The cover of Lightshow's Heart Still In the Trenches.

Rapper Lightshow moved to Atlanta from D.C. two years ago, but his Instagram handle is still @lightshow10thpl—a reference to 10th Place SE, where he grew up—and his latest album, Heart Still in the Trenches, was recorded locally during the pandemic at Connected DC studio in Oxon Hill. The lyrics were inspired by life in the Congress Heights neighborhood where he grew up, he says. Lightshow says he even slept on his grandmother’s couch in Southeast during the period he was here recording. The album cover shows the Holiday Market convenience store on Wheeler Road SE where Lightshow sometimes bought snacks; it’s also marked by the shooting deaths that occurred outside it, including the murder of 15-year-old Somerset Prep student Maurice Scott in 2019. Lightshow says the cover documents both the pain of the murders and his fond memories of his neighborhood.  The video for the song “my hood,” which includes the album’s title phrase, was filmed outside of the shop. Lightshow, who was once shot by someone robbing him, explained that the meaning of “glocks in da car,” full of both danger and bravado, is that while the song’s narrator is not necessarily starting problems, he is not an uncomplicated victim either. Lightshow’s move to Atlanta was in part for the safety of he and his family, he says, which adds another layer to the meaning of his lyrics. Lightshow works with four different producers, who all help empower his delivery no matter the words uttered. Consistent with his earlier releases, Heart offers Lightshow’s syncopated flow on songs addressing street life, relationships, and friendships, using looped classical flutes, insistent beats, and string instruments over speedy hip-hop rhythms. The album is available to stream on Spotify and other services. Free.