Arts Desk

DMV Beats: The Print Edition

For the uninitiated, the D.C. area hip-hop social media landscape is damn near impossible to navigate. If you don’t know where to start, it’s easy to get lost in an onslaught of inscrutable, hyperactive tweets, mixtape drops, and video debuts that clog up RSS readers and Twitter clients like errant hairs in an already overstuffed media pipeline.

So that’s why City Paper’s arts blog, Arts Desk, recently debuted DMV Beats, a semiregular column dedicated to separating the wheat from the chaff in D.C.-area hip-hop. Here, take a look at what DMV Beats’ Ramon Ramirez has been listening to over the last couple of weeks, and let his pointers serve as a guide to a gloriously oversaturated local music market. (Ally Schweitzer)

See the newsprint version of this column after the jump. Because Wale's newest track debuted after press time, we weren't able to include it in the paper, but you can listen to it below.

Wale, "Freedom of Speech"

Earlier this week, Wale milked the Twitter hype machine for all it was worth, promising to drop a big announcement Thursday at 5 p.m. He didn't disappoint: On schedule, D.C.'s best-known rapper announced the release of this pretty damn good track and a new mixtape planned for Dec. 24. Unabashedly political, "Freedom of Speech" celebrates President Barack Obama's election-night victory and samples heavily from Willie Hutch's 1973 hit from The Mack soundtrack, "Brother's Gonna Work It Out." (AS)

F.A.M.E., “Uneven Bars”

D.C.-born rapper F.A.M.E.(the acronym stands for Finally Achieving My Excellence) just put out the first single from his upcoming project 2 Busy Dreamin’, and it’s a smooth jolt of fast flow. Think Talib Kweli patterns without the professorial condescension and more street swag. (Ramon Ramirez)

Soncier, “SpeakA BlowA”

Another quietly excellent, would-be anthem recorded on Georgia Avenue NW at Listen Vision Studios.

Boosa Da Shoota, “Bout to Blow”

The most talented member of Fat Trel’s Slutty Boyz clique releases rap’s one-millionth song titled “Bout to Blow.” Warning: video is NSFW.

Locke Kaushal, “Blu Sky Part II”

The kingmakers at 93.9 WKYS FM recently shined a light on Kaushal’s “Blu Sky” track from June. On it, the MC raps like Lupe Fiasco circa Food & Liquor and samples the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind score like it’s 2005. Below, check out the superior “Blu Sky Part II.”

DMV: The Dream Team Vol. 1

I applaud obscure Dat Piff member General Kamau for bringing us DMV: The Dream Team Vol. 1—essentially a fan-made “Best of D.C.” playlist that brings together workmanlike area rappers I’ve never heard of (Tef Wesley, CWilds, O’Key Santarosa) and brand-name dudes (Fat Trel, Javier Starks). The result is surprisingly delectable.

Where to hear it:

Download Mixtape | Free Mixtapes Powered by

DMV Beats

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Nikki

    I absolutely love F.A.M.E.'s music!!! As a fan, I'm excited to see that his music is reaching the ears of new people. Continue to follow his music - you won't be disappointed.

  • Chris

    F.A.M.E = hip hop.enough said

  • Omar

    F.A.M.E. is definitely a breathe of fresh air for emerging artists in thr DMV area. I really cant wait for the tape to drop. I was really liking the new Wale track too.

  • Kevin R.

    Not a matter of "if", rather a matter of "when" the world hears what F.A.M.E. has to say.. Ahead of his time, his music is like being read a story with the vivid visuals he paints with his words. By the end of each of his tracks, it's like you've relived his experiences right along with him & you feel what he feels. Pay attention people, the future of hip hop (F.A.M.E.) is right in front of our eyes.

  • JJ

    I mess wit that FAME joint the most!!!!!! DMV comin up

  • Dude

    Wale song was amazing but he's old news I think Fame go next dude. Like seriously he is gnarly duuuude

  • Sheed

    F.A.M.E is one of the most consistent artists out, pay Attention!

  • Scoe

    That man FAME is the truth,that new young energy we need out here!

  • Trish R.

    F.A.M.E. is a prime example of keeping talent and depth alive in hip hop. I'm excited to witness his growth and inspiration on his way up!

  • http://@Mister_Kool Mister_Kool

    F.A.M.E is an AMAZING artist! His lyrical talent is elite and he will be among the greatest rappers very soon. Not only will he set a trend for rap music in the DMV he will be a trensdetter throughout the Nation!! Good work Bro!

  • B Powell

    That FAME joint is fire... Looks like the people want more.

  • Tina

    F.A.M.E. is a truly a talented artist and I can't wait for the world to hear what is up next from him. I have watched and listened to him grow and evolve as an artist and all I can say is "Wow". With every song he takes you on a lyrical ride that you never want to end. A breath of fresh air and a true representation of what hip hop is really about. Keep your eyes and ears open for F.A.M.E.

  • Sahar

    Huge supporter of F.A.M.E. and I can't wait til his project comes out!!!

  • Dubai

    "Most these n*%#@s don't believe in God. What makes it worse is that ain't even odd" - F.A.M.E

  • Ryan Robinson

    I tried to tell ya'll the homie FAME is something nice. I'm glad we had the opportunity to work with such a talented artist & I'm telling ya'll now: "Watch out for the project!!! It's going to be epic."

    Check us out too, as we plan to do more work with FAME in the near future --

  • Jewels Kennedy

    I've been a F.A.M.E fan since day one. I love his music and I can't wait to hear more!!!!

  • F.A.M.E.

    I am so GRATEFUL for my supporters, y'all are my family. I appreciate each and every one of you individually! I have so much in store for the world, and it's all starting with you guys. Endless APPRECIATION and LOVE! 2 Busy Dreamin', coming 2 soon. Keep up with me --> (@fameishiphop)

    Also, my latest release, the title track "2 Busy Dreamin'", off my upcoming project can be heard HERE -->

  • F.A.M.E.

    Also, to Ramon Ramirez, Ally Schweitzer (CPARTS)& WCP, my appreciation can't be expressed enough through words. I was more than thankful to find out on Thanksgiving, about being in the print by a family member who grabbed a paper when it published. I had no idea. Truly a gift. SALUTE to you all, it has definitely made my last few days. ENDLESS APPRECIATION.

    - F.A.M.E.

  • JonnyLogic

    F.A.M.E. is a phenomenal artist. His rhymes are captivating, his ability to be witty n clever while maintaining an intelligent and purposeful flow are talents lacking in alot of the current new comers on the hip hop scene. I'm anxious to here more from him and am eagerly waiting for the release of his album. He gives the game what it needs to survive, reality mixed with an edgy swagger. You can't help but to love it. Talent speaks for itself. Forever a fan!

  • Dubai

    "Most these n*%*@s don't believe in god. What makes it worse is that ain't even odd" - F.A.M.E

  • War

    F.A.M.E. "uneven bars" is a awesome track with a great visual. He is needed right now with so much meanlngless garbage out. Can't wait to hear more.

  • RiRi

    I'm so glad FAME is finally getting the recognition he deserves. His music is authentic and a breath of fresh air amidst the low quality (even lower content) garbage disguising itself as real music. FAME is just what this industry needs. FAME is Hip Hop.

  • Danny

    F.A.M.E. is an amazing rapper. His music is filled with his personality, his heart, and his soul. His lyrical content is thought provoking and I think he has what the industry is missing. He exudes all the elements of hip hop, and his music is just what we need! I'm eager to hear more.

  • DJ Nose

    Every comment was re: F.A.M.E.
    They right though!