Friday, April 9, 2010

Sid on the History of D.C. Hip-Hop



"When God made me, he made a musical mismatch. My father was into jazz and spirituals and my Mom was raised on country music. So, I was raised listening to everything. When I got older, I was all about go-go. That was all I knew. That was all I wanted to know. In the late 80's, a guy named Zay moved to our neighborhood and started talking about hip-hop music. We weren't trying to hear that because go-go was king. Zay became the manager of a club called the Krib that had a lot of rappers come through. I started hanging out around the club and got exposed to the hip-hop culture. In those days, there were no local hip-hop artists, so all of the music was coming down from New York or Philadelphia. But, eventually D.C. started to produce its own hip-hop in the late 80's. 

"About five years ago, I really got into hip-hop and decided to write a book about its history in D.C. At the time, there were no books and very little research done, so I interviewed a lot of the local artists for my book. While small, D.C. has a rich hip-hop history. The first local hip-hop record to really hit in D.C. was called Stone Cold Hustler by DC Scorpio. I am pretty sure that the go-go band Rare Essence played the music for the track, so it definitely has a D.C. feel to the record. After him, there were other go-go rappers, as they were called, like Stinky Dink and Fat Rodney. The influence of these rappers was tremendous because it showed the ability to cross between these two genres. Still, hip-hop has always been and remains a step child to go-go in D.C..

"As hip-hop developed in D.C., there became two distinct movements.The U Street movement, which were a lot of college kids who hung around Howard University, was centered around Bar None, now Pure Lounge. That place is legendary because it is where a lot of rappers got their start. The U Street movement is very lyrical and melodic.  Then, there is the uptown scene, centered around the Island Cafe. Uptown is more gangster rap, for lack of a better term. The two groups don't overlap that much, except for the open mic nights. 

"D.C. hasn't really broken out on the national hip-hop scene because a lot of the music isn't even hitting in D.C. I say it again, go-go still kills it here. Some people have gotten national attention, though, like Nonchalant, D.C. Scorpio, the Section 8 Mob, Question Mark Asylum, and DJ Kool. Of all of the D.C. rappers, I think that Wale is the really the first to make national moves. I think that 2010 is going to be a great year for D.C. hip-hop. There is a lot of energy and collaboration right now, especially with Obama as President. 

Sidney 'DCSuperSid' Thomas is author of Diamonds in the Raw.

6 comments:

"CK" said...

This iz so true!

DarnGood said...

Excellent article. Congrats Sid! - DarnGood

Publisher said...

Coangrats on the article Sid from Kapital Magazine.

dendproductions said...

Keep doing your thing family! So true!

tthancorecords said...

T.T. Hanco Records presents:
DMV's Got Talent and we're on the rise. The Intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxKhs9_26GI

The movement has started and we can only guess where it will take us. Let's not guess anymore but, do more to take the guess work out of this simple task. DC, it's time to unite.

-Thaddeus T.

Anonymous said...

Matchless topic