NICOLE KALI

HOME INTRODUCTION SITE INDEX

D.C. RAP


Ace Cosgrove

"I have a problem with, ‘Bitches, hoes, let’s go to a party'...No substance, there’s no substance, man. That shit was here today and gone tomorrow." (Georgetown Voice).

"A lot of the political side from my music comes from stuff I see going on in D.C. I try to bring substance into my music, that’s what makes it stand out." (D.C. Music Download)

With those words, you can already tell what kind of artist and person Ace is. Rap has been a champion's weapon since his childhood in Gaithersburg, MD.

He's not in it for the shallow stuff. Neither is his crew Hostile Youth. Personal tragedy catapulted Ace to the microphone.

His friend Gino passed from gun violence at 18, so the young MC adopted Cosgrove and rap as tribute (AllHipHop). Ace beautifully infuses the personal and political within his rhymes.

"I think music is the most powerful thing in the world. as a Hip Hop artist, I think it’s my job to express with my music what other people are feeling but are scared to say." (AllHipHop)

 

"You see us not surviving whether it’s from police brutality or us killing our f*cking selves, really you know? I’m just trying to survive, make it in America."

 

"I just want people to be inspired, to know that someone is with them in their fucking struggles." (x)

Fellow Hostile Youth Uno Hype echoes Ace. "The power is within the youth." (Capitol Sound)

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Ardamus

He's the "dark side of conscious rap", a D.C. hip hop legend hitting listeners with knowledge since his 2006 debut. Ardamus raps and produces the sort of songs that inspire profound change.

"These people in power just won’t care about poor people or people who struggling or people who trying. They don’t care about them, but they care about themselves." (Washington City Paper)

"Trust yourself as an artist but always know that what you say can have its rewards or it can have its consequences, but the thing is you take the risk." (DC Music Rocks/video)

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Christylez Bacon

 

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The Cornel West Theory

Six musical activists blend Black music for one revolutionary sound: Rashad Dobbins, Yvonne Gilmore, Ezra Greer, Tim Hicks, Sam Lavine, and John Wesley Moon.

The Cornel West Theory is an amalgam of civil rights ideology, spoken word and rapping (Washington Post). Yes, Cornel West approves their project.

He attended their album release in 2009, and frequently brainstorms with the members. Tim Hicks is one of CWT's battle-hardened leaders-if Malcolm X were reincarnated into a D.C. emcee.

He approached Dr. West at a book signing with the idea.

"Here we are four albums later still with his friendship, his mentorship, and his support. The doctor is a great brother. We’re honored." (Real Hip-Hop).

 

The Theory recognizes the power of African heritage and activism in song.

"We represent the last resistance in music. In hip-hop, we represent survival. The Cornel West Theory is a representation of the musical tradition that we come from." (The Real Hip Hop)

 

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The Crossrhodes

Soulster Raheem DeVaughn and funk-poet Wes Felton are the label defiant Crossrhodes.

"We are taking back the lineage of what they have stolen. We acknowledge our immediate ancestors who used the Rhodes piano to make soul music." (Manifesto)

Their albums A Country Divided and The Great Debate are an enraged, thought-provoking soundtrack to current America. They provide that political punch in the face our nation needed.

"This is the power of activism, the power of effort, and the power of music...We make the soundtrack for the movement."

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 DJ Earth 1ne

DJ Earth 1ne is a force to be reckoned with. She entered hip-hop in a trailblazing fashion. In 2001 DJ Earth 1ne created a platform for upcoming breakdancers and emcees: "When Worlds Collide".

Though she remains in the D.C. underground, Earth 1ne has actually left a mark on hip-hop worldwide. She's collaborated with Immortal Technique, Jazzy Jeff, KRS-ONE, the Lone Catalysts and more.

Earth 1ne is also the Temple of Hip-Hop's first non-male DJ (Lipstick Revolt).

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Enoch 7th Prophet

Conscious MC and husband to DJ Earth 1ne, Enoch is another staple in D.C. underground's scene.

He's in One Love Massive, a tri-state area group with dozens of artists and genres. Enoch's an astute and inspirational MC.

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Head-Roc

Head-Roc is a sharp-tongued social commentator on the D.C. rap scene for more than 20 years. Straight from the horse's mouth, he's "still creating meaningful and socially Relevant hip-hop" (x).

Nicole Kali was impressed to see his anti-imperialist rap at D.C.'s November Standing Rock Rally in November 2016.

 

Rappers don't always talk so bluntly about the 500-Year-War on black and brown lives. He performed in the Public Enemy front MC's honor in 2013. Head-Roc's so real that Chuck D gives him props.

 

 

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Keurgui Crew


Konshens

This successful artist-activist has placed restorative justice right on the mainstream map. Konshens is a youth advocate, DC's Grammy Recording Academy Advisor, and part of an eight-piece band.

Konshen's solo projects are poignant and creative. Watch the video below.

 

He's also a big supporter of edutainment mixed with storytelling as a political art form. Konshen's organization Edutainment Unlimited is unique in its aim.

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Leftist

They're a multi-genre, multiethnic quintet from College Park, "a visual representation of the world" (x).

"There’s hip-hop, rock, and funk elements. We want to add to the conversation that bands like Rage Against The Machine and Public Enemy inspired in us." (Washington City Paper)

 

 

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Nappy Nappa

 


Nevasleep

 


Oddisee

Amir Mohamed Elkhalifa is a Sudanese-American rapper who observes Islam, a fact he lists as a source of strength (The National). Oddisee embodies what it means to embrace yourself-especially if your identities have been politicized and misunderstood.

"It's a blessing and a curse to be born into two ethnicities, into two religions." (Paste Magazine).

"Father’s side of the family chastised and pointed the finger at black America. Black America pointed the finger at immigrant America and Africans who immigrate to this country."

And so Oddisee exists within and beyond the U.S. race matrix entirely, "stuck between two different worlds" (Paste).

Oddisee carries the restrained fury of a frustrated radical, and he criticizes D.C. politics and global hegemony when he's making music. The artist just wants something done.

"We started off locally and now it’s changed globally
That’s the way it’s supposed to be
Single seeds only grow to trees if left alone to breath."

"I think America is waking up in general — and this is people in power in America, and the majority — to what a lot of the minorities have been saying for quite some time." (NPR)

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Philippe Prosper

"I have always been amazed by the divinely created world around me- that inspires me to create." (RawArtists)

"I see art as our collective opportunity to challenge one another's worldview's by inviting each other to experience new perspectives."

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Prowess the Testament

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Son of Nun

 


Sub-Z

Terence Nicholson is a D.C.-born musician, social justice activist and community builder. His alias Sub-Z was formerly 1/4 of hip-hop collective Opus Akoben. They had been a spiritual group decades ahead of their time.

 

"My goal as an artist is to be a dot on the eternal timeline of artists that have contributed to society." (DC Artists East). Nicholson is now frontman for the funk-rock band Thaylo Bleu.

Terence Nicholson is a hopeful revolutionary, but a realistic one.

"...Get your mind right, and understand the times that we’re living in. Because it’s going to get worse before it gets better." (WAMU)

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