We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Ras Nebyu’s Lyrical Coup D’Etat
Much to our delight, we were treated this week to a brand new video from rising D.C. rhymer Ras Nebyu. The visual for “Futuristic Black Man,” the opening track from his Babylon’s Most Wanted mixtape, is heavy with baptism and rebirth imagery. Nebyu is seen given an intense sermon to a group of people sitting by a riverbank; he then deploys a lyrical assault (“You been a slave/Underground railroad been a maze/No matter where we at, real niggas still gettin’ played”) with images of the rapper in the forest, pyramids, and the White House. He’s also critical of the local hip-hop scene, comparing it to Congress: “The D.C. rap scene got way too many politics/On some Congress shit, and I ain’t fuckin’ with it.”
Nebyu assumed complete creative control here, directing the video himself. That’s why you have to hang onto every word and think long and hard about what each image represents. He’s cerebral like that. His Ras Griffin lll: Uptown Rookie of the Year mixtape, originally due out this summer, will be released this fall. That means more “Washington Slizzards” references, which is awesome.—-Julian Kimble
Behold, all you uninventive street rappers, here’s one way to tighten up your visuals: Go the horrorcore route, like D.C. crew SMD does in its video for “I Got A Problem.” Masks, axes, a lonely stretch of train tracks—-it’s all quite a departure from their usual stagecraft. The song itself is about smoking too much weed, so the video’s symbolism really only has one valid interpretation: The dudes in SMD are so high they can barely recognize themselves (thus, the Juggalo-flavored masks), and yet they want to continue smoking trees, which must be chopped down in order to be smoked (thus, the axes).—-Joe Warminsky
The Coolest Thing Wale Has Ever Done?
Of all the responses to Kendrick Lamar‘s delightfully peevish “Control” verse, it was a tweet by the DMV’s own Wale that best captured the buzz:
Thank God for hiphop
— Wale Folarin (@Wale) August 13, 2013
Pithy, poignant, and yet cleverly open to interpretation, it earned upward of 8,000 retweets during a week in which fans were hyperaware of any sound bites from Kendrick’s quote-unquote targets. And, if anything, it wasn’t a typical “Wale moment.” (SIDE NOTE: Hitler does not mention Wale in this video.)—-JW