Arts Desk

DMV Beats: M1 Platoon, Alli the Abstract, Fly Rebel Society, and The Other Guys

The Return of M1 Platoon

Four-man crew M1 Platoon released its project Rippin They Sh*t 2 earlier this month. The group has been putting out music since its origins on the campus of North Carolina Central University and got a big push—and guidance—from another former NCCU student: producer-turned-Duke University professor 9th Wonder. After some time off, Vaughn Garcia, Scoopay, Sean D., and Chopps return with a 18-track album where they attack classic instrumentals, more recent yet still-familiar beats, and original production.

On “The 90s,” the group offers a combination of fond and dark memories of the decade over the beat from Ill Al Skratch’s “Where My Homiez? (Come Around My Way).” “24 Hour Power” is a syrupy ode to vice-fueled sexcapades, and the MCs float away on the hypnotic, too-short “Brown Cup n Strong.” They save the best for the last, as the “The Motto (M1P Everything)” closes the project with a Houston-inspired sound that sounds built to be bumped from a car stereo at ignorant levels. —Julian Kimble

Alli the Abstract's Low-Budget Special Effects

Alli the Abstract is all about details. In his video for “Hypocritic Christian,” the young Maryland rapper shows that he puts as much thought into his visuals as he does his lyrics—but the clip is simple. It’s mostly Abstract in front of a camera, laden with effects at some random locations. Lyrically, he comes out firing: “How you figure I skated by?/I’m nowhere near eight figures, figure eight/Greatest grammatical error, mom’s period was late in the sentence...” Oh, and there’s an impromptu dance segment inspired by Kanye West’s “Runaway” video. Does it trump the ballerinas? You be the judge. Look out for his mixtape The Middle Class Album, which is due out next month. —JK

Stay Fly

Fly Rebel Society's new mixtape, The FRESH Effect, begins with a triumphant procession of blaring horns (or wrestler Ric Flair's theme song if you're familiar). From there, the group's five members—Lega-c, Ryda Blak, Cooley, TeeJay, and godlyMC—spit with youthful dexterity. The relative rookies rely too heavily on bragging rhymes; they claim to rap the best, pull the flyest ladies, and look the best doing it. Yet, there's still something refreshing about FRESH Effect, even if the subjects tread familiar ground. Maybe it’s the music, bright and bombastic, which boosts the tape's playback potential. Though Fly Rebel Society is still on the upswing, The FRESH Effect proves the group is worth your attention. Listen below. —Marcus J. Moore

The Other Guys' Week Off

Earlier this year, The Other Guys took a week off from their day jobs to do some crate digging. That's probably why their new EP is called The Week, and its 10 tracks are named after different weekdays. The intro, “Monday,” features Tanya Morgan MC Von Pea (who's no stranger to performing dope album intros). On "Tuesday," The Other Guys pay homage to J Dilla with head-nodding drums and interview clips from the iconic producer. "Thursday Night" is a nocturnal mix of infrequent guitar loops and piano keys. Sounds like they made the most of their time off. —MJM

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