Arts and Culture Editor
DC has a rich history of music from both of these clashes classes, with DC’s history of Jazz and Go-Go. Artists like Duke Ellington, Ian Mackaye, Chuck Brown, Henry Rollins, and numerous others all come from DC. Go-go was started in DC and is clearly the closest thing DC has to a sound.
Wale is the perfect example of a DMV artists. His parents were Nigerian immigrants mirroring the large African community that live by Wheaton and Silver Spring. He is known for fusing Go-Go style percussion into his rap sounds and has lots of Go-Go style call and response. He is a huge nerd naming his debut mixtape “A Mixtape about Nothing,” and filling it with Seinfeld references. Weird guy but very DC.
Today, in expression of the angst caused by different classes and struggles of DC locals, has lead to a bustling music scene similar to cities like Chicago. The same way Chicago has a clear distinction between the violent, poverty stricken South Side (also known as Chiraq) compared to places like Lincoln Park and the New East Side. Many DC artists from DC’s East side such as Fat Trel and Yung Gleesh have collaborated with artists from Chiraq like Chief Keef and Fredo Santana. At the same time, the more socially conscious, alternative hip hip scene from Chicago featuring artists like Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Joey Purp, Vic Mensa, BJ the Chicago Kid and numerous others all have their parallel in DC with artists like Jay IDK, Wale, Goldlink, and Kelala.
DMV urban music is complex, It's too soulful to Southern Hip Hop but goonish to New York hip hop, it’s its own unique blend of sounds that creative element to the city. Because DC is small compared to places like Atlanta, The sub Genres aren’t fix and you see a lot more intermingling between different artists.
Here are some of my favorite DMV Urban Artists: