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Tampa, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Alternative




"Halfway through 2016, catch up on the year's Tampa Bay albums"

Samurai Shotgun, Riptide

Samurai Shotgun made a memorable exit at this year's Gasparilla Music Festival, with vocalist Mateo Henley scaling the stage scaffolding while screaming "Rise up!"

Fitting, since this is a band that loves to stir the pot. Parts of new album Riptide hew to the alt-rap-rock template laid down by Rage Against the Machine, but big portions borrow from angular posthardcore acts like At the Drive-In. That's a combustible mix, and indeed, Riptide is more intense, dense and chaotic than their 2013 self-titled debut.

Tyler Mulder's guitars are front and center this time around, screaming and squealing through Heavyarms and Philophobia, and dancing with Jovan Lecaro's muscular drums and Marquis "DJ Qeys" Blocker's turntabling on the rhythmically ambitious Sabretooth and Intrepid. It feels more like straightup prog-rock, albeit it with Henley rhyming forcefully atop the music.

Rarely does the band pull back and just deliver a fun, funky song for the heck of it, though the snappy Runnin' might get you moving. But they do serve up songs titled Pumpkin Spiced Hipster (surprisingly introspective) and Make That Booty Go (not-so-surprisingly stoner-ish), which is something Rage Against the Machine would never do.

Rap-rock isn't exactly in vogue these days, but Samurai Shotgun are doing their part to blur those genre lines in ways that feel fresh, especially in Tampa Bay. - Tampa Bay Times

"The force of the Shotgun: A look back at Samurai Shotgun's Riptide Album Release Party at Crowbar"

Every so often you encounter a group that's a little bit different than the rest, one possessing a certain something that sets them apart — a knack for not only spreading their passion for life and sharing their dreams with you, but also, taking you along on the ride and making you want those dreams to come true, too.

Our brothers in music, Samurai Shotgun, are well on their way when it comes to fulfilling their dreams and the celebratory vibe was evident this past Saturday night at Crowbar. They made believers out of every single soul in the building and left not a single salty individual within miles. It was all love, and we were situated in a prime spot to experience this extravaganza from top to bottom.
The entire line up was comprised of "The Family" — a collection of some of The Samurai's closest comrades-in-arms. Of course, the familial connection expands beyond the stage to countless others entrenched in the local scene, but these were the Day One homies.

We got snug with a couple of tacos from the man Mic Deluxx throwin' down on the back patio just as RUDE 100 got cozy on stage. We chewed through bites of chicken infused heaven as groovy bass-driven melodies touched our ears. Laid-back rhyme schemes fell effortlessly and confidently over classic, no-frills beats and that feel-good vibe that made you fall in love with hip-hop in the first place. Rude was the perfect kick-off for the night, and the rest was just a domino effect of quality.

Mighty Jai is a local hip-hop heavyweight from just across the bridge, and he was next into the fray. He and the Samurai boys went back a handful of years, he explained with Southern etiquette as DJ Wally Clark gave him some time to air the room out. Jai has a way of "Marinating" the listeners with a flavor that makes you put on that stank face; your nose crinkles and your head shakes, like "I'm Tellin Ya!". Jai is easily one of the scene's boss level emcees, and it was dope to see him in this collection.

The crowd really started to swell as Tampa's own Rising Down hit the stage for their soundcheck. Easily 200-plus anxious bodies were swaying, smoking and tip-toeing around the crowded venue by this point. We'd never had the privilege of listening to or seeing the band before, but Mateo heavily cosigned the group, and spoke about the first show they played together, which was underneath this very roof.
Funny how things come together, huh? Rising Down's catchy breakdowns, passionate energy, and inviting vocals drew in their loyal fan base and captured the attention of dozens of others experiencing them for the first time. The band's cohesive nature can definitely be attributed to the amount of time and work they've been putting in together. Salute!

Now reaching nearly 300 hundred heads and counting, the room had begun to swell and rock like the breast of an old ship. We stepped out for fresh air and high-fived a couple of homies dressed for the occasion. The loud scent of some of Florida's finest greenery permeated the patio while huddles of cool kids shot the shit about anything and everything. Suddenly, we heard the piercing royal tone of a familiar friend of ours. The Queen had arrived, and she was ready to rock, right now. We dashed inside as quickly as possible, and perched up near the DJ booth to catch her from an elevated perspective.

If you've never had the honor of being a part of a Queen of Ex set, here's what you can expect: 1) She will command the room; 2) Your energy will become a part of hers; 3) She will manifest this energy and release it back to you, tenfold. With bars like a dozen M-80s going off on the mic, the homie Rogerthomas slapping calculated percussion to keep up the rhythms, and a crowd full of people that were tuned into it, everything was in its right place. And Queen of Ex spit that shit!

It was approximately tequila thirty and the party was LIT! The homies from Bangarang were straight outta the Okeechobee Music Fest, and geared up to take that momentum into the "Riptide."

We fucking love these guys, and were stoked to see them command and conquer a room of about 350 people. They left it all out there with no regrets, which had the same effect as air-dropping gallons of gasoline on a raging forest fire. The audience was a homogenous mixture of equal parts sweat and celebration as they took us home with "Slave Boy No More." Then it was time for the Samurai.
Just after 11 p.m., word spread around the room that the show was sold out. SOLD OUT?!? Bruh, there were over 400 people in the building and more that wanted to get in but couldn't! Our deepest condolences to the unfortunate souls bound to wander Ybor City eternally, never to experience our bit of heaven. Because there was literally not a single place on Earth we would have rather been, than in this space and time for Samurai Shotgun. All copies of Riptide were sold out, the building was sold out, so there was only one thing left to do, fam.

Crowbar owner Tom DeGeorge took a moment to give a spirited send off and salute to Samurai Shotgun just moments before the first note of "Sabertooth" screeched out of the amps.
Then, all hell broke loose.

The moments that followed were a wash of Riptide bangers, a wall of bodies colliding in an aggressive mosh pit, and nonstop screams of dedication and love for the band. It's absolutely crazy how hard these guys work. The usual "dick-riding" and pretending to vibe that you tend to see at shows of this caliber wasn't anywhere in the nearest galaxy. This was pure, die hard love.
Samurai brought out a slew of featured guests — Sammy White of Rising Down, Senyo from Bangarang, and the lovely Queen of Ex. This is how you shut it down proper. After announcing that they'd be leaving for Atlanta in the next couple months, the building was overwhelmed by a collage of emotion. Tears flowed, people were smiling from ear to ear, and a feeling of local pride pervaded.

On a personal level, it reminded us, and others like us, why we do what we do. The long nights and the early mornings in pursuit of dreams, it all pays off. Beyond the talent, Samurai Shotgun is a product of cause and effect. You put in the hard work, and you reap the rewards. As Mateo hung from the rafters like Spider-Man the realization came to us all that they were out of here in more ways than one.

In sum ... the new album Riptide is fire, its release party was a success and the night proved a HUGE win for the entire Tampa Bay area. Our hearts break and rejoice as we send off yet more friends to bigger and better things. But it's never goodbye. Just, so long for now. Follow your passion, your peace, and the DREAM. - Creative Loafing


On February 23rd, California thrashcore punk band Trash Talk stopped at Orpheum in Ybor City to give the fans a massacre of a Monday night. Whoever said Monday’s are lame were totally wrong. The energy was high, sweat was pouring and people were moshing.

Opening act Mushmind came on loud, apathetic, and very intriguing. The noise punk band from Ybor City definitely got the crowds attention with the crunching of guitars, wild stage presence, and the front man Chris’s short shorts. Chris gets crazy on stage screaming lyrics while rolling on the ground eating the microphone. At times the crowd felt a bit awkward as they were still getting used to Chris’ eccentric style. By the end of the show they were 100% in to it.

Up next hailing from Tampa was prog-hip-hop band Samurai Shotgun. Entering the stage with a Sonic the Hedgehog theme and slicing right into their first song “Ginsu”. Samurai gives fans a show with rapid lyrics, screaming vocals and an energetic stage performance. Mixing many genres from hip-hop to post hardcore, there are definitely elements of a funk groove and a punk feel to them.

Trash Talk performed songs of their latest albums “No Peace” and “119”. Front man Lee Spielman jumps off stage during the first song saying, “I hate this stage! I need to be close to you. THIS IS A FLOOR SHOW TAMPA!” talking to the fans. Drummer Thomas Pridgen ( The Mars Volta, The Memorials) killed it with perfect execution on every song, banging kick drums and crashing cymbals. Trash Talk had a short & sweet yet powerful set leaving fans satisfied. Whoever said Monday’s weren’t good have obviously never been to a Trash Talk show. - Zero Warning


A group of young, talented, creative enthusiasts put on for the Bay Area in Florida, and we were so lucky to be apart of their journey. The well-known band, Samurai Shotgun, graced the stage with their presence at Atlanta's AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands and WE WERE WITH THE BAND! Debonair District collaborated with Samurai Shotgun to create "Die by The Sword", a signature tee for the fans. We were up all night working to prepare for the weekend and we hit the road on Saturday, June 20th, at 4am, eager to see what was in store.

Once we touched down in the city of ATL, the adventures were among us. The first stop was Little Five Points, a cultural avenue that felt like home. We spent much of our time exploring the city and taking in all of its greatness. Later that evening, we attended the AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands and it was nothing short of mind-blowing. One might assume that being engulfed in a crowd of enthusiasts, yelling and banging their heads might be a little frightening but it was quite the contrary. It was as if you had no choice but to feel the vibrations and allow your body to move and let your head nod in adoration. And guess what?! They won the battle. What an awesome feeling!

After a long day of adventures and a long night of great music and good vibes, we hit the sack for a few and started the next day with the same good spirit. We did the tourist thing to do and visited Stone Mountain. We did yoga in the park, we saw the lamest light show, we visited family and friends, we ate at a few great restaurants, and we met some of the coolest ATLiens.

All in all, we had an unforgettable experience. As young creative enthusiasts, we always venture to learn more about life. We definitely appreciate the opportunity to roll out with Samurai Shotgun. Can't wait for our next escapade! - Debonair District


Founded in 2010, Samurai Shotgun is a band that provides innovation to music with their alternative flair, hip-hop influenced sound and progressive movement toward something new. This is the beginning of a new genre, theirs is a sound that is easy to identify with the band itself.

Based in Tampa, Florida; Samurai Shotgun is setting their sights on expansion and flooding the world with the experience of listening to their music. The band is composed of lead vocalist; Matt Henley, guitarist; Tyler Mulder, bass player; Bryant Harp, drummer; Jovan Lecaro, and on the turntables and keys; Marquis Blocker otherwise known as DJ Qeys.

The members all met through mutual friendships, school and work. Individually all are equally talented, but together Samurai Shotgun is unstoppable. - Gasparilla Music Festival

"Best Hip-Hop Alternative Samurai Shotgun"

A ferocious, magnetic five-piece on the brink of blowing up (and getting their chance at this October’s Afropunk Fest in Atlanta), Samurai Shotgun plies prog-and-funk-minded alt rock and turntable-tricked-out experimental hip-hop built on the instrumental prowess of guitarist Tyler Mulder, bass player Bryant Harp, drummer Jovan Lecaro, and decks-and-keys maestro Marquis Blocker, and driven by the powerfully potent lead of vocalist/emcee Mateo Henley. - Creative Loafing

"Samurai Shotgun - The Next Evolution Of Music"

Music fans of the world, unite! A new musical force is on the scene titled Samurai Shotgun, and they are out to convert every audience into hordes of loyal fans. This five-piece band boasts a roster that is as culturally diverse as the music they create. While in college nearly 10 years ago, the band was the brainchild of Mateo “Prince Golden” Henley, and fellow Recording Arts classmate, Marquis “DJ Qeys” Blocker. They reformed the group in 2011 with its current lineup, adding Bryant Harp on bass, Tyler Mulder on guitar and Jovan Lecaro on drums. Like the great warrior spirit they pay homage to, Samurai Shotgun is set to take on the musical world. Although they are loosely categorized as “progressive/alternative hip-hop” on indie sites such as Reverb Nation, this doesn’t come close to describing the unique sounds they produce. Blending and layering hip-hop rhythms, lyrical old school rap, and cutting and scratching with Latin that’s been infused with punk-influenced drumming, they top it off with slap and pop, funky bass and a heavy intricate bluesy guitar. Samurai Shotgun is the ultimate crossover band. Founding member DJ Qeys sums it up this way, “We all have totally different backgrounds and different ways of life, but on that stage when we come together as one, it’s perfect. A great mix of all these different influences, different genres, and the way we blend them together is what allows us to make our mark.”

The effectiveness of this blending was definitely apparent during their recent set on Sunday, May 26, at Ybor City’s Crowbar. From the first strains of “One Mind, One Heart, One Soul”, the band soon had the attention of the entire audience, from patron to employee. All eyes were on the performers, and for the next thirty minutes they proceeded to entertain, move, shake, mesmerize, scratch and pound away at their craft. Vocalist Prince Golden never stopped moving, jumping from stage to PA, to floor and back. Lecaro was a blur on the drums, Harp and Mulder were both in their own musical world while still fully in tune with their band mates. DJ Qeys and his tables acted as one entity, with each intricately layered element of the group working in perfect harmony. Pouring everything they have into each live show is the motto for this motley bunch and the experience they offer while on stage is not to be missed. “We want to deliver something fun, energetic, and exciting, something that will bring joy to people’s ears,” says bassist Harp when describing their approach to music and performing. Within that thirty minute set list, the genres crossed from funk, hip-hop, R&B, Latin, rap, rock, and metal to name a few. Other beauties that night included, “Ecuadorian Stand Off”, “Downtown Funky Pants”, the soulful “Escape Above”, and “Heavy Arms.” They finished the night with the heavy hitting “Force Of The Shotgun” in which Lecaro’s drumming could be felt in everyone’s chest as it reverberated out of the PA with ground-shaking results.

The band is quick to acknowledge that their diversity is key to their unique approach to songwriting and performing. “We all have open minds about our performance and we continue to learn from each other about music, which is what makes us so much more complex,” explains Lecaro. His statement is further strengthened by guitarist Mulder’s description of their show, “You really don’t know what you’re in for when you come to see Samurai Shotgun, it is truly a cornucopia of sound.” Sticking with the premise of something for everyone, this band is ready to make their way to the next step.

As lead singer and founder Prince Golden quickly pointed out, “Not only will everyone find something they like within Samurai Shotgun, when people attend our show, the one thing they can expect is something they’ve never seen before.” “Force Of The Shotgun” is the first single from their self-titled full-length album currently scheduled for a late summer release. The band has plans for hitting the road in support of their first album as the year progresses. Until the release, the official video is available on YouTube. Their next show is scheduled at Crowbar for June 4, which will be a great opportunity for their fans to catch this band phenomenon that calls Tampa Bay home before they strike out for the big time. - Florida Audio Chick


It’s refreshing when an outfit discards self-conscious stage presence and overproduction and just plays loud, energetic music in about any joint on the power grid. Combining loose, expressive guitar riffs, a hip-hop vocal approach and turntable stylings, Samurai Shotgun’s sound is reminiscent of turn-of-the-century acts like early Deftones, Lostprophets and Rage Against the Machine. It’s pure creativity with limited resources – DIY music at its best, a bridge between rap and thrash that works because Samurai isn’t trying too hard to sound like either. They’re just having fun. - Folio Weekly

"This Little Underground: Marc With a C, Harsh Radish and Samurai Shotgun at the Grand Collab (Will's Pub)"

"The other was Tampa’s Samurai Shotgun, a band with the danglers to venture into the defiled fusion of rap and rock. Many an art crime has been committed by a full rock band with an MC and a DJ, but try and leave that luggage behind when you consider them. Like Orlando’s Deaf 2 the Industry, Samurai Shotgun’s imagining of rap-rock is a million miles away from the bro tools that left their stench on the concept. Perhaps it would make you feel better to know that they’re much more Rage Against the Machine than Linkin Park, or that frontman Mateo Henley recognized my Death From Above shirt even though it had no words on it. Either way, just know that they don’t try and sprinkle in clean singing or any shit like that. It’s an amalgam of rap, punk energy and spacey effects that’s raw and visceral." - Orlando Weekly


Here’s the latest offering from the already awakened gents of Samurai Shotgun. This video is pretty dope. For Ginsu, Samurai Shotgun pair with director John Howe for a superbly animated and eye opening set of visuals. I’m really feeling the vibe on this record, but as always, we want to hear from you. Listen closely and watch the visuals carefully…they’re definitely awakening. Comment below if you’re digging it…and be sure to share and enjoy! Visit daily for our take on the best creative works this side of the internets. - CLP Nation

"Concert review: Flobots, Astronautalis & Samurai Shotgun at Orpheum, Ybor City"

I'd say the general reaction I got from people when I announced I was going to see Flobots was 50 percent "Who?" and 50 percent "The Handlebar dudes?" Yes, the dudes responsible for 2008 hit single "Handlebars" dropped into Orpheum in support of their third and most recent release, The Circle in the Square, and I was very interested in how they'd sound four years after releasing that infuriatingly catchy track. [Text by Marci Richter, photos by Chris Spires.]

Local prog-hip hop band Samurai Shotgun hit the stage first and impressed the hell out of me. I know lead singer Mateo Prince Henley from the Ybor clubs he's worked at, and I had no idea he had this in him. When I commented to my friend that one of their songs reminded me of a raw, urban RHCP, he summed it up succinctly with his response:"Yeah, but ten times better, though."

Next on stage was Minnesota's insanely surprising Astronautalis. When a pretty blonde boy in a cornflower blue button-down and khakis strode onto the stage to help set up, I assumed he was an intern. Then the lights went down, and he started sing-rhyming over reverb-drenched guitar and cymbals-crashing beats, and I thought, Whoa. Dude's got flow. The crowd was definitely digging the mix of hip hop and rock, and didn't hesitate to move closer to the stage at his invitation. He kept brushing his blonde curls away from his face as he bounced from foot to foot and crouched down to make eye contact with the crowd. He referred to himself as a "substitute (teacher) looking motherfucker," to those of us who weren't familiar with him before his set started, addressing the whole judging-a-book-by-its-cover thing (which I was guilty of), and then asked for requests on subjects to freestyle on. The two spontaneous freestyle raps that followed touched on the Higgs boson particle, Mitt Romney, the movie Airplane!, Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Stan Lee, and roller derby. Dude is good.

Closing out the night, Flobots entered to a pretty big crowd that clearly knew there was more to the sextet than bike tricks. The first thing I noticed wasn't the guitarist or bassist, it wasn't the pair of charismatic rappers who front the band, and it wasn't the burly guy on drums. It was definitely band's lone female, Mackenzie Gault, standing stage left with her electric viola. Instrumental touches like this are what make Flobots' mix of hip hop and rock so special. The energy was high from the moment they opened the set with "Stand Up," and it didn't even waver when things got a little rocky.

Midway through the set, it became clear that vocalist Brer Rabbit was having issues with his mic, so without skipping a beat, partner Johnny 5 abandoned the setlist and launched into the rarely performed "By the Time You Get This Message" while the tech guy tried to sort things out. The energy held steady all throughout, and pretty much the only time the two vocalists weren't bounding around the stage was when Johnny got down on one knee to play melodica. The crowd was on board 100 percent by the time they reached "Handlebars," and were rewarded with a high-octane performance that didn't feel like they'd already played it a zillion times. The evening ended with a slow and beautiful rendition of "Rise" along with a huge thanks to the crowd.

As we were on our way out of the venue, a few of my friends remarked that they liked the openers better than Flobots. I'll admit, it was a pretty close race for me as well. But there are definitely worse things than having to decide which one of the three bands you just heard was the best. All I can say for certain is that I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for future Samurai Shogun shows, and if you're in Tampa, you should, too. - Creative Loafing Tampa FL

"New video from Samurai Shotgun, "Escape Above""

New video from Samurai Shotgun, "Escape Above"

Posted By LEILANI POLK on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Local alt hip hop group Samurai Shotgun — made up of vocalist/emcee Prince Golden (aka Matt Henley), bassist Bryant Harp, DJ Qeys (Marquis Blocker) on turntables and keys, guitarist Tyler Mulder and drummer Jovan Lecaro — recently premiered a brand new video for their track "Escape Above," which finds Golden flowing hushed sing-song word-association style rhymes about escape over melodic melancholic guitar, subdued low-end grooves and slow rolling rhythms.
The video by Pablo Vasquez follows each of the male band members as they encounter, hang with or attempt to woo varying types of women — from a corseted fire dancer to a classy girl of high rise means — and it features some place and faces you may recognize. Check it out after the jump... - Creative Loafing Tampa FL


Samurai Shotgun (Self-titled release)




SAMURAI SHOTGUN as it is known today was created back in 2010. Originating out of Tampa, Florida, five well-rounded musicians joined together to create a sound all their own

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, lead vocalist Mateo Henley founded the band in hopes of broadening his musical interest. Originally he started his music career as a solo rap artist named Prince Golden. Although the band is his main focus, Prince Golden still holds a legacy within the collective. 

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, DJ Qeys met Mateo while attending college in Tampa, Florida. Impressed with his skills on the boards, Mateo enlisted him as part of the band. 

Facing trial and error, line-up changes, and DJ Qeys flying back to Virginia, SAMURAI SHOTGUN disbanded, but wasn't quite over. Through local music affiliations, Tyler Mulder and Jovan Lecaro were brought in to revive the band. Bryant Harp would become the final addition to the group, and a phone call from Mateo would bring DJ Qeys back to Florida. 

Fast forward to the present, you now have a band that is a force to be reckoned with. When all five members come together, they form the "Voltron." Finding influence from hip-hop roots, and the sounds of progressive rock, you've got a band that goes against the books when it come to rap-rock. This isn't your typical 90s nu-metal band, or your standard Afropunk artist. SAMURAI SHOTGUN is the future of music

Band Members