Arts Desk

DMV Beats: Logic, Sean Born and Dunc, Sheezy Beatz, Lyriciss, Gods’Illa, and Rock Creek Social Club

Logic, On and On

"Bitches they only care 'bout the flow," raps Def Jam MC Logic during the chorus of the harp-accented "Two Kings," a new track featuring Cleveland's King Chip up on Soundcloud. And, really, the song is more about flow than anything else; the only linguistically noteworthy moment might be his use of culero near the end. The Gaithersburg-reared rapper is out on The Cud Life Tour, which doesn't stop in D.C. Everybody from that tour (Kid Cudi, Tyler, Big Sean, and Logic himself), however, is part of the Sept. 28 lineup for the Rock the Bells festival at RFK Stadium. —Joe Warminsky

Local and Organic

SeanDuncSean Born loves Wu-Tang Clan. Released last year, his stellar Behind the Scale evoked the crew's gritty street tales, brassy samples, and grainy drum loops. Organic, Born's new collaborative EP with DTMD producer Dunc, trades in fluid rhymes and percussive soul, nodding to the Wu and a seamless blend of 1990s hip-hop.

Organic feels more like a Low Budget crew compilation than anything else. Of the EP's seven tracks, Kaimbr appears twice—on standouts "PG County Sound" and "Work it Out." Toine delivers an impressively introspective verse on "Rio" and Low Budget leader Kev Brown offers a rare but insightful rhyme on "Bravo": "Passport stamped up from 10 years of doin' it/Got my whole crew in it/Wrote the verse, Dunc flew wit it/Now you cruisin' wit it/Months go by sometimes to make three minutes of music." Listen below, and check out Born and Dunc's blaxploitation inspired video for "Work it Out." —Marcus J. Moore

Sheezy's Beats

On Sheezy Beatz' first Pillow Talk beat tape, he commands you to "stop sleepin'." It's an odd request given the project's title. From there, Sheezy saturates the tape with foggy electro-pop and relaxed R&B grooves. For Pillow Talk 2, Sheezy opts for straightforward EDM, lending the tape a bouncy yet mechanical vibe. He kicks up the BPM for a sound that's rooted in hip-hop but geared toward the dance hall. Sheezy's use of tribal drums and layered percussion show that he's grown as a producer since his last project. So yeah, stop all that sleepin'. —MJM

"Shit's Real In Forestville," and Other Maryland Facts

The hometown anthem has been a hip-hop staple since the 1980s (see MC Shan’s "The Bridge" vs. Boogie Down Productions’ "South Bronx," kids). Jay-Z penned his ode to Brooklyn’s Marcy projects on 1997’s "Where I’m From," and Nas brought together MC Shan and a myriad of Queensbridge rappers to revisit the Bridge on "Da Bridge 2001." Lyriciss and Pro’Verb went a step further with "Maryland," crafting a psalm for the entire state.

The video, directed by Lyriciss and Matt Sugawara, finds the duo in various locations that everyone "living just 10 minutes from D.C." might recognize: New Carrollton, Goodie’s Carryout, and FedExField. Lyriciss drops numerous Maryland references like "Shit’s real in Forestville/Peace to the whole Creek/Riverdale give ‘em hell/New Carrollton knows me," and even shouts out Baltimore ("Peace to B-More/DMV is the home, though"). The ever-engaging Pro’Verb comes out of the gate firing: "Like the wizard, nigga/Ain’t no magic, they should kill for you for switchin’, nigga/I’m in the paint for my county on my pivot, nigga," or "Home of the Terrapins/Why you think I got this terror pen, forever in?"

If you're a lyrics enthusiast, the song and accompanying video is like the rap-nerd equivalent of Sportscenter. "Maryland" can be found on Lyriciss’ new album, The Balance, which is due out Oct. 29. —Julian Kimble

Truth Talks About the Mobb

The DMV's estimable Gods'Illa is one of the opening acts for Mobb Deep's Sept. 26 show at Liv, as part of the Queensbridge, N.Y., duo's 20th anniversary tour. It's not a completely intuitive pairing, considering Gods'Illa's inclination toward political and spiritual consciousness and Mobb Deep's rep as one of the greatest street-rap groups ever. But as hard as Mobb Deep was in its heyday, the duo of Prodigy and Havoc never dwelled in an artistic bubble. I asked Truth of Gods'Illa to riff a little bit on the New Yorkers' 1995 classic, The Infamous, which contained the signature track "Shook Ones, Pt. II" and featured prominent appearances by Nas, Raekwon and Q-Tip, among others. Here's some of what he sent back:

Along with Ready To Die, Illmatic and Enter The Wu, Mobb Deep's sophomore offering The Infamous reigns supreme for ANY hip hop head from the mid-90's era. They were the go-to duo for street-core lyricism and hard beats of rap's last golden period. The album was filled with jam after jam ... Just as entertaining as the music on the album was Prodigy's tough talking interlude warning fellow (spaced-out/weed smoking) rappers that he was about to return to a high school state of mind (translation: he's gonna punch people in the face for living). ... This album still gives listeners a nostalgic feeling of the good times in hip hop, when rap was not friendly for the sake of being friendly, over-sexed, over-hyped, or under-lyrical (if that makes sense).

Yup, that makes sense. You can hear the influence of that boom-bap directness on Gods'Illa tracks such as "Glaciers" and "Sal's Pizzeria."JW

Rock Creek Social Club

Just a few months after ending its successful Goodlife Tuesdays parties, local creative think tank Rock Creek Social Club traveled to SXSW to soak up some ideas—and its latest venture suggests they learned a couple of things. On Sept. 6, the crew provided the music for the Heineken Mural Project launch at the Blind Whino Arts Club, an exotically painted former church in Southwest. That was a prelude to F.A.M.E.—Fashion, Arts, Music & Entertainment—a weekly residency where they'll showcase what they consider D.C.'s best in each category. The official kick-off was last week, and tonight they'll welcome Visto, Nike Nando (who just dropped an EP titled Fear the Turtle), and Uptown XO. Check the flier. —JK

Due to a reporting error, the original version of this blog post incorrectly attributed a quotation to Ace of Gods'illa. The quote came from his brother and musical partner, Truth. The post has been corrected.

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