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Standout Track: No. 10, the cautionary “Game 2 U,” in which Harper forcefully describes the perils of street life. “Don’t you trust none of these bammas/They smile up in your face but behind your back they want to jam ya,” he raps over an organ-heavy beat that’s more dramatic than churchy. DMV rapper One Way Boobe also has a nimble guest spot.
Musical Motivation: Harper, who grew up in Savannah Terrace, is known primarily for being one of D.C.’s pioneering professional skateboarders. He says the song fits with his ethos of using his personal story—he was a drug dealer before skating became a career—to enlighten kids about their options. He’s spoken at schools, churches, rec centers, wherever: “I have jewelry and stuff I’ve paid thousands of dollars for, and I go in, and…I won’t say I flash these things at ’em…but I use them as little key points of interest to show them that, hey, you can get this stuff but it doesn’t have to come from the streets.”
Beats & Facts: Harper, who’s had his share of run-ins with the law as both a dealer and a skater, says he’s prepared to face doubts about the validity of his rap tales—and his decision to make music. “My life is realer than some of these average rappers out here,” he says. “So I just wanted to do my thing, shed some light on it, have people be like, ‘Yo, this dude can do everything, and it’s real.’” He adds, “I try not to exaggerate anything.”