Arts Desk

Head-Roc’s Mouth: D.C. Hip-Hop Rock Star Recommendations

An occasional feature in which esteemed D.C. rapper Head-Roc shares what’s on his mind.

On Facebook, I’ve been in a somewhat intense discussion with D.C. luminary DJ RBI, of WPFW’s Monday night “Ill Street Grooves” show, about the support D.C. hip-hop music veterans and superstars receive from the DMV's club and on-air-DJ community.

I plaster my personal Head-Roc FB wall with my opinions from time to time, and what I have been saying about how there are too many outsider and opportunists in control of our music scene has gotten a fair bit of attention. In particular, what caught my brother RBI’s eye was the following post:

Way too many bamas in control of our music scene. Cats aint promoting dc hip-hop right.

Selling us out by giving preference and deference to wack shit.

RBI responded with a position and suggestion that I use my influence to promote a mixtape, in which I would feature D.C. hip-hop that I think should be better promoted to local consumers. I think his is a good suggestion. That said…

My counter-argument is that it's the  local DJs in positions of power and influence who should do just what he is suggesting that I do: put out a mixtape of D.C. hip-hop’s best and brightest. To put it mildly, we are still involved in the discussion.

But something has come out of our discussions that I want to share with the D.C. music community. Also with his response, DJ RBI put together a suggested list of D.C. hip-hop powerhouses to be featured on the mixtape he suggested I produce. It’s a list that I cannot argue with one bit—except to say that I wish he, being a monster of a DJ and 20-year fixture on the scene, would go ahead and put together the project. I certainly would back the effort 100 percent.

So, the following represent Chocolate City’s finest in the art of rhythm and rhyme. I highly recommend, if you love or are interested in experiencing the real flavor of D.C., Maryland, and Virgina hip-hop, that you spend some time looking each of these artists up online. Most have Facebook, MySpace, Reverb Nation, or their own websites. If they have product for sale, purchase it so they can eat from the fruit of their labor. If they have a mailing list, sign up to keep abreast of their activities. If they have shows, go see them rock the house live and direct.

The list, as compiled by DJ RBI and fully endorsed by Yours Truly is as follows:

  • Gods'Illa
  • Asheru
  • PoemCees
  • The Package
  • Pro'Verb
  • K-Beta
  • Diamond District
  • Kokayi
  • Dirty Water
  • Lyriciss
  • Enoch 7th Prophet
  • Ra The MC
  • Hueman Prophets
  • Laelo Hood

Take note how, in this first draft, no artist or groups that are commercially considered the ones hip-hop lovers need to check for, are listed.

Now, who in our D.C. hip-hop community do you think is worthy of energy and economic patronage to help them continue to create their art? Who would you add to this list?

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  • Bear Witnez

    Hmmm, good question...

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  • Afrofusion

    You forgot, or don't know about, live hip hop band Mello-D & the Rados. DP of the POEMCEES actually plays in that band.

  • Head-Roc

    Of Course! Mello-D is a DC Hip-Hop Legend! Though not seen in this first round, He is most definitely on "The List"!

    Who Else?


  • Enoch

    I #Salute the persons on this list...

  • Truth of Gods’Illa

    Stay Tuned...UAU Music & Innerloop Records presents "Metro Center" as announced at October's "Beatdown"

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Do the PoemCees & Hueman prophets still exist?

  • Armani

    phredDIAMOND @phredDIAMOND look at them

  • I-So

    Reppin' The City Pretty Well!

  • Alberto

    Is this a list for a mixtape or of artists most DC heads have never heard of? Not alot of diversity in artists, perspective and skill level. You got some 101 level artists with some 300 level artists sprinkled with some has beens. It just goes to show you we are so deprived here in DC a self-proclaimed "expert" comes up with a short list of MC's and it's not even tantalizing. I challenge all these artists, DJ's and hanger-ons to make the compilation, mixtape and see how it does. Even if it didn't do well the point is to get it done. Here in DC we have the worst Hip-Hop work ethic. Bammas aint working hard enough trust me.

  • RBeez

    Wow, I hadn't really examined how our convo had unraveled on the web post-FB. FYI: I made this suggested list to Head-Roc based on artists I'd seen him personally endorse, making it practical for him to move ahead with putting HIS stamp on it for those people who check for his opinion and trust his influence.

    I have enjoyed work from everyone on the list, and I definitely support them all on general principle of artistry. But there's a vast amount of artists that I left out that I also regularly put in the mix when I rock. This list was based on the synergy that a Head-Roc would endorse.

    @Alberto, wow. Your comments are a bit comical and somewhat disrespectful. Its your truth I guess, but let em ask: what the hell do you do out here on this scene? What credentials qualify you to speak on anything that was covered in Head-Roc's article? Has-beens? 101s & 300s? Lack of diversity? Lol. How do you measure the worth of art beyond the product itself (songs, performance)? If Kane drops "Daddy's Home" and it flops, does that negate the classic status of "Long Live The Kane"? DJs will select the dope stuff and keep it moving. Also, just because you haven't heard it doesn't make it of less value. That's the point of exposing it. Now you've heard of 'em.

    PEACE .....