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     Ricky Hil Tango Hotel

    The precocious songwriter began writing and recording tracks at 13, learning swagger from Philly rap stalwarts like Beanie Sigel and Philly’s Most Wanted and prolificacy from 50 Cent. “I would just lock myself in a room for hours studying the same rap until I felt I knew it,” recalls Hil.

    The maturation process has been quick since those early days. Nowadays, Hil hasn’t touched a pen for a while, allowing the music and his instinct to decide the topic, flow and vocal melody. The result is a steady barrage of music that incorporates Hil’s mix of raspy crooning and rapping with an emotional, sometimes brutal, directness that recalls the best of Lil Wayne. “I don’t talk about money, fame or power,” admits the emcee. “It’s strictly vulnerability and the fun I have is stuff I take to ease that vulnerability.”

    He quickly got the attention of über-producer Swizz Beatz, who produced tracks for Hil’s first group and took him on his first tour. It was as hype man for the producer, and as a performer in his own right, that Hil learned the performance side of the game, a trait that has metastasized into the performer’s current setup with a blistering live band.