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Standout Track: No. 3, “It’s Over,” a slow jam about heartbreak over a J. Dilla–inspired hip-hop track on this cut from JLaine’s latest beat tape, VA Is for Lovers.

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Musical Motivation: JLaine created the track with his former hip-hop group, UrbanMinds—the verse he contributed, about an ex-girlfriend from college, is a rare instance of blatant autobiography in his music. “I’m not really a Howard Stern kind of guy that puts a lot of things out there,” he says. The rest of the project, available Sept. 1, explores all facets of relationships, not just those JLaine has personally experienced: “It deals with first crush, first kiss, marriage, divorce, betrayal—stalking.”

State of the Unions: Everyone from Arizona-bred season 6 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks to Michigan indie rockers the Natalie Fight has used the Virgina tourism motto in love songs, but the phrase holds special meaning for NoVa native and Tasteful Licks artist JLaine. “People in V-A know that I’m reppin’ V-A hard, and I think using the slogan, more people will be interested in what I have to say,” he says. “I think now, with [this] release, people will really know who I am—especially in Virginia.”

J Laine performs at IOTA on Friday, Aug. 21.