Photograph by Phil Adé
Charismatic Silver Spring rapper Phil Adé ended 2011 with #PhilAdeFriday2
, his fourth release of the year and a mixtape that seemed to finally set the stage for Adé to emerge as D.C.’s next great hip-hop export. Then, in 2012: nothing. Finally, last summer, Adé followed
, a project that re-established his position near the top of the local totem pole. It showcased a rapper who, far more than before, could craft radio-friendly tunes without diluting his sound, as in “Xscape,” which leans on a sample from the ’90s R&B group of the same name. Credit the refinement to the right attitude, as usual: Rather than sulking as younger artists make national waves, Adé lets his music do the saber-rattling. His energetic recent take on Pharrell’s “Happy”
is a strong indication he’s in a good place, which means more of the music that’s made him the area’s most versatile rapper should be on the way.