The Breaks: This Week in DMV Hip-Hop
The breakbeat is hip-hop’s backbone—and this new column, The Breaks, aims to be the backbone of the DMV hip-hop scene across the board. This week’s edition includes the first leak from Nike Nando’s new project, Logic’s trip to Sway in the Morning, more insight from Mannie Fresh’s NPR visit, and Mobb Deep’s D.C. show tonight. As Kurtis Blow famously said, these are the breaks.
Nike Nando’s Glow
Nike Nando, PG County’s diligent lord of the underground, released, "Glow," the first single from his upcoming ICON: Lord of the Flyy project. It’s perfectly titled, as Drew Beats’ production evokes the laid-back haze of a lazy, late-June afternoon. In the song’s opening seconds, Nando says he wants to play ‘90s arcade classic Street Fighter ll when he’s finished recording, but "Glow" is more reminiscent of Nintendo racing staple Cruis’n USA, perfect for cruising through the suburbs and city blocks with the top down. Look out for ICON: Lord of the Flyy on June 13.
Logic Visits Sway in the Morning
Logic was baptized by hip-hop fire this week when he visited legendary journalist and radio personality Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show, Sway in the Morning. Like all of Sway's guests, Logic was asked to prove his lyrical dexterity though the 5 Fingers of Death freestyle. He went for a good three minutes, gliding over classic instrumentals like Gang Starr’s "Mass Appeal" and "Full Clip," as well as "Boom" by Royce da 5’9".
Logic also spoke in detail about his background, specifically his rough upbringing in Gaithersburg, Md. He offered some insight into his struggles with using the n-word: Though he is biracial and grew up in an African-American household, he says, he looks "white." His explanation showed both self-awareness and maturity.
More from Mannie Fresh's NPR’s Microphone Check Visit
As Marcus J. Moore reported earlier this week, legendary producer Mannie Fresh was in town to record a live taping of NPR’s Microphone Check with journalist Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest. The biggest revelation, aside from the fact that he’s created so much music that he has no idea how many albums he’s recorded, is that his most positive challenge as a producer was recording Tha Carter with Lil Wayne. Released a decade ago this June, he said it was the turning point in his career, the album he's proudest to have contributed to. Though he admitted to being largely uninterested in today’s music scene, he said he’s working with Wayne again on his upcoming Tha Carter V album. Everyone still in awe of "Go DJ" 10 years later can go right ahead and get excited.
While Fresh's collection of improvised, bounce beat-remixed classic songs was amazing, he didn’t have anything go-go-related on his iPad, though he’s certainly capable of creating something memorable and germane to the DMV area. Below is his take on Earth, Wind & Fire’s "September," which would destroy parties this summer if he released it officially.
Mobb Deep at the Howard Theatre
In celebration of its ominous 1995 album, The Infamous, Mobb Deep will perform at the Howard Theatre tonight. The album’s defining song, "Shook Ones Pt. ll," achieved iconic status long before it appeared in 8 Mile’s opening scene. Havoc and Prodigy’s performance of that song will without question be the highlight of the show. The concert starts at 9 p.m. and tickets, which are $30, can be purchased here.