The Villanz
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The Villanz

Riverview, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF

Riverview, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2000
Duo Hip Hop Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Villanz - Go For Mine"

Two Florida natives brought together by their love for hip-hop and their dedication to getting that paper, Di-Vine and Main of The Villanz make their grand entrance in The DJBooth with Go for Mine, the lead single off their next full-length. On this breezy hustle anthem, the duo (introduced to us by Tampa’s own DJ Sandman) chronicle their relentless pursuit of paper over a sampled instrumental by Booth-approved beatsmith M-Phazes. The Neighborhood Heroes as yet lacks a drop date, but those who like what they’re hearing can stay tuned for further freshness from the up-and-coming duo.

- DJ Booth

"From Villians to Heroes"

Standing in front of Tampa's most recognizable high-rise, a booming voice seemingly appears out of nowhere, "This is security. You must leave the property. Otherwise the police will be called!

Standing in front of Tampa's most recognizable high-rise, a booming voice seemingly appears out of nowhere, “This is security. You must leave the property. Otherwise the police will be called!”

It took a half hour to set up the lighting and camera gear but before taking a single shot, we were asked to leave. Stifling moments such as these are not uncommon for the local rap artists known as The Villanz. They were faced with contempt and disrespect from their fellow peers from the very beginning and deliberately chose their name out of consequence.

But The Villanz are looking beyond their initial discouragement and focusing on their ultimate plan which will complete itself when Di-Vine (a k a Die-Vinny) and Main release their talents on their first full-length album as a group, but more importantly as an alliance. For The Villanz, success in this redemption will not only be measured by impressing their former adversaries with their musical skills and meticulous sound production but with the recognition and respect that comes with showcasing the city that has given them this opportunity.

We hung out with The Villanz during their nighttime photo shoot where it was not so much themselves, but downtown Tampa that was the center of attention. True local products that spawned from the branches of Seffner and Suitcase City, lyricists Di-Vine and Main, together with their manager Idris, are pushing for a worldwide sound while never forgetting where they came from. Whatever path lies ahead for The Villanz, one thing remains certain ... Tampa is going with them.

REAX: How and when did The Villanz rise up?

Main: About four years ago. I had a group but it just wasn't going right so I left to work with Di-Vine. The vibe that he had going on was what I wanted to do.

Di-Vine: I also had a group but we didn't have the direction and I took it more seriously than a lot of them. I found the same qualities that I had, in Main, so I stepped to him and said, "Why don't you do a song with me?" and the chemistry was crazy. In 2003, The Great LP was released and Main was featured on it. I already had the idea of coming out with The Villanz project so I wanted people to get used to hearing him with me.

REAX: Who works the beats for The Villanz?

Main: We do that, too.

Di-Vine: Our production is a culmination of me, Main, my little brother and also FunkGhost and others. Usually, we do our own beats but for this new album, called Neighborhood Heroes, we're branching out and collaborating.

REAX: On the track "Get Honey," you drop the line, "I hit the corners hard like Barber." You guys throw a lot of references to Tampa's culture and in essence, that's showing respect. Is that a conscious effort?

Main: I was raised in Suitcase City on 22nd and Fletcher. Sometimes it's an unconscious effort but it just comes out on the paper. Being raised up here, if I didn't do that, I'd be facing some trouble.

Di-Vine: I was born and raised in Tampa, that's where I'm from. I don't know anything but Tampa really. I've been all over the country but I love this place cause it gave me my character; it gave me my strength.

REAX: What are your feelings on the scene here in Tampa, as far as hip hop?

Di-Vine: I think the scene is coming up. It's had its ups and downs but it seems on the up and up now. We got a lot of people in Tampa that faithfully come to our shows. I love the scene.

REAX: What do you feel is the biggest difference between the scenes of bigger markets, such as New York, and smaller cities like Tampa?

Main: I had the opportunity to work with some guys from the New York underground scene and as far as I'm concerned, there's a strong foundation here in Tampa. If you go to different areas, a lot of those guys will have a pigeonholed sound. The object is to get your sound to be universal, where everyone can understand it and vibe with you.

Di-Vine: I think it's getting stronger here because people are getting out of the mindset that you have to rhyme like you're from Tampa. I think the more people that open their minds up and do universal music, just good music, instead of worrying about trying to sound like something... by just being themselves, I think it will come into its own.

REAX: How did you guys come up with the name and the meaning for the The Villanz?

Di-Vine: It was something we came up with together. I had the idea and came to Main about it but he came up with the meaning. We just felt like, people weren't taking our lyrical marriage seriously. We were catching a lot of flack from the local people not liking Main or me personally. So at the time, we figured they looked at us like we're the villains. But really, we're the heroes. When we say heroes, we mean real. We're not fake. We're not poseurs. We don't front. We speak from the heart. We do what we do out of love for what we do. When I say haters, there are all kinds of different sources of hate that you receive. Not just from another group but if somebody tries to deny you an opportunity... that's what we got.

Main: We're just trying to do what we do and we just do good music, man. And a lot of people hate us for that.

REAX: Promotion is a large part of the business and you've found a perfect fit with your manager, Idris Faruq. How did you hook up with each other?

Idris: A brother by the name of FunkGhost had brought Vinny by the studio that I was recording in and I noticed acutely that he walked with his head and chest up, not arrogantly, just his normal swag. He had a 3-song demo with him but real crudely produced. He played the demo and it was really good. I asked Vinny how many songs he had and he said 17. He came to my house and he performed all 17 songs in front of me at one time until all 17 were done. I sat there in the living room and had determined that this kid is 19 years old and at the time, from what I had seen, was clearly the most impressive lyricist I had ever heard out of Florida. As I watched Vinny, emotionally speaking, it all came to me that he would be the one.

REAX: By working with sound engineers like Kilo-D, you guys have separated yourselves from the pack in terms of sound quality. Aside from high-end production, what's the most important element of The Villanz?

Idris: We really believe we have a national sound that does not limit us to a region. We're trying to make the kind of music that will be here. We are trying to qualify ourselves to be a band that stands the test of time. We're not a snack food. We're trying to be a full meal.

- Reax Magazine

"The Good, The Bad, The Local by Scott Harrell and Cooper Lane Baker"

The Rise of The Villanz: Episode 1

The Villanz (Substantial Recordz)

I generally don't go in for too much street/thug rap, but while MCs D-Vine and Main spit their fair share of couplets about "hos" and implied violence, they've created a sound and style that transcend the usual clichéd bullshit. Both rappers have developed top-notch flows that split the difference between straightforward, boastful block-party anthems and smarter, more intricate underground fare. This is hip-hop with balls and talent, paired with perhaps the best production I've heard on a local mix CD. It's hard, funny, admirable and clever, and leaves the majority of Bay area crews -- from both the ghetto and the backpack scene -- in the dust. 4 stars SH

- Creative Loafing Magazine

"Artist of the Day"

Tampa rappers Divine and Main make up The Villanz, a longtime tag team on the local hip-hop scene. Their sound is uniquely polished with smooth, smart lyrics and a sleek vintage vibe (they compare their sound to early Jay-Z, Nas and Notorious B.I.G.). You may recall single U Know What I Want, which got some local radio airplay a few years back, and they recently appeared on the WMNF-88.5 program The Damn Jams.
- Tampa Bay Times


"The great LP" Di-vine solo album released 12/2003
- singles include - "Top Gun" and "Alright"

"The Rise of the Villanz Episode: 1" Mixtape released 1/2006
- singles include - "You know what I want" and "Gun Talk"

"The NeighborHood Heroes" coming fall 2012
- singles include - "lockdown", "Go for mine" produced by M-Phazes "Work" and "Can I Hit That"



The Villanz:  Hip Hop Is Finally Back

By Stephen Zsiga

February 13, 2014

The Villanz are all about something that in todays day and age in Hip Hop music is far from the status quo.  Easily recognized by their throwback style of real lyricism, coupled with their independently produced beats which bring together an artistic swag not heard in years, The Villanz have the unique opportunity to truly reinvent the rap game all over again in the midst of a musical culture that could use a fresh facelift.

Tampa, Florida native Justin Green (aka Di-Vine) and New Jersey native Jermaine McCloud (aka Main) came together to form The Villanz in 2000.  Green started his music career with a group called False Face Society in the late 1990s. Shortly thereafter the two completely broke off from False Face Society to form The Villanz.

All of the initial transitioning was not something that came without criticism for the two artists.  Their movements created tension amongst their circles that was certainly imminent for both artists however, that didnt stop either of them from pursuing their joint projects or their solo material.  They both knew that they had formed something special by coming together in their craft.

We became The Villanz through necessity really, Green said in a recent interview.  We met a lot of resistance and at the time we had limited access to the Tampa Hip Hop scene.  There was a lot of hate at that time. 

The Villanz released their first track in 2002 called Too Hot For Me.  Green then released The Great LP in 2003, his first solo album which sold over five thousand copies.  The two then released their first official project as The Villanz in 2006, Rise of the Villanz:  Episode 1.  The mixtape which featured the local hit single 'You know what I want" as well as a variety of industry and original beats.  Then after a long hiatus and years of hard work, The Villanz finally returned to the airwaves with their second project but first original production Neighborhood Heroes.  The album was released on January 28 on iTunes, Google Play,, Sony Unlimited, iHeart Radio and Rhapsody.

Both Green and McCloud were influenced by the same artists in their early years.  The 90s were not only when the two were coming into their own as men but also when the Hip Hop scene really exploded into the mainstream with the emergence of legends such as Jay-z, Nas, Notorious BIG, Tupac, KRS One, Wu-tang Clan and Slick Rick all of whom The Villanz say their sound has been influenced by.

The self-assessment by Di-Vine clearly has validity to it.  Neighborhood Heroes features a wide variety of tracks which encompass a wide variety of coast-specific feels expressed through both beats and lyrics.  The flexibility of The Villanz is evident not only in their ability to adapt and overcome but also in their ability to artfully express a truthfully deep, real message through their music.  One that necessarily is not easily found when searching thru todays Hip Hop scene.

One thing that is extremely prevalent throughout todays industry is an overzealous abundance of flash, materialism, glamour and other shallow, sellout standards.  The Villanz dont indulge in those undertones in their music and thats expressed on every track.  They continuously exhibit a loyal and true street mindset while theres never a moment that theyre not keeping it real.

Bringing back that throwback style of genuine lyricism is no easy task in the midst of the rules of the game today, though The Villanz have all the right tools in place and people in their corner to effectively exile the demons of todays industry from their path to success.  They self-promote their new music and new projects using social media outlets such as soundcloud, facebook and twitter.  They have plans to re-release their mixtape Rise of The Villanz:  Episode 1.  They've released a video for Lock Down, a track on Neighborhood Heroes and have plans to release another video soon.  

Between their unique and flexible self-produced beats, truly original Hip Hop lyrics that get in your face and make you think, well thought out plans and strategies for marketing and performances, all accompanied by everything else that goes into the daily operations and efforts of The Villanz, they have a product that takes the blinders back off of the eyes of todays rap game.

Classic is timeless, Green said.  It doesnt matter how old or how young you are.  Classic doesnt have a shelf life.

Band Members