DMV Beats: Mullyman’s Ravens Anthem, Ace the Artist, Beat Tape Projects
The Baltimore Ravens have some issues. They were the Cleveland Browns until 1996, so the Midwest grapples with their very existence. Catch them live, and you’ll see a franchise that revels in its bad-guy persona: only the bruising defensive players get player intros; you’ll hear three straight Rick Ross tracks and then Metallica during pregame warm ups; and in one in-game montage, star linebacker Terrell Suggs shoots lasers out of his eyes.
I caught the Ravens twice this season—both times as a visiting fan—and fell in love. One of the NFL’s least influential teams has a football sanctuary. Their fans cheer, seemingly unfettered by the hateful bile of other teams' fans (see: Eagles, Pigskins). Games take place in the team's actual city, and not a low-rent parking lot 20 miles away. These Ravens serve as a metaphor for Baltimore's plight: take John Harbaugh’s everyman coaching; Ray Rice, the all-purpose repairman who can keep the chains moving with duct tape; its aged, ironmen defensive stalwarts and how they reportedly aren’t afraid to cut corners to keep food on the table. DMV Beats’ highly scientific algorithm predicts a 27-19 Ravens victory this weekend in Super Bowl XLVII.
Mullyman will be cheering hard. This week, the Baltimore rapper released “Purple Reign,” a Prince-sampling anthem for his hometown team. The song is structurally similar to Lil Wayne’s “A Milli”—-the sample is two words looped ad infinitum, and they’re laid out over drummer-boy snares. There are no hooks, just cute football puns and hashtag rap punchlines: "I got bills like Buffalo"; "Speaking of quarterbacks #Shotgun"; "First hater to cross me? He’ll be first first down"; "Imma ride West #Cowboys"; "Even in your city I got homefield advantage." —Ramon Ramirez
Ace and the Artists
There aren't any stunning economic insights on Ace the Artist's new single "La La La," the beat by producer J. Rob is too shrieky-techno for my taste, and the presence of D ‘General on the chorus is a comme ci comme ça kind of thing. But the song has a real hook, and when it comes to getting money, hooks matter. When Ace says "la la la," the delivery has a universal brand of attitude, the kind that sells in Senegal or Hong Kong or wherever rap tracks are part of the pop life. —Joe Warminsky
Open Call for Beatmakers
Last week, DMV Beats reported that experimental rap rebels The Cornel West Theory have a new mixtape, Coming From The Bottom, slated for March 4. This week, the band released a clip for “The Art of Hunger,” a standout song from 2011’s Shape of Hip-Hop to Come. Directed by drummer Sam Lavine, the video is a performance-based reel that highlights three of the band’s four vocalists as the three perform like coffee-shop poets. The song, full of paranoid, free-association raps about exhaling through the ozone, is worth revisiting. –RR
Wale's Instagram guide to winter sports. [MTV Hive]
Marcus J. Moore on the new Uptown X.O. release. [Arts Desk]