There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Substantial Crushes on Jill Scott
If one thing holds true about Substantial, it’s that he’s always thinking of new ways to present himself to the masses. In years past, the Prince George’s County native was a battle rapper; his recent album, Home Is Where The Art Is, was an adult take on some real-life situations. As one-half of Bop Alloy, Substantial opts for quiet-storm rhymes laid atop nocturnal compositions made for urban contemporary radio. On his free Jackin’ for Jill album, the MC pays homage to Philadelphia songstress Jill Scott with chopped Jilly instrumentals and varied interpretations of recognizable Scott songs. What will Substantial think of next?—Marcus J. Moore
Don’t Disturb Dunson’s Groove
Maryland rapper Dunson endeared himself to ’80s babies and fellow music lovers with the video for “Don’t Disturb,” the latest from his mixtape, The Investment. The track finds Dunson rhyming over a sped up sample of The System’s timeless 1987 cut “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” He’s right at home over the nostalgic aid, relieved after finally finding his zone: “Had my eye on the corner, now I’m turnin’ it/Shit, I was about to hang it up like an ornament/It feels so much better when you’re earnin’ it/And then you narrow down the game like tournaments.” He’s joined by New York MC Mickey Factz, who joined Wale on that XXL Freshmen cover back in ’08. Both rappers do the sample justice, realizing that anything less than excellence would be unacceptable. Dunson used to work for a reputable investment firm—-he’s used to making good decisions.—-Julian Kimble
AB the MC
It’s fun to watch AB the Pro do some smiling and rhyming in Uptown X.O.‘s video for “Evolution,” a track from the Colour De Grey tape, which is mostly built on AB’s beats. The producer’s lyrics—-“Good for your stomach, like baked food/Illest shit you ever heard since Beatles’ “Hey Jude”—-do seem a little ad hoc, however. Like a lot of X.O. product, though, the video has its share of references, and it sent me looking for followups. I immediately dug up the “Three Daves” skit from Chappelle’s Show, and the clip for Terminator X’s “Buck Whylin.'” Aw yeah, jeep beats.—Joe Warminsky