I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I could take Stitches seriously on “I Got Bands.” There are no shortage of rappers bragging about how much money they have, how much dope they sell, and how little fear they have for the consequences of their actions. “I’m a drug dealer with an attitude/I’ll catch a body, won’t leave a clue/I’m really, with the mob/Selling dope, fuck a job.” What’s new here?

As it turns out though Stitches might be Snitches for telling on himself, because he was arrested in Florida on weapons and drug charges in 2022. Now the circumstances are pretty muddy based on the local news report — he may or may not have fired a gun, the drugs may or may not belong to him, it’s possible he even called the police himself because there were four people “in his business.” You can read that quote both figuratively and literally. There’s no doubt of the upshot of being arrested though for Stitches. It gives an instant credibility to his words on “Married to the Bricks” that money alone can’t buy. When he claims he’s “Selling Dope” it might be the truth.

The song reads like a modern day “Ten Crack Commandments” without DJ Premier or Christopher Wallace. “Don’t tell your business to no hoe.” “Can’t trust none of these hoes, these hoes be trippin’.” It actually sounds gender neutral coming from Stitches. Everybody’s a “hoe” to him. He can even call the police hoes now because all charges against him were dropped. Now he’s got the rep without even having to do the time. “I’m a young drug dealer baby, increasing my wealth” he brags on “Whip a Brick.” Who can prove or disprove the voracity of this statement?

There’s one thing I might contend is a stretch though, and that’s when Stitches says “I never needed help, I did it by myself.” That’s where his narrative needs more examination. According to his Wikipedia bio, which I accept in this case because news reports about his arrest had the same details, he was born Phillip Nickolas Katsabanis in Miami, Florida to Greek and Cuban parents. That doesn’t sound like a typical gangster rapper’s bio right? He doesn’t sound like one on the mic either. The words read one way in print but sound a little different to the ear. When he says he’s “Stuck in the Streets” and “selling that work” there, it unintentionally comes across like he’s mimicking the tropes of trap rapping.

To be perfectly clear here I’m not saying Mr. Katsabanis is a fraud. He’s not hiding his background or doing anything offensive like rapping in blackface. There is a disconnect that can’t be avoided though because he’s just a little bit too clean for a grimy rapper. He talks about the hard knocks but his vocals sound like silver spoons. If he’s every bit the drug dealer he says and it’s not just an image he’s perpetuated to sell records, then he’s funneling a substantial portion of the proceeds back into his music. It too is much cleaner than the average. “Rehab” has enough oomph to shake the speakers in your ride, and I have to admit I laughed when he rapped “They say that I need some help/probably cause I’m talkin’ to myself.”

This might lead to a more profound question than whether or not Stitches is on the level. Let’s just accept that he is and ask a different question entirely — is his rap career a money laundering operation, or did he become a successful rapper first and then use the proceeds to flip bricks? I don’t even know dawg. Either way this review isn’t knocking Mr. Katsabanis for his hustle. Here’s what I will knock — his delivery is a bit wooden, and over the 34 minutes of “Married to the Bricks” that factors into how listenable songs about the same topics are. If he had more inflection, more variety in his pitch, hell if he even shouted a little now and then it would be easier to get through. Stitches is not a terrible rapper. I’ve heard enough rap in my lifetime to know the difference between great, good, bad and awful. He’s not either of the latter but I still hesitate to say “good” because he’s not someone I can listen to for long stretches of time. In short bursts, he’s fine. At least if he has one song on a mixtape you won’t necessarily have to skip it.

Stitches :: Married to the Bricks
6Overall Score