Arts Desk

DMV Beats: Topdolla Sweizy, Obii Say, S.O.S., Damien, Redhead

Ciroc Bottom

Initially, Topdolla Sweizy is an off-putting presence on the mic. He belts trivialities about finance and Donald Trump, and pushes every high-roller cliché as far as it can go. But on “Too Much," from his new Bottles and Bitches mixtape, he screams about Molly, Ciroc, and Patron, loses the façade, and delivers the tape's most honest moment: “Damn, I’m too fucked up. I can’t drive home.” It comes across like a dejected, sad-face-emoticon text message, and it's delivered with a droning, dastardly Auto-tune croon. Meanwhile, his stripper shout-outs are downright sweet: “I love the way your ass move, you really bad with them tattoos.” Aw.  —Ramon Ramirez

Better Rhyming Through Chemistry

It's been a year since rapper Obii Say dropped his Donuts for the Villagers mixtape, which sampled heavily from the late J-Dilla's recognizable catalog. Maybe that's why the tape just kinda came and went: His flow took a backseat to Dilla's head-nodding drums and rolling chords. Last Tuesday, Obii released "Plastic," and the new release finds him sounding anything but artificial. Over AB the Pro's nocturnal blend of floating keys and driving percussion, the rapper shines a light on the pathways to violence: "I'm on the curb with a killer/Ten years before he becomes a killer." Think Lupe before he got all preachy and self-righteous. —Marcus J. Moore

Cognac In the Trap

The digital trail doesn't turn up much hard data about DMV rapper S.O.S., but he apparently has an upcoming mixtape, C.K.T.S. (as in, "Can't Knock the Swag"), and he's associated with Dungie Music, which appears to be run by a Bowie State grad named Steve "Hazmat" Fultz, who is also a rapper. FACTS: S.O.S. squarely fits into the cohort of individuals who prefer cognac and make traprap. It is possible that he also enjoys egg nog. —Joe Warminsky

Man on the Street

It’s tough sledding for everyman R&B singers. Three of the year’s best national albums—from Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Miguel—are smooth, creative-class works that tell stories, expand the artists' already established repertoire, and instantly date Ne-Yo’s fedora pickup lines by seamlessly blending love with, say, human rights. But the latest from talented R&B singer DamienLost Panic, may be a sign that everyman R&B isn't out of ideas. His tracks play like inspired dorm-room diary entries, and his triumvirate of regional producers—2nd2none, Kloud Nine Music, and Fortune—furnish the radio-lite beats with sufficient innovation to keep things interesting. Check out the album and snag it for free. —RR

Weight Bearing Exercises

It seems Redhead has a lot on his mind. In his delerious new video for "Baggage," the FarExp member uses distorted voices, blurred images, and yes, Good Will Hunting to tell a dark story of marriage, child-rearing, and adultery. Heavy. —MJM

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