"Right now, I'm heading over to a studio in downtown that I've been working out of... It's actually Pitbull's spot. He's fucking with me now. He believes in me and gave me his spot to work out of," Bobby tells us over the phone.
Joevanny Astorga, age 28, AKA Bobby Biscayne, is a Cuban-American rapper born and raised in Miami. He lived in Hialeah as a kid but was forced to move to pretty much every area of the city when he was growing up because of his family's money troubles: Hialeah Gardens, Carol City, Westchester, and Coral Gables.
“My family was poor, and we were always having trouble with houses," he remembers. "It was me, my mom, sister, aunt, and my grandma all in one house. And it was a two-bedroom apartment, so I was always staying in a room with my sister. We didn’t have enough money — you know, that Miami shit.”
His mom worked for a limo and a mortgage company. According to Bobby, his father was a big-time drug-runner, apparently working for the "real-life Sosa from Scarface," and was in jail when Bobby was born. He was a "shit dad" and would always leave Bobby in the wind when the two made plans to spend time together. Bobby hasn't seen him in years.
Bobby grew up obsessively listening to records, 99 JAMZ, Hot97, Puff, Mase, Snoop, and Dre and always wanted to be a DJ. He's vague about what he did for money growing up, telling us only that he lived "lick to lick." Asked to explain, Bobby does his best. “Let’s say you hit up a gas station, and you go in for some regular-ass chips. And you find the rare fire flavor that’s not supposed to be there? You just hit a lick. Same with money. Just coming up on a hustle out of nowhere... That’s how Miami people live, lick to lick."
When he was 16, he decided to enroll in SAE music school for audio engineering. While in school, he fell into freestyling and realized he'd rather rap. Classmates called him Bobby DeNiro, and when he got out and decided to open a production studio with a friend on Biscayne Boulevard, he changed his handle to the much fresher Bobby Biscayne.
Since then, he's been arduously recording, releasing a few demos and a handful of music videos, one of which was shot by venerable Miami video director Uncle Luc. He's recorded at Miami's iconic Circle House studio, collaborated with PurpDogg, and caught the attention of none other than Pitbull, whom he's always looked up to since he first heard him on DJ Laz's show.
"Circle House is a great spot. For upcoming artists, it’s a mixing ground to meet people in the industry. People there have their guard down, and they’ll fuck with you."
With his new video for his single "Cream," shot by the appropriately named Rob Dade, Bobby comes off as a blissed-out Miami stoner presiding over his empire of women and streets and all things decadent. His flow is easy and precise over producer E's warped beat. He uses a satellite phone, even at one point attempting to find a signal by waving around the long antenna.
So then why use one?
"Real talk, it’s swagger. If you’re on a boat and you need a signal…"
Biscayne says Miami rap needs more collaboration.
Photo Courtesy of the Artist
For his part as a local rapper, Bobby wants to make the Miami rap world smaller and welcomes collaboration:
“I would love to work with more artists from Miami... but a lot of artists here are on some me-against-the-world shit, and it doesn’t help anybody. There’s a lot of cities around with a network of underground artists, and Miami doesn’t have that at all," Astorga says. "I want people to know, if you’re from Miami and you’re doing some shit? Come fuck with me.”
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