Weekly DC Bullets: April Fools

Wednesday 4.1.09

  • "Equal Footing" Concert, Capitol Building 1st St 5:30 PM: Tabi Bonney, a native of the Republic of Togo, West Africa, now calls DC and LA home. In an effort to attract more locals, particularly youth, to the campaign for DC's statehood Tabi and other local artists such as grammy nominated Kyonte and Rasi Caprice will come together to perform on the steps of the Capital. Tabi's take on the rise in political interest:
[The political interest] It started, I would say with the Clintons, you saw little inklings of it, but definitely since the whole [Barack] Obama movement... you just see the movement of younger people carrying it and feeling that it’s something important, that we can all indeed make a difference
The Concert is free and serves an important cause; DC's lack of representation in Congress remains a salient issue among residents of the nation's capital. Growing up, one of Tabi's dreams was to showcase his hometown of Lome, Togo in a video. Check out the video for "Cool and Fly" below to see the results of his vision coming true.

Tabi reppin' DC in "Beat Rock."

Beat Rock from tabi Bonney on Vimeo.

  • Critically acclaimed Oakland duo Blu & Exile rock Liv Nightclub's stage. Doors Open at 9:30 Pm, $15

Thursday 4.2.09

  • "Engage" hip hop festival kicks off at Asylum with a "Cakes and Kises" show featuring The Five One, RAtheMC and Lyriciss. 9 PM FREE
Friday 4.3.09

  • "Engage" festival's 2nd event consists of a freestyle at Chief Ike's in Adams Morgan 8 PM Free
Saturday 4.4.09
  • Hip Hop Cinema 2-5 PM at The Historical Society of DC, located on K St, NW btwn 7th and 9th Sts solSource Group and DC's Historical Socity bring you the 4th round of their increasingly popular Hip Hop Cinema series.This weekend's segment presents Bomb It, a documentary that explores the ever controversial graffiti art form. The trailer, which you can view below, has me stoked.


Sat Night Feel Good: Hiero Smoothness

A jazzy classic courtesy of Souls of Mischief. This song is one of few that ages like wine for me. Just keeps getting better and better.


Freestyle Friday: A Trip Down Memory Lane

iggie and 2Pac 1995 classic. The video brings me back to the Beecher Boys days. At the end of the night we would sometimes mute the sound on the TV sit back in the most comfortable recliner leather couch and listen to hip hop while we watched cartoon network. Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory always lived up to expectations. Ibidi Erits Happy Friday.

Below is another clip from Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme


Jay-Z + Radiohead= Jaydiohead!

I love mash ups. I've been meaning to post this up for a while. Minty Fresh Beats brings us Jaydiohead (click the link to hear the full album). It gives the gray album a run for its money as the best Jay-Z remix album. Excellent play for rainy day swagger. Check out a well done unofficial video for Jaydiohead's Dirt off your Android.

Jaydiohead - Dirt Off Your Android from Andrew French


The Bridge Is Not Over

Where’s the R.E.E.L. Hip-Hop? Where I ask is the dignity, brazenness and style that characterize the mantra that, I am here and I will be heard? A trace of this spirit, which epitomizes the essence of hip hop found its way to the Honfleur Art Gallery in S.E. DC Wednesday March 18th. The evening gathering was sponsored by River East Emerging Leaders (R.E.E.L.) and sought to bring together residents and community leaders.

Adults, young and old, in fly gear and sweat suits, Roots inspired hip hop and Maxwell combined to create a comfortable atmosphere. The voices of men and women stressed the importance for sit down restaurants, the rejuvenation or demolition of abandoned buildings and the need for businesses. The networking of neighbors and sign up sheets all combined to represent the unification of generations. Here’s to the music in the backdrop.

Weekly DC Bullets

Wale puts out some more hop with that go go attachment, click the t-shirt and sit back and listen....

Tuesday 3.24.09
  • MF Doom releases LP "Born Like this." To hear the full album click here.
  • The Red Lounge plays host to a Jay Z vs. Nas DJ battle, 14th st doors open at 9

  • Make your way to the Expo (1928 9th ST and U) to catch the Reasonable Doubt Remix Project.
Friday 3.27.09
  • DJ Dredds brings "Close 2 the Edge" to the Black Cat, doors open at 9 $7 bucks
  • Wale kicks off his Attention Defecit tour in ATL, album drops in the summertime.


Sat Night Feel Good: Labcabincalifornia

One of my favorite songs of all time, first time I've heard the Amsterdam version. I hope today's hip hop starts taking lessons from Pharcyde circa 95. Enjoy...


202 Beatdrops: Bum Rush The Boards!

Local hip hop activism nonprofit Words Beats & Life (WBL) is teaming up with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation to host the fourth annual Bum Rush the Boards Hip Hop Chess Tournament. The tourney is being held at the Columbia Heights Community Center on April 18 from 11 AM to 6 PM. The project aims to communicate the importance of overcoming life’s obstacles strategically:

“By connecting hip-hop to chess, WBL has created a chess tournament that exposes youth to a culture (hip-hop) and a science (chess) that requires them to think ahead, to manage talent and to size up their adversaries. WBL recognizes that these skills are not only useful in both chess and hip-hop, but in business and life, as well.”

Players of all ages and skill levels can enter the tournament individually or as part of a team. (4 player minimum). In addition to the competitive chess matches participants will also enjoy workshops on visual arts, chess, DJing and graffiti.

A clip featuring 2008's youth intermediate level winner, Marte Garner (I recommend reading the Washington Post article)

Footage of last year's tourney


Sat Night Feel Good: Shaq Diesel

This is another quickie since I am heading out to a party on 14th. This is in honor of Shaq having a surprisingly stellar year and causing Amar'e Stoudemire's fantasy basketball value to plummet. The sun may have set on the Suns' championship chances but it has yet to set on Shaq's capacity to dominate the paint.


Freestyle Friday: Supernatural

Happy Friday! Have to keep this short since I have to roll out for my first Party Bus experience. Supernat seems fitting for Friday the 13th. Below is a clip from 'Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme," a documentary that was screened at the Hip Hop Cinema earlier this year.

Supernatural holds the Guiness World Record for longest freestyle in history: 9 + hours at the Rock and Bells Festival in San Bernardino, CA. Enjoy.


Weekly DC Bullets

brings you Weekly DC Bullets, giving readers a quick break down of local hip hop events. In the near future we hope to provide more extensive coverage of DC happenings. Stay Tuned.

  • Chitown's Common plays tonight at 9:30 Club
Thursday 3.12.09
  • Former lead MC of Jurassic 5 (J5), Chali 2 Na joins salsa funk band Ozotmatli on stage at 9:30 Club. Chali 2 Na was actually the founder of Ozotmatli and while he is not an official member of the band he has continued to colloborate with them. After superb albums in Jurassic 5 LP and Quality Control and a decent one in Power in Numbers, J5 disappointed with Feedback. Regardless, Chali 2 Na's distinguished deep voiced rapid fire flow is more than enough to get your dancing feet moving. His stage name was taken from the Starkist Tuna's cartoon deep voiced mascot Charlie the Tuna. Back at the 2002 Smokin Grooves show at Nissan Pavillion I had the opportunity to talk to Chali 2 Na who was chilling among the crowd while the Roots on stage. The conversation ended abruptly with him hollering at a random woman. The footage below will give peeps an idea of what to expect tomorrow night.

Friday 3.13.09
  • DC's own hip hop, funk and rock influenced band Godisheus is playing a free show at The Asylum.
Sunday 3.15.09
  • This goes out to people that want to throw away their money, Daddy Yankee is performing at Constitution Hall for a wopping $58.... Next
Monday 3.16.09
  • Wale announces the name of his long awaited debut album! The next day Wale is releasing a track from his and 9th Wonder's mix tape "Back to the Feature." If you don't have a job you can follow Wale on Twitter.


202 Beatdrops: Counting Headz

On Saturday I dropped by the Historical Society of DC to watch the third screening of Hip Hop Cinema, starring Counting Headz, a documentary exploring hip hop culture through the lens of female hip hop artists in South Africa. The name of the film derives from the notion that every time one of these artists performs they find themselves counting the number of women in the audience on their hands.

MC Chi, Sistamatic, Smirk, D-Unik and fellow African sisters touch on an array of topics: male dominance in hip hop, traditional roles of women in their societies, the media’s drive to portray female artists as mere sex objects and motherhood They also express their love/hate relationship with hip hop, an art form that has simultaneously enabled these women to express themselves yet has also tested their identities again and again.

The film’s highlights for me were:

• The crew of African artists commenting on how women baring their skin in traditional African communities differs
from images of “Tits and Ass” in hip hop music.

• After a particularly impressive freestyle shown in the film the crowd responded with applause and cheers.
• The film oddly using Fergie of Black Eyed Peas as an example of women in American hip hop.
• The commentary on juggling being mothers and their hip hop lifestyles. Smirk, a prominent graffiti artist, explains
that “things can grow as they take the backseat.” Then she reveals her intentions to create a children’s book in a
graffiti way.

Following the screening, a panel discussion featuring local DC artists RA The MC, Carolyn Malachi, Porsche 911 and Abeer Emcee. It became clear that the film’s subject matter resonated with the musicians on stage as well as the audience.

At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting Kimani Anku, one of Hip Hop Cinema’s lead organizers. The upbeat Anku is committed to exposing local hip hop acts, fostering community development and educating people about hip hop’s borderless reach. Anku and friend Brandon Felton’s partnership with the Historical Society of DC stemmed from taking initiative on ideas bounced around during a brainstorm session. The duo also are chief architects behind solSource, a promotion, marketing and artist development company that thrives on getting deserving independent art and music much needed spotlight.

Below is a video from Godessa, the only all women hip hop crew in South Africa. Personally, I am not a fan (to put it lightly) of the chorus but the rapping has tropical appeal and the video is entertaining. The Powerpuff girls have some competition.

Godessa- Mindz Ablaze


MDR: Shout out to the Roomie

HiphoPolitico's ship (well more like a steam boat) has momentarily lost its course. This is my roomie's band, Middle Distance Runner. Have you heard? The claymation action in this video is tight.

MDR's sound is versatile- soulful chilled out tunes, feel good pop and even some Motown. They were recently featured in a Harley Davidson commercial that aired on ESPN and Spike and other channels during the NCAA Bowl games.

This sums up their breakout potential: “These insanely catchy rockers (think the Strokes) are the city’s pick-to-click for mainstream success.”- Spin

The city the quote refers to is DC and HiphoPolitico supports local music and loved ones.

Middle Distance Runner- The Unbeliever


Sat Night Feel Good

Do not sleep on People Under the Stairs (Thes One and Double K). They hail from Cali, they love BBQs and they can pull off the old school sound, reggae influenced tunes and jazzy tracks effortlessly. This marks the first official video from one of my faves. Enjoy the pilot segment of Feel Good.

PUTS- The Wiz (shot in Australia)


Freestyle Friday: The Roots and A Tribe Called Quest

The legendary Roots Crew and Tribe came together for this cipher session circa 95 at Lorna’s Corner, a video/talk show based in Hartford, Connecticut that served as a positive outlet for hip hop. Lorna Little, the show’s host, was keenly aware that the music and celebrities would bring in viewers, therefore multiplying the impact of her efforts to raise social awareness about every day issues that resonated with urban communities.

The vision came into a being at a community television station and the program was on air thanks to the dedication of a two person volunteer crew. Persistence and purpose paid off as the show ran for over 10 years, reached up to 500,000 households and hosted guests such as Notorious BIG, Run DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and many more.


202 Beatdrops: Do It for the Capital, Wale Ovechkin

DC’s own Wale (pronounced Wah-Lay) fuses homegrown go-go beats with deft wordplay. His animated delivery,candid lyrics and clever references to current events, pop culture and the state of hip hop make Wale a force to be reckoned with. Wale was born to Nigerian immigrant parents, attended 7 different high schools, and was a bad ankle injury away from playing D1 football. Wale dropped out of Bowie State University to pursue his music dreams full time. To get by, Wale worked day jobs at the likes of Sprint and Locker Room. Local radioplay, a 2006 “DC Metro Breakthrough Artist of the Year” award, sharing the stage with Lil Wayne and TI and features in Fader, The Source and The Washington Post among others created Wale’s buzz worthiness.

His big break: in early 2007 Wale toured the UK with distinguished producer Mark Ronson. The great feedback from audiences landed Wale a deal with Ronson’s Allido Records- Interscope.

A series of mixtapes, impressive remixes, and collaborations with Nike, LRG, and Jordan Brand have displayed the DC based MC’s artistic versatility and cross sell appeal. Wale is featured on an unreleased version of Lilly Allen’s “Smile,” has rapped over Justice tunes (see below), teamed up with Lil Wayne and 9th Wonder, and recently dropped by Travis Barker’s studio to drop a few lines on former Blink182 drummer’s solo effort. Wale is also featured on a
remix of MIA's "Boys"

Rolling Stone may have put it best: “Wale has more crossover appeal than weed.” The relentless buzz and the anticipation of his debut album (due soon) sets the stage for an inevitable breakthrough, one that will achieve Wale’s native goal: putting DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) on the hip hop map. In the meantime, he'll continue to get his U Street on.

Wale- Nike Boots

Wale- D.A.N.C.E.
(Remix of Justice song)


202 Beatdrops: Hip Hop Cinema

While DC politics take international headlines by storm, DC’s hip hop scene flies under the radar. DC natives and the masterminds behind solSource Group, Kimani Anku and Brandon Felton have partnered up with the Historical Society of Washington DC (HSW) to present Hip Hop Cinema, a series of film screenings and discussion panels that pay tribute to hip hop history and local talents.

The opening installment of Hip Hop Cinema featured Kevin Fitzgerald’s “Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme”, a documentary that sheds light on the rawest form of hip hop: improvisational rapping. Freestyle showcases legendary unscripted battles between some of the genre’s pioneers, including Supernatural, Mos Def, Black Thought and Craig G among many others. Screenings of Freestyle mirror the film’s subject matter, as no showing of the film is identical. One can check out clips (like the one below) from the film on Youtube.

Hip Hop Cinema’s second installment The Freshest Kids: A history of the B-Boy marks the first documentary to paint the evolution of B-Boy culture. Footage of break dancing legends such as Kool DJ Herc touring house parties in the 70s and the influential dance’s rise to fame in the 80s reveals the little known origins of the B-boy Movement. Commentary by hip hop veterans such as KRS-One, Afrika Bambaata, and Mos Def reminds viewers the importance of an oft overlooked element of hip hop while current underground acts demonstrate cutting edge moves.

The third installment of Hip Hop Cinema presents Counting Headz: South Afrika’s Sistaz in Hip Hop complements the Solsource’s Group’s highly acclaimed annual “Can a Sista Rock a Mic?” festival. The film communicates the unheard experiences of South African women through the voices of three nationally renowned artists. One of the featured artists, MC Chi explores the perceived conflict between African values and hip hop culture. The screening is being shown on Saturday March 7, 2009 at 2:00 PM at HSW’s theater. To RSVP or find out more about upcoming installments visit
HSW’s website as well as solSource's