We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.

Every week, Arts Desk’s hip-hop writers drop news, music, culture—and generally put you on game.

Trapper, Keeper

“Y’all fuck ass hoes think ’cause I got the best hair, that I ain’t the best lyricist,” rapper ‘Folkz asserts on his new single, “Renee Zellweger.” “What, ’cause I sell dope, I ain’t got bars, baby?” He’s got a point: Often, rappers are classified as either “trappers” or “lyricists”; if they sell drugs, they might not be able to put two rhymes together. 

On “Zellweger,” ‘Folkz successfully marries the two worlds; the scant drums make it feel like a trap record, yet ‘Folkz skews it with a Marilyn Manson vocal sample and old-school scratches. Lyrically, the rapper brings his usual relaxed flow, the results being glossy enough for mass airplay and street enough for the block.—-Marcus J. Moore

I Don’t Wear Jerseys—I’m Thirty Plus

Rap fundamentalists might want to tell you that this brand of nihilism is fashionable only to the young, but Pastor Troy, 34, and Garvey, about 30, are both staples in their respective regional circuits and, well, they still got it man. You know which old man doesn’t got it? LL. LL Cool J doesn’t got it. Not that 30 is old or anything, you know what I mean. You’ve got plenty of time. Give the Troy/Garvey collabo a listen.—-Carlos Perez

Muggsy Flows

YouTube video

“Black America,” the first single from Muggsy Malone’s The Consistency mixtape (out, like, at some point soon though no word yet on an official date) finds Malone calmly indignant like any rational person after months of polarizing media race-baiting. “Television watching, checking the news on the weather and climate, eating my breakfast—eggs and sausage.” Dude is drained, but hungry. Over heavy rattles, clockwork piano, and an expertly minimalist beat from Kajmir Royale, Malone double-times like Freddie Gibbs in the best possible way for four minutes. The similes about student athletes and anti-depressants are great.—-Ramon Ramirez

Essential Writes

Adams Morgan native Kingpen Slim just released a killer new record, Triple Beam Dreams. Writes Marcus J. Moore:

Slim’s quest for mainstream recognition hasn’t sacrificed his soul just yet. Triple Beam Dreams, while flashy, is also insightful, offering a glimpse into Slim’s twin lives as a drug dealer and artist.”

Read Moore’s full Arts Desk thoughts and listen to Dreams.

On another Moore note, dude just published an essential overview for MTV Hive that charts essential releases from area imprint Mello Music Group.—-RR

Live Beats

The Board Administration is hosting a pop-up art gallery along with the modernist luminaries over at Ciroc and Crown Royal on Saturday—TBD taste makers and innovators are promised. There’s a LivingSocial deal, but only the first 50 takers get to rub elbows with Anthony Hamilton, Wale, and (hopefully) Jan Veselý. In touring hip-hop, Meek Mill and French Montana are doing the live karaoke bottle service thing at Fur Nightclub Friday night. Elsewhere, area stalwarts Black Cobain, Fat Trel, Phil Ade, Shy Glizzy, Kingpen Slim, and Tabi Bonney will gather and freestyle Friday night at 8 p.m. for what will surely become a promotional Adidas video. It’s an invite-only event, but it shouldn’t be hard to crash the Adidas store at 1251 Wisconsin Ave. NW.—-RR