DMV Beats: Doe Cigapom, Fatz Da Big Fella, Kokayi, Jon Laine, Internationally Known, and Phil Adé
Doe, Drew, and XO
Doe Cigapom is tired of bullshit rap. The beginning of his new song, "You Know Who You Are," confirms that: "My influence is y'all niggas that's fake rappin'/Every other bar in ya rhyme, you stay clappin'." It's not an unusual stance for the D.C. expat, whose 2012 EP CagedBirds laid out his straightforward assessments of gentrified D.C. On his new single, Doe and producer Drew Dave reunite for a searing critique of chatty rappers and their limited competence. Doe rips the triumphant beat with Uptown XO as co-captain. Yet Doe doesn't really go in until the second verse: "What's with all the speculation, I had a revelation/I'm down with InnerLoop, is that the new conversation?" "You Know Who You Are" will be on Doe and Drew's forthcoming LP, Life As We Know It, out this year. Listen below. —Marcus J. Moore
Fatz Da Big Fella
Fatz Da Big Fella comes from humble beginnings. He claims that the block he grew up on—near 49th and Quarles streets NE—was the last in the entire city to have sidewalks installed by DDOT. (Ed. note: Just for fun, we're waiting on a fact-check on that from DDOT.) So its only right that "Bossin' Up," the second single from his Heart of a King mixtape, celebrates his newfound prosperity. The piano-driven record, produced by The Directors, takes cues from the indulgent mafioso persona employed by Rick Ross. Fatz recalls his days lurking in "pissy hallways" while evoking the suave stylings of an "organized mob boss." —Harold Stallworth
For the last week, D.C. musician Kokayi has released a new song every day on his Soundcloud page, an idea he says came from a conversation with his wife, Seshat. "She said that I should challenge myself to release a track a day for the year," Kokayi tells Arts Desk. "Because I make a rack of music and have enough for at least 10 more records. I've got like 1,500 finished and unfinished tracks and [I'm] constantly making more." Since 2010, when Kokayi released the stellar Robots & Dinosaurs LP, he's dropped a remix album, an instrumental project dedicated to California's Pacific Coast Highway, and a compilation of old beats. In 2012, under the name CRZS, Pro Deo et Patria riffed on police helicopters and racial injustice. So yeah—he hasn't been twiddling his thumbs.
Some of the "Track a Day" songs were recorded 15 years ago, others much more recently. Like with "Moondrift," for instance: "I made it, liked what was done, and posted it. I wanted it to be in real time and curated to inspire interaction at the now. And I wanted to commit to being that prolific and responsible to set quality music out daily."
Below, stream Kokayi's latest work. —MJM
Give the Drummer Some
It's no secret that drummer Jon Laine loves producer J Dilla. He's dropped two tribute albums, 2007's Apple Jons and 2011's MIV, and serves as bandleader for the annual DC Loves Dilla concerts. Yet his most recent album, GIANT, most resembled Pete Rock's style of production, where the beats are mixed a bit louder than the vocals. So while notable local MCs like Kev Brown, Awthentik, and Kaimbr were featured, Laine was the clear centerpiece. For his quick new single, "Tap the Bullet," Laine spins a rhythmic loop of dim horns and faint bass amid Oddisee's repeated shout-out. It's a free download from his forthcoming instrumental EP, Number 9, out Tuesday. Check it below. —MJM
Doin' It at the Dunes
The Internationally Known series, backed by the Nomadic Wax organization, brought overseas hip-hop sounds to club Tropicalia at 14th and U streets NW, and now there's an offshoot: On Jan. 24, a show called Beats to the Rhyme will emphasize American artists at The Dunes, a multi-use space in Columbia Heights. The headliners are D.C.'s own Poem-Cees, known for their Def Poetry Jam appearances and inventive collaborations like their no-nonsense collaboration with a violinist at the 2011 MLK memorial dedication. Also on the bill: New York-reared Hired Gun; D.C.-based Dumi Right (of the '90s African group Zimbabwe Legit); and D.C.'s DJ RBI, known for, among other things, spinning on WPFW-FM's Ill Street Grooves show. —Joe Warminsky
Phil Adé's South Central Homage
Phil Adé commandeered the beat for Que's "OG Bobby Johnson," the slightly less hostile cousin of Future's "Sh!t." The video, directed by Blakk House Films, is simple, allowing Adé's charisma to take center stage: "I fuck 'em up with the words/Best in the city, nigga fuck what you heard/And I ain't even from it, if we keepin' it a hundred/I'm the first one who ain't give a fuck from the 'burbs." Meanwhile, Adé is keeping the rejuvenation of his career (which began with last summer's R.O.S.E.) going, one South Central reference and video shoot (this Sunday!) at a time. —Julian Kimble