I didn’t realize this until a few days ago, but the biggest character in this week’s Music in Review issue might not be Dave Nada, the man gracing the cover. Nada appears in only one article; Waka Flocka Flame shows up in three.
Yep, the Riverdale, Ga., rapper who was one of mainstream hip-hop’s breakout stars this year seems to have left a mark on D.C. and its environs. His collaboration with D.C.’s Wale, “No Hands,” earns some praise from Andrew Noz in his essay on the city’s good (but not great) rappers.
In my feature on Nada and the microgenre he invented, Moombahton, Waka shows up again: The rapper has commissioned a Moombahton remix of “No Hands.” It’s already on the radio in Atlanta, according to a tweet from Nada today, and should be widely available in the new year.
Waka’s biggest appearance in the issue, of course, is in Ben Westhoff‘s essay on Lex Luger, the 19-year-old Suffolk, Va., producer who is all over Waka’s album Flockaveli, and whose grimey, dystopian beats are a good match for Waka’s aggressive, often chant-like raps. (Fine, fine, so Suffolk isn’t quite close enough to considered part of D.C.’s environs.) Westhoff writes:
[Luger] plugged on, sending his work to every rapper for whom he could track down an e-mail address. About the only person who responded was Waka Flocka, a hulking, Gucci Mane–affiliated former drug dealer who hadn’t been rapping very long. Though he was more known for his ability to imitate the sound of a machine gun than his lyrics, Waka’s rhymes come to life over Luger’s beats. “His production was so hard, I was like, ‘Bro, I want you to be my main producer,’” Waka tells me, comparing their chemistry to that of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
Earlier in the year, Westhoff had some pretty nice things to say about Flockaveli in a Washington City Paper review. “The way it will help you take leave of your senses,” Westhoff wrote, “is nothing short of uplifting.”