Arts Desk

The Breaks: This Week in DMV Hip-Hop

In this installation of the Breaks, I offer my thoughts on a Curren$y show at the Howard Theatre, an anticipated Fat Trel remix, a minute of brilliance from Rahiem Supreme and a weekend event you should know about if you don't already. 

Curren$y Entertains His Cult Following
Curren$y’s success is the fruit of his diligence, a dedication to marijuana culture, and a prankster personality that shines through in the New Orleans rapper’s music. Some might assume that a "weed rapper" would be a lethargic performer, but the No Limit Records and Cash Money Records refugee brings an energy to the stage that’s as intense as his love for the green leaf—as long as he’s not too high. Wednesday night's performance was one of the former. currensy

Curren$y’s The Drive In Theatre tour visited the Howard Theatre in support of his most recent project by the same name. Posters for Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters, Brian de Palma’s Scarface, and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part ll adorned the stage as the rapper encouraged the crowd to enjoy themselves, asking the Howard’s security to let attendees smoke weed freely until his set was complete.

Attending a Curren$y concert is always a bit of a gamble because his catalog is so vast. You know what you're guaranteed to hear, but at the same time, who knows what else might come up? Still, he can perform cuts from any of the nearly 30 projects he’s released, and his following will rhyme along in unison. The crowd rejoiced when they heard Covert Coupe’s "Smoke Break," reciting every lyric just as they did when they heard the syrupy saxophone on Pilot Talk II’s "Famous." The fleeting, video game-like sounds of the Training Day-inspired "King Kong" drew excitement from a crowd that wasn’t too stoned to react to it.

Perhaps the night’s biggest surprise was Curren$y’s astonishment when his D.C. following went verse for verse with him on "Elevator Musik" from 2009’s This Ain’t No Mixtape. He also advised the crowd to get high and watch The Karate Kid so as to better understand his "Daniel-san, crane kick" lyric from "Breakfast." Shortly after, he began signing t-shirts, hats, sneakers, and whatever else was shoved in his face while accepting weed donations from generous fans and dropping a joint (he famously does not smoke blunts) in one lucky fan’s hat. Sharing is caring at Curren$y shows—you give a little, and you get a lot in return.

The Remix Everyone Was Waiting For
My first thought upon hearing Fat Trel’s "She Fell in Love" earlier this year was how it practically begged for Rick Ross' vocals.  Sure enough, five months later, Trel’s MMG boss (or "bawse," if you will) has joined him on the song’s remix, along with Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle. Ross adds the MMG polish—a canned, yet refined sound that’s radio-friendly without sacrificing the grandiose dope boy-to-don aesthetic that defines the label (0r, at the very least, Ross' fantasies). He brings maturity, while Trel sounds like a younger, less couth Ross. Despite Hussle's laidback flow, there’s a hint of aggression in his voice that, oddly enough, is perfect for the song. The song—an anthem for every drug-dealer’s girlfriend—will get radio spins, but deserves a visual treatment to aid Trel’s pursuit of national acclaim.

 

A Brief Demonstration of Rahiem Supreme’s Talent
Everyone itching for a quick ‘90s hip-hop fix will love Rahiem Supreme’s "Str8 Butta." For about a minute, the D.C. rapper assaults a minimalist beat produced by Commissioner Gordon. Though it’s brief, it’s reminiscent of impromptu cyphers aboard trains and in alleyways. It’s fodder to generate buzz for his upcoming Lost Gemz project, but it would serve well as an interlude.

 

A Day Party Rooted in Hip-Hop, Better Than the Rest
Rock Creek Social Club, who had the best party in the city for two years running, is shaking up the concept of the day party with the Grilled Cheese Social, a bash where you’ll hear everything from the A Tribe Called Quest’s "Footprints" to AZ’s "Sugar Hill"—both of which scream peak Saturday afternoon enjoyment. If you’re into Jameson, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and sounds that range from Native Tongue classics to the samples they were built upon, this should to be the anchor to your weekend. It all happens at Marvin tomorrow from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m.

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