Albany rapper Darrio “Street Sweepa” Bullock’s latest single, “Sweep Da Flo,” is blowing up at urban radio stations from Baltimore to Miami and is playing in dance clubs all over the country. (Special photo)
ATLANTA — When Darrio “Street Sweepa” Bullock’s story is written years in the future, one element of his character will define his legacy: You cannot keep the man down.
Counted out several times over a career that has been filled with fits and starts and retirements and rebirths, Sweepa has proven himself a survivor. A new legion of fans from the Eastern Seaboard south to the Magic City are finding out what the fuss is all about as Street Sweepa’s latest confection of ear candy, “Sweep Da Flo,” plays in steady rotation on an ever-expanding number of urban radio stations and in the hottest dance clubs.
“I think this is the best song I’ve done,” Sweepa says of the catchy single that gets a verse of energy from Albany-area rappers Swisha Man Slim and Edbird Slim. “So long in my career I’ve played catch-up, trying to follow the trend. Now I’m in my own lane and people are trying to catch up with me.”
Recorded at Mario Meadows’ Platinum Sound Studios in Albany, “Sweep Da Flo” is an answer to the Miami-based Splack Pack’s “Scrub the Ground.” In addition to Sweepa’s familiar growl, the song features the smooth flow of the two Slims, both of whom have their own burgeoning careers. Swisha will drop his new single “Andele” with Bohagon in May, while Edbird is drawing attention through his singles “Insecurity” and “Dream Chaser.”
“Street Sweepa got in touch with me through Mario, asked me to do a verse for ‘Sweep Da Flo,’” Swisha, a native of Calhoun County, said. “I knew about him from his earlier singles and had always liked his music, so I said sure. He told me a few of the words from the chorus, and that’s pretty much all I had to go on.
“I knew this was going to be a dance song, so I imagined the things I’d see in the club and wrote my verse around that.”
Monroe High School graduate and Albany artist Edbird Slim’s verse in “Sweep” was a last-minute addition, but it’s perhaps telling that he had written a verse for one of his own songs that fit seamlessly into Street Sweepa’s tune.
“We’d talked with another artist about doing a verse, but he had to back out at the last minute,” Sweepa said. “I called Edbird, and he was available. We’d been talking about doing some work together for a long time, and everything just kinda fell into place.”
Edbird, who says Sweepa is “like a big brother to me,” snatched a verse from his “Strip Club Cash” mix tape to use in “Sweep Da Flo,” and he recorded it in one last-minute session with Meadows.
“I’m an artist; I do everything from composing to engineering to recording,” the young Albany rapper said. “I’ve always wanted to do something with Street Sweepa, but working on the spur of the moment is nothing new to me. I enjoy collaborating with other artists, in fact that’s what I like to do most. I’m the type that might do a country song today, a rap tomorrow and a church song next Friday.”
Street Sweepa, who is best known for his regional hits “Motorcycle” and “Pacman,” has been on the verge of breakthrough fame and on everyone’s next-big-thing watch list for so long, he knows better than to build hopes too high. He has, after all, opened for superstars like Li’l Wayne, Young Jeezy, Chris Brown and Ciara and been courted by powerhouse labels like Universal Def Jam, Jive and Asylum.
“Yeah, I’ve been through so much over the years trying to make it in music,” said Sweepa, who has moved from Albany to Atlanta and produces his own shows in the state’s capital city. “I stopped a couple of years ago, was thinking about giving up, but I’ve got my confidence back now. I feel like I have the opportunity to change the world with my music, to take it worldwide.
“There’s nobody doing what I’m doing right now.”
What Sweepa is doing is blowing up on urban radio and working on a mixtape, tentatively titled “Freaknic,” which he hopes to drop in May.
“This is going to be my style of music, music to party and dance to,” he says.
Even though he’s taken his talents to the ATL, Sweepa said he hasn’t forgotten his roots. He regularly hosts neighborhood parties while visiting family in the Good Life City and plans to throw himself a birthday bash at the Sandtrap Lounge ballroom on May 24.