For two rappers with their sights set on the future, Tuesday's show at Skully's hearkens back to the not-so-distant past.

For two rappers with their sights set on the future, Tuesday's show at Skully's hearkens back to the not-so-distant past.

These days, Sinatra and Searius Add are rappers on the rise, promising young talents with ever-expanding Rolodexes thanks to mixtapes they made with superstar DJs DJ Drama and Mick Boogie, respectively. But back in the spring of 2007, momentum hadn't yet picked up for the MCs.

They met outside Club 161 one night when Searius, already a known quantity in local rap, was passing out fliers for his next hip-hop showcase at the High Five. Sinatra, a fledgling producer looking to throw his hat in the ring as a rapper, was there looking to shake hands and learn faces.

Sinatra hadn't had much luck getting a show, but Searius agreed to tack him on to the beginning of the show he was promoting.

"Basically, he gave me a chance," Sinatra said.

Thus began a close friendship and professional partnership that continues to this day. Searius liked what he saw from Sinatra and continued to include him on the monthly "Gallery Hip-Hop" showcases, where the two honed their stage presence, sometimes for a packed house and sometimes for a devoted handful.

The rappers had those zealous fans in mind when they scheduled Tuesday's joint release party for their pair of new releases. They originally conceived the event as a "semi-private" party for the fans that supported them before anybody else. They've since decided to promote the show to a wider audience, but it remains dedicated to and geared towards those original devotees.

As for the recordings that spawned this event: Sinatra is dropping a "no holds barred" mixtape called Executive Gangster, and he produced most of the beats on Searius' new release Smart is the New Gangsta.

For his follow-up to the DJ Drama-assisted Black Trash Bags, Sinatra has assembled a project he called "raw" and "uncut" - the sort of roughshod variety pack that has become a staple of the hip-hop creative process. Executive Gangster marks the first time he's rapped over pre-existing beats or included skits and freestyles.

Conceptually, Sinatra said "gangster" refers not to a life of crime but a mindset characterized by swagger.

"Gangster is a personality, is an attitude," Sinatra explained. "Some people have it, some people don't."

Searius, meanwhile, is proclaiming a different sort of shift from the traditional tough-guy definition of "gangsta." Smart Is the New Gangsta is about using your business savvy to get a leg up in the game.

"I think most music is analogous to dessert," Searius said. "This is project is definitely dinner. It's real wholesome."

E-mail your local music news to Chris DeVille at cdeville@columbusalive.com