Arts Desk

DMV Beats: Visto, SmCity, Laelo, SK

Visto's Vibe

The beginning of Visto's new video is smooth, comedic, and pimpin' at the same time. A white Jaguar pulls up on H Street NE. The driver opens the rear passenger door, and the rapper steps out in paisley-print board shorts, brown boots, and a bow tie. His wardrobe doesn't match his ride. There’s a similar contrast between the track’s title and its vibe: Called "How That Pxssy Taste," Visto’s single seems like it’s going to be a foul rap ode to oral sex. Instead, it's a slightly more subtle R&B track—though the chorus doesn’t mince words, and neither does the NC-17 verse from rapper Phil Da Phuture. This is a seedy slow burner that sounds made for Saturday nights at Stadium. —Marcus J. Moore

SmCity's Love and Hate

Wale's "LoveHate Thing," from his new album The Gifted, went heavy on the hater motif. "They gon' love you a lil' different when you at the top," the rapper proclaimed. This week, fellow D.C. native SmCity took the Wale instrumental, flipped the title to "Hate Love Thing," and vented his own set of frustrations: "Sometimes I wanna save the city, sometimes I'd rather be Bane/Burn this motherfucker down and rise from the flames." At song's end, Sm says he's bringing back his Indie Life Concert Series, which allows local rappers to open for established national rappers like Black Milk and Freeway. This time, the series is going to New York, he says. —MJM

Living Life

Laelo sounds more relaxed than ever. That might be ‘cause he likes to smoke—and you hear the inhale at the beginning of his new song, "Living My Life." His new track sounds like a breezy tribute to West Coast hip-hop: lush wah-wah sounds and a smooth groove. Though he's bragging about how great his life is, he does so with a confident ease not found on his previous work. It's the latest single from his forthcoming LP, Lifers Never Die, out in July. —MJM

SK Flexes his M.O.J.O

Virginia artist SK blew some fresh air into the column this week. The rapper, producer, and songwriter delivered a simple, crisp new video for “M.O.J.O” from his promising Rock N’ Roll Voodoo mixtape. Like the rest of the project, "M.O.J.O" is produced by SK, who easily rides an infectious beat heavy with 808s. The song begins with a horn-heavy sample over synths; there’s also another sample in the background that’s reminiscent of an old BET commercial. SK opens the song aggressively: "Now I ain’t never been a coke dealer/But that don’t mean I ain’t never peddled dope, nigga/Between them black and white keys I found hope, nigga." —Julian Kimble

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