DMV Beats: Adventures in the Dollar Bin, Prinz-D, A Plus, Jay Verze
It's been about six months since Anthony "Gadget" Mims released his first "Adventures in the Dollar Bin" video featuring Grussle in Som Records, and the followup—with the DMV's J Scienide in Joe's Record Paradise—is just as much fun. The premise: a producer buys an unfamiliar record from a dollar bin and makes a beat from it. (If you're not fascinated by watching dudes chop up a sample, get outta here right now.) Scienide grabs a copy of Yes' Tormato, the British prog band's last release of the '70s, and finds a tiny clip to play with. Why is the video 20 minutes long, you might ask? Because Scienide makes a bonus beat with another, much more obscure dollar-bin record—and provides a lesson about why diggers should always stick around till the last song on Side B. —Joe Warminsky
The One Track Mind piece that we published this week about local rapper Prinz-D—who bills himself as The First Deaf Rapper—is worth some bonus material, if only to give the MC a little more room to explain his method. (You can see and hear his evolution as a vocalist from the clips on his YouTube page.) Here's more about how he does his work:
"I used to record without my hearing aids, relying more on the music ... My older records like Southern Comfort and First Deaf Rapper Vol. 1 paled in comparison to the vocal clarity of Vol. 2 because I started listening to my takes a cappella. Me and the engineer would agree on whether or not what I said was clearly understood. ... I have to work extra hard to get a nice clean take. I still muddle the English language due to my natural impediment, but the ultimate goal is to do vocal takes without having to consent with the engineer for clarity approval." —JW
A Plus Exclusives
When we last checked in on A Plus we were searching for "Slim" on the streets of Capitol Hill. Now, he’s letting Arts Desk debut two leaks from his upcoming mixtape, Recess. I don't know of many local artists who can both sing and rap, but he coolly blends the two on "Dance For Me" and "Focused." Driven by the melodic sounds of producer Ceezy and explicit visions of Stadium, the former track plays like every dancer’s dream. The other joint is about focus as it relates to stockpiling optimal bread. Recess is set to drop this spring. ––Dietrich Williams
Hustlin' on These Tweets
In last week's DMV Beats column, I chastised the local hip-hop scene for what I thought was a subpar 2012. There were some decent projects to choose from, but I didn't hear many great ones. So when local rapper rMell tweeted at me that "there are some people you've gotta get hip to in the area," I figured he meant himself, and a download link was forthcoming.
rMell's NEOGEO is an ambitious 13-track collection of spacey electronic hip-hop, on which the young Maryland MC rides the music with Odd Future-like ease, his nonchalant cadence stretching out on top of spacious instrumentals. In a local scene of sometimes overconfident rappers, Mell is assured and easygoing, even when he seeks the spotlight. On "Untitled," he raps: "Imagine being slept on for four whole years/That's a conscious coma filled with potent nightmares." His track "Her Ghost" is a sugary pop tune that works alongside the album's hazier tracks.
Overall, NEOGEO is an impressive debut for rMell. Though some of the songs drag on too long ("Settle Down," "Raybans"), the album demonstrates Mell's potential as a noteworthy rapper and producer. He rhymes at a comfortable pace, allowing the music to take center stage when needed. This is one time I'm happy I didn't ignore an unsolicited tweet. —Marcus J. Moore
Baltimore County Love
Seventeen year-old young gun Jay Verze hails from Baltimore County, not Baltimore City, and released his latest single
"David Ruffin" this week. As he recently told Undaground Radar, "[Baltimore County] is different from what people think. There's calm vibes. I observe—I'm not out in the streets but I can see what goes on."
Lanky Verze has a sort of soft, raspy flow that blends well with his teen-idol vibes—think a nascent Wiz Khalifa that's less obnoxious/into weed. On last year's promising 21117 mixtape (his zip code), he trotted out glossy synths, melodic hooks, and pre-AP English verses.
"Ruffin" is a re-introduction and a manifesto of sorts that outlines his grind and pays homage to friends. The beat sounds like something from an '80s cop show, and the hook is post-Screw sauce. Mostly fire. —Ramon Ramirez