D.C. record label Future Times has built a global reputation across dozens of trend-resistant dance-music tracks, but nothing is as wild or divergent as its most recent release, a single by Nappy Nappa, a perpetually creative 22-year-old rapper from the Naylor Road area in Southeast.
The two surging, raucous songs—”Bang Et On Em” and “Slime’s Nev’r End’ng Party/Shin-Dig”—feature unstructured, heavily treated vocals by Nappa (aka Davonte Squire) and boxy, crackling beats by Dolo Percussion, one of the many aliases of Andrew Field-Pickering, the label’s proprietor. The net effect is disorienting—Nappa’s delivery is more like chanting, and the beats take a cue from a recent fascination with jungle god Goldie. The goal was to mentally project a scene or an energy and let it expand, Nappa says.
“You’re just listening to it for what comes next—I don’t want to say like, revelations, but little elevations in there … that take your breath away, you feel me?” he says. “Like, this is what butt-naked expression is.” He also cites New York hip-hop polymath Rammellzee as an influence.
Nappa and Field-Pickering recorded the songs in the latter’s home studio, marking the culmination of a creative process that began earlier this year after D.C. vocalist Dreamcast introduced the pair at the Future Times pop-up record shop that opens some Saturdays in Mount Pleasant. (Dreamcast recently released a vinyl-only “white label” single on Future Times, with more music to come in September.)
“It was clear right away that it would work out,” Field-Pickering says about Nappa. “He did ‘Bang Et On Em’ in one take, for real. Four minutes earlier I just had drums I liked, and then he went in and it was just this special new thing, that fast.”
The Future Times tracks aren’t the only music Nappa dropped this month—he’s also part of the group Delta 7 with fellow D.C. performers Sir E.U., Pat Cain, and Tony Kill. Their new album DS-811 is a warped, chaotic excursion into digital experimentation.
“Truly yo … if there’s any time for D.C. to turn its back on the mainstream and capitalize on its own sound, it’s now,” Nappa says. “Like right now. ‘Cause externally a lot of people are looking toward D.C. as a source of creativity. If we turn our backs to all the mainstream—you know, like, ‘creative mining companies’—we could definitely bloom as our own. Very heavily. You feel me?”