Neither major label deals, nor guest appearances on 106 & Park nor even heavy radio play can dictate what’s hot in Southern hip hop. The people in the streets do. Virtually every major recording artist today got their start as independent hustlers before they made it to the mainstream.

Everybody from Academy Award-winning crew Three 6 Mafia to multi-platinum rapper Lil Wayne all the way down to Houston trailblazer Scarface got their initial nods from the streets before their careers catapulted to shake up the world.

And the emerging talent to ascend from the underground to win favor amongst the grassroots is Ft. Myers, Fla. rapper Frank Lini. Already establishing himself as a regional mainstay with several successful independent albums under his belt, he continues to crank up the Sunshine State with his latest single “60 Minutes,” produced by L&L Productions.

Steadily heating up on radio mix shows throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama, the lead single is just a warm up before his forthcoming So Dope Records mixtape Hoodstar, due later this year.

““I usually make street music so my lead single is a little different for me but it still has a lot of me in it,” Frank admits. “It's more angled towards radio but with some street elements.”

Born Frank Starks in Ft. Myers, Fla., Frank has been fighting to survive the wretched city streets of “Lil Pakistan” for the vast majority of his life. Hustling since he was a youngster, he was constantly in and out of trouble and spent his adolescent years revolving through juvenile corrections facilities.

His life began to change, however, when he began making homemade rap tapes with friends Byrd and Faust, both of whom, like Frank, were well known and respected around town. He adopted his stage name “Lini” to pay homage to his native Lee County.

“When I first started rapping, it was a way for me to channel all of my frustrations into music,” Lini remembers. “It was so easy because I just let that voice inside of me speak.”

While recording his debut album I’m All In in the summer of 2006, he was arrested and began a three-year legal battle which resulted in jail time and probation. Although that run-in with the law was a major setback, it also provided him with an opportunity to reach even deeper into the streets and even further solidify a strong fan base in Florida.

The album was released in December 2007 on independent label Tohilh Music Group and quickly became the streets’ Bible. Frank’s gritty delivery and pain-filled lyrics on runaway singles “I Ain’t Friendly” and “I’m All In” prompted the streets to rally around him as unofficial mayor of Ft. Myers.

By the time of the follow-up album Green Light dropped, Frank gained the attention of industry heavyweights like Tony Neal (CORE DJs, Konvict Music South) and Bigga Rankin (vice president of CTE, Cool Runnings DJs, Mayback/ Def Jam artist). He had been nominated by Hood magazine as the 2007 Underground Album of the Year and secured a feature appearance on Triple Cs 2009 album Custom Cars & Cycles on single “Throw Em In the Sky,” which was also featured on He was also selected to be featured in Ozone magazine’s Patiently Waiting section and received a Duval Diamond Award for his relentless grind.

Now, Frank Lini is back like he never left. He has been steadily gaining new fans and keeping the streets duly satisfied with his latest single “60 Minutes,” produced by L&L Productions. And he is sure to make his mark on the national scene with his forthcoming So Dope Records mixtape Hoodstar, due later this year.

“My ultimate goal is to take over this rap game,” says Lini. “I won’t follow the beaten path. I’m a trailblazer so instead of following anybody, I choose to hold out and wait for the world to catch up to what I’m doing down here in Florida. Better opportunities are on the horizon.”