carries Tampa Bay’s attention. Aych says by the second year they had a better idea of what he and his team were getting into, improving the details to make the overall experience all the more exhilarating. Aych speaks on the importance of having a team as well as networking, talking about the rapport he has built over the years with the club owners and venues which allowed him to make this dream come alive for not only himself but all the other artists who benefited from the experience.
Notebooks, loose papers and stickynotes of every color and size, span random surfaces throughout this event curator’s home. Voice recordings and documents fill his phone and his laptop, the plans for the MUSIC FESTIVAL, the plans to make a BIG significance, spread and dominate every corner of Aych’s life, as the scattered thoughts for this amazing venture unroll into an organized masterpiece. With a background in basketball, Aych represents his team player by player, “ Brixton and Swizz are my guys on the graphics, working on the wings; Eric is my guy in the post, he is my power forward/ center, he does all the internet work, makes sure the fliers are posted properly, website is functional, he is the one who designed the website, and also took care of ticket sales with Eventbrite. Erin is like the on the floor general, she is the point guard, she’s hiring the door girls, making sure they are trained, making sure everything is setup at the events. I, I am the wing and the coach”. Aych continues, “you know I do a little bit of everything, sometimes the wing can bring the ball up, sometimes the wing plays the post, that’s me. I planned everything, I draw up the plays in the locker room, I’m going to need you here, YOU here, you there, and that’s really it”.
In sync with the first event Aych organized, the weekend of September 11th featured the Kickoff Concert and Media day event, on Thursday night. Aych went on to power Loud on 7th events, the She’sSo Dope (all female lineup), Soul on Fire R&B and Poetry event, Drip’N Bars, Way Too Loud Producer & Artist Battle, Loud Market for vendors, Rounds on 7th rap battles, headliner Loud For a Reason and late night parties including Phat Rabbit showcasing fire dancing and more. “They say to build a perfect wall, you build one brick at a time. Thursday started it off, Friday it got a little better, Saturday was like the madhouse, and then Sunday was kind of like let’s cool down. You know you don’t want your biggest event on the last day of the festival, everybody’s tired, they’re burnt out, partying 4 days straight. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to cause I was running around but the Phat Rabbit party was probably my favorite. I got about 30 minutes out of that one, but it was dope to see it come together. The girl Molly – that does the fire, the dancers on the pole, just the whole environment, it was dope”.
Next year will most certainly see Loud on 7th return but, in the meantime, let’s take a deeper look at the curator himself. Aych’s first love was basketball; he had 2 college scholarship offers and still plays in local leagues. Modern day he paints the picture of the perfect day in Aych’s world. No events, no obligations, no expectations, just time with his son. Aych confirms passionately “That’s my guy, that’s my bestfriend, he has these little videos he watches, he sits there and sings along, I sit with him, and help. I put on certain songs that he likes and he will like sing the hook, and I’m like yea, you like this song, right, you gotta it, keep going, yea!” Aych has an amazing girlfriend who is also in the music industry, and as such, supports him in his goals, and he does with her.
Aych believes happiness is about being able to do what you want to do, to have the freedom of laying in bed all day or going out and being busy. He believes freedom is the ability to follow what your gut and mind tell you is for you without circumstances or self, hindering those goals. “Like the other day I was talking to my mom and I was saying how when I go out to eat, I like to really eat. I want the steak, I want the lobster, I want all of that; because when I first got here, my roommate was bringing me a cheeseburger from the dollar menu. I couldn’t eat what I wanted to eat; I was broke! I was trying to figure it out, and I didn’t have any money, it was hard. So now that I have a couple of dollars, it’s like, I want everything I want. That’s how I am in life now. I am not a big dreamer, I am not one of those people who is into designer this, and that, nah, I just want what I want. Like tomorrow if I wake up and want to go to Argentina for the week. I can. And I’m not a big spender, I don’t have any vices like drinking and smoking, my son is well fed and taken care of, that’s what I want” Aych explains. Aych has a huge hat obsession, so he started a hat company to merchandise for Loud on 7th and thoroughly enjoys designing and marketing these and promoting Tampa Bay. “I LOVE TAMPA, OMG I love Tampa because it’s like a melting pot, and it’s so different than what I grew up around. It’s kindof like, just new, it’s exciting and even now it’s still pretty new. It’s forever changing, like different waves,” Tampa Bay promoter Aych fist pumps the air.
Aych gets into detail about the politics of the entertainment industry, “ I stepped into music understanding that it’s not about who’s better, it’s about understanding who works harder and who makes the most money, you know if you’re a earner, this guy is going to get this, he may be someone else’s cousin; like the Swizz beats story, the producers that taught him didn’t get the same looks he got, because the people who ran the label were Swizz’s relatives. There’s a lot of that, it’s business. You can either complain about it or deal with it, work around it. Who you know definitely matters in the music industry and not just who you know but the relationship is everything in this. So always be genuine and don’t always look for someone to do something for you, sometimes you have to offer services to other people, to build that rapport, to help that person because the higher up you get, the less people are genuine and actually want to help, they have intentions”. Aych goes on to discuss different parts of the business side of music, including dealing with artists, vendors, and venues with different expectations than what was really realistic for what they gave in return, or which were not properly communicated. Aych listens when people brings problems or misunderstandings to him, and acts accordingly but in some situations he just lets people talk to themselves, get out their feelings and keeps his business moving, NEXT.
Aych is looking to get into licensing, getting music into commercials, movies, TV shows, videogames, etc. Aych has been on BET twice, toured around the US, had his music played on radio shows, been published in magazines, and even toured in Hong Kong for a week. “It’s really dope to perform in different parts of the world and different countries, I didn’t know they were receptive to hip-hop like that. It was very culture shocking but also like, this is real,” Aych reminisces before explaining about getting into event promotion. “It’s a music business, once you start seeing how it works, you realize it’s a business and you can make way more money other ways, but I still create because that’s my passion. I just don’t really have a passion for business as the artist, I have a passion for business as putting things together, like I had a management company and started with Fresh P called “A&H”, but it ended up being too slow, so I learned from it and now have some other things in the works”. Aych says with a snicker, “sometimes the cook is the last one to eat” and this entrepreneur will feast and make sure the rest of the city does too.
Follow @aych302 and LOUD ON 7th music festival website, to keep up to date with the next events you must attend for an experience …or 2, of a lifetime. “Send them everywhere” Aych says with a laugh, “I’m not ruling anything out yet, just type in A Y C H!” LET’S GO!!!
Written By: Writerreyes