Arts Desk

DMV Beats: Humane, Young Sir, and the Return of the Cornel West Theory

Humane’s Society

Between tuition checks at Hampton University and later Delaware State, 24 year-old Triangle, Va., transplant Sterling Fitzpatrick decided to focus the entirety of his brain power on hip-hop. Mom and dad disapproved. “It’s hard because your parents believe music is worthless,” says Fitzpatrick, known on scattered and promising mp3s as Humane, “It doesn’t help that my brother has a master’s degree.”

I met Humane during an H Street Christmas party and Fitzpatrick was the crazy tall, hilarious dude rolling Phillies in a purposefully grotesque, post-Bill Cosby sweater. His transparent self-marketing strategy is quietly brilliant: Meet people that are into hip-hop music while out and about, and then email them your music hours after recording it for immediate feedback. Make this direct contact email more personal with CCs and not a BCC. “I have a work ethic and I’ll write music all day and there’s nothing you can say to me because I’m not doing anything wrong,” Humane says.

Humane's mixtape, Young, Unheard, and Hungry, is slated for an early April release. This early draft finds him rapping over Drake’s 2008 song, “Cannonball,” making breezy Greg Oden jokes and promising to facilitate the early retirement of his mother. He employs some Caribbean patois and exudes likable ambition, “I can’t wait for the days of paparazzi and interviews," Humane raps. "Orchestras performing all in my interludes.”—Ramon Ramirez

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Young Sir’s Recognition

One thing is clear about Prince George's County's Young Sir: The dude has a knack for rapping deep into the camera, with a determined look in his eye and a confident bounce in his body language. His latest video, for "Eitha Way It Go," is a mix of quasidocumentary party footage and some staged shots in one of those highway overpass cages; whatever the setting, his presence bubbles to the front. The song is from Young Sir's latest mixtape, Da Recognition 2, which came out at the end of December. —Joe Warminsky

New Cornel Theories

The Cornel West Theory, D.C.’s most avant-garde hip-hop collective, is working on its follow up to 2011’s kitchen-sink opus, The Shape of Hip-Hop to Come.

On Wednesday, drummer Sam Lavine tweeted me a link to a 13-minute video overrun with sound snippets of new songs. Ditching the positivity of their more conscious offerings, the band—rappers Tim Hicks, Rashad Dobbins, Yvonne Gilmore, Katrina Starr, Lavine, and all-purpose utility producer John Moon—moves into darker thematic territory with more aggressive samples, heavier bass, layered vocal performances, and blunt lyricism. Think New Danger-era Mos Def.

Coming From the Bottom is billed as a mixtape, and drops March 4. The album art—a naked black woman wielding a machete—may be the project’s most aggressively masculine component.—RR

Judah’s Hot Fire Sale

Prolific DMV producer Judah says he wants his career to"fade to black," but on his way out, he's trying to make a little extra scratch from his digital stockpile. He's set up a website to sell off beats on a first-come, first-served basis; most of them are in the $75 range, and the purchase price includes the original
ProTools files. Judah makes it clear that these are outright purchases ("I DO NOT DO THAT LEASING SHIT!!!!" he says on the site), and buyers are not permitted to resell the beats. As of today, about a half-dozen have already sold, and another half-dozen are still posted, including the retro-futuristic "2020 Flow.” —JW

DMV Reads

Marcus J. Moore is the new music editor at Brooklyn Bodega—congrats dude. His maiden essay details the rise of everyone’s favorite DMV-producer-turned Brooklynite Oddisee. —RR

Photo courtesy Humane.

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