Arts Desk

DMV Beats: Kokayi, Logic, The White Mandingos, SmCity, and Javier Starks

Kokayi’s Grind

Deanwood MC Kokayi is on a roll. On Monday, we learned that Ebony magazine named him, wife Seshat, daughter Phina, and son Dahvi one of the coolest black families in America. Then we learned that Kokayi secured a Sister Cities grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which will fund his D.C. to Senegal project. The project, according to a press release, teams him up with production company Nomadic Wax and the Africulturban Cultural Center in Pikine, Senegal to present workshops on music business and community engagement, among other topics.

But that’s not all of the recent Kokayi news: Yesterday, the artist posted the audio for his track “Le roi” on Soundcloud. If you’ve followed Kokayi for a while, you might have heard this one before: The song was first released in 2009 on Bum Rush The Boards, a mixtape from local nonprofit Words, Beats & Life. —Marcus J. Moore

Again With the Logic

I dunno, I'd argue that it takes some cojones grandes to call your song "Nasty" only a couple of years after this song stomped the earth, but hip-hop has a way of twisting up homage, bullshit, and bravado to the point where they're inseparable, so let's give Logic the benefit of the doubt for now. (All his talk of Jesus and Lazarus and Nazareth is certainly Nas-ish.) One thing is clear, though: The Gaithersburg MC's own "Nasty" falls squarely into the "don't do anything stupid once you've signed to Def Jam" category. In a way, it's probably a nice category to be in. —Joe Warminsky

The White Mandingos

Last month, we told you about The White Mandingos, the newly formed supergroup of Bad Brains founding member Daryl Jenifer, Los Angeles rapper Murs, and Sacha Jenkins SHR, co-founder of hip-hop magazine Ego Trip. The group’s new single, “Black Girl Toof,” ponders the plight of a girl with a rough family history. It’s basically the opposite of the group's punk/hip-hop hybrid "The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me" and its other single, “Mandingo Rally,” which found Murs going apeshit over a Bad Brains sample. The LP drops June 11. — MJM

Sm’s America

In his new video for “American Sahara,” D.C. rapper SmCity took his act to Baltimore. In it, a young protagonist explores a gritty Charm City alley while Sm spits real talk about trying to make it as a minority: “He thinkin’ that he gon’ play for the Chargers/And he prolly gon’ end up facing some charges.” On the hook, veteran duo The Last Poets offer historical takes on the black experience. Vocalist Maimouna Youssef sings softly in the background, though she makes a few cameos, too. —MJM

Javier’s Radio Pitch

On his new album, Javier Starks sounds like he’s gunning for fame. The aggressive rhymes and mainstream sounds on Radio Ready are, well, radio-ready; for 12 tracks—not counting the intro and outro—the Montgomery County MC goes full Top 40. WPGC’s DJ Flexx even shows up to shout some hype. Listen to the whole thing on Spotify.MJM

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