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Every week, Arts Desk’s hip-hop writers drop news, music, culture—-and generally put you on game.
Shy Glizzy could hold a seminar on flipping threats into a punchlines. Lesson No. 1: Next time you’re in a blinding rage thanks to some asshole, take a second and take a breath. Don’t just threaten to shoot their grandma, first ask if that she ain’t already dead and then threaten to shoot their grandma. Try making some shooting noises with your mouth after; it’ll help, really. If you can get a chorus of Spanish guitars to back you up and maybe a baseline low enough to make you want to backhand a small mountain of coke, well then now you have yourself a rap song, and a damn good one at that.—-Carlos Perez
This Week in Folarin’ Around
Wale – “Arrival”
Mr. Folarin dropped another quintessentially Wale song via Twitter Friday night. Over a soulful, midtempo instrumental, the Maybach Music Group rapper leans on his thematic strengths—Mortal Kombat, English Premier League soccer, snack chips, God, family, and his ego. There’s even a bonus, classic Wale current-events shout-out about replacement referees. The song is a taste of a 2013 full-length. I’ll bet you 10 jewel cases that “Arrival” does not make the final tracklisting.—-Ramon Ramirez
Fat Trel – “Is It Chu (produced by Kane Beatz)”
Trel has a gross new song about rampant hook-ups. Over a seductive track from Kane Beatz, the Fat Fool goes on and on about conquests—doing the LL Cool J–Lou Bega name-names thing and also the colors of the rainbow thing (“dark-skinned and red-boned, she give me head, then head home”). The real news is that the track was reportedly leaked from a Def Jam Records rep who teased a 2013 full-length from Trel.—-RR
Tyrese, Tank, and the D.C.-born Ginuwine have had an unofficial R&B super group, TGT, brewing since 2007. They’re off-the-court best buds, but collaborative efforts have failed because the three had been attached to warring major labels. The contractual obligations are settled and the group just signed with Atlantic Records. Red flag: The preview clip is them working out together and enjoying personal chefs alongside Jason Statham—what does the music sound like?—-RR
Two things taken away from last Sunday night’s sold-out first round of beat battle/rap business seminar/rap-song battle at Liv on U Street NW: First, and this should go without saying, you don’t bring cloud rap to a beat battle. You’re really shooting yourself in the foot there, friend. Did you see how bored Black Cobain looked?
Second, and this may be less obvious to those just familiarizing themselves with the local scene, but D.C.’s inability to produce a marketable face in decades past shouldn’t be conflated with the notion that D.C. hasn’t produced lots of smart, business-savvy people behind the scenes during that same period. Some of these people, representatives from WPGC, WKYS, the Source, and more, appeared on Sunday night’s panel. Have you heard of “music directors?” What about a “mix-show meeting?” Well, now you have. There’s no possible way any person left the seminar without a deeper understanding that the music business is indeed a business. Tips for aspiring brands: Get a Twitter! Screen T-shirts! Wear said T-shirts to clubs! Label your demos! For God’s sake, don’t use sharpie! DJ Heat, sensing the crowd growing anxious, insolent, and unaware of just how valuable these trade secrets really are, provided the night’s most helpful advice in the form of tough love: “Y’all need to shut up and pay attention…if your goal is to get on the radio right now, you’re living in the wrong era.”—-CP