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Fat Trel and Uptown X.O.

Fat Trel must be celebrating somewhere. On Wednesday, Rick Ross‘ Maybach Music Group label announced it had signed Trel to a record deal. The Northeast rapper plans to celebrate this Saturday with a signing and single release party at Stadium Club. And earlier this week, local blogger DDot Omen premiered “Str8 Killas,” a collaborative cut featuring Trel and Uptown XO, on which they use MC Eiht‘s “Straight Up Menace” to shout out a grimmer side of the District, where “pills, pussy and Remy” reign supreme. “Pistol-poppin’ politicians,” XO spits. Moments later, Trel raps about wanting “that Black Maybach”—-perhaps foreshadowing his record deal and U.O.E.N.O. —-Marcus J. Moore

Black Cobain

Black Cobain is tough to figure out. As a member of D.C.’s Board Administration imprint, the Alexandria rapper has made big strides so far, though not enough to be on, exactly. Mentored by Wale, Cobain still sounds like him, but he’s beginning to develop his own voice. That’s clear on Cobain’s new mixtape, Perfect Contradiction, possibly his most personal recordings to date. He forgoes the glossy arrogance of previous work and reveals some real-life insecurities. But he still sounds unsure about what the future holds. The music is remarkably retro-soul, which plays well against Cobain’s wistful rhymes. Listen below. —-MJM


Marlow’s self-directed video for “Long Live” does an excellent job of capturing its dark, drowsy production. Much like the song itself, the plot revolves aimlessly around conspiracy and religion, flirting with heavy ideas but never quite committing to any of them. The execution is shaky and Marlow’s narrative is disjointed, but it’s difficult to watch and even harder to turn away from. That in itself is an impressive feat. The record will be packaged with Marlow’s forthcoming album, Faith and Vices. —-Harold Stallworth



Last summer, Baltimore MC Kane Mayfield roughed a few beats from D.C.’s Thievery Corporation for his Rhymes by Kane mixtape. It was a surprise hit that caught the attention of SPIN and Stereogum, which praised Kane’s lyrical audacity while shitting on Thievery’s middle-of-the-road dance grooves. Kane’s new video for “White Collar” follows his career transition from New York stockbroker to rapper. Shot along the Brooklyn Bridge and within the city’s Financial District, Kane appears tired of the suit-and-tie life. He spits aggressively until he finally dumps the suitcase and trashes his copy of the Wall Street Journal. Looks like he made the right decision. —-MJM

YouTube video

Incwell and Friends

It’s Friday, and you wanna hit the club tonight. Nothing too crazy, maybe a chill lounge spot where the drinks don’t cost too much, and you can two-step with your mate without getting crowded. At least that’s the feeling I got while listening to “Let’s Go,” a new song from Silver Spring native Incwell featuring singers Kyonte and Reesa Renee. The song is delightfully cloudy and nocturnal; as usual, Incwell spins a vivid tale: “It’s been another long week, here’s some bubblin’ Don P./That dress is right, the last couple are on me.” Much like this song, Incwell has words for the ladies. —-MJM


With the release of his new single, “Circles,” drawing closer, Dunson delivered “I’m Ready” this week, which a statement as much as it is a teaser. Fans of early aughts New York hip-hop—-an era when sped-up soul samples dominated—-will appreciate him borrowing The Diplomats’ “I’m Ready” beat and assaulting it with his trademark wit in a manner that Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Freekey Zekey would all co-sign: “Numbers not very high, but I’m verified/Call your chick, slide across a room like Jamiroquai.” Dunson continues to up the ante as Nov. 19 draws near. —-Julian Kimble

Yo Gotti and Glizzy

Yo Gotti, the self-proclaimed “King of Memphis,” is scheduled to perform at the Howard Theatre on Monday along with YG, Ca$h Out, Zed Zilla, and Shy Glizzy (with whom he collaborated on Glizzy’s Law 2 mixtape). With Logic and now Fat Trel scoring record deals this year, could Shy Glizzy be the next emerging DMV hip-hop artist to get a deal? The question’s been asked again and again, but still, no answers just yet. —-JK