‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – Lyriciss (Editorial)
Lyriciss points out from the gate that there is an abundance of talent in there DMV and has been for a while. He is part of a new wave of guys who are fully developing besides GoGo for the DMV to call their own. He just put out a sick album that y’all needa check out. Find out what hip hop means to PG Country & Lyriciss.
“Hip-hop equals life to me. Strangely enough, I come from an area that doesn’t fully embrace its homegrown hip-hop scene. I’m from PG County, Maryland. This is the same area that brought about underground icons such as Kev Brown, Kenn Starr, Oddisee, Substantial, & Sean Born. The same home of buzzing newcomers like Nike Nando, Pro’Verb, G-Two, and obviously the most successful of the bunch, Wale. Even the state itself has folks like Logic, Phil Adè, Uno Hype, King Los, Mullyman, Bossman, Skarr Akbar, and more. So in a region that is slow to accept its own, how did I get involved?
All credit goes to my family on that one. My mother loves music just as much, if not more, than I do. I come from a musical family. My father played trumpet growing up. My mother plays piano and was a jazz singer. My older brother was the first person I ever saw write a rhyme. My younger brother played the saxophone. In turn, I grew up playing trumpet and teaching myself how to play piano around the time I started writing rhymes. But hip-hop? My mother did that. She played (and still plays) hip-hop every day. She owns “Wu-Tang Forever” and “Ready To Die”, along with almost every classic hip-hop album you can think of. I was bred into this because it was what I knew.
When I decided to start to taking interest in being a recording artist, I was a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School (whose alumni include Martin Lawrence, Mya, and Delonte West), just writing rhymes as I had been. It was there that I met a young dude who went by H-Tips. Even though he was a year younger than me, he saw my potential and brought me to his home studio, which really wasn’t shit but a 4-track board, a mic, and a closet, but it was everything to us. We all used to go there and record after school. Some of those same artists are still around on the DC scene, people like Airport Tone, Uptown Pacco, Forecast, & Young Sir. Fun but premature times in my career that set me up for my future.
I didn’t take music seriously until I was 20 years old. My daughter had just been born, I was working a job that I wasn’t really happy at (selling hats at Lids isn’t exactly fulfilling), and I needed to find a way to express myself and make a living doing it. It was around this time that I started going to the open mics at Pure on U Street. If you’re not from the DC area, let me catch up…U Street was the Mecca for DMV hip-hop. Every artist I’ve named in this article has performed on U Street. Recently, the vibe has changed thanks to gentrification and the city shutting down our open mics and hip-hop events for no real reason I can think of. But it was on this scene that I started my rise, networking with other artists and building a fanbase through anyone that came through and could see me perform.
Honestly, it breaks my heart that a lot of new artists won’t have that opportunity now that these events don’t exist. The DMV hip-hop scene that these blogs love and currently have their eye on has been damaged with no outlet aside from the internet for a lot of new cats to flock to. Luckily, the internet is open enough for many to still make a way.
So what does hip-hop in Maryland & the DMV mean to me? Potential. There’s a lot of talent here. Raw, genuine talent. We lack an industry but we have a culture. That culture is my life. Hip-hop is my life.” – Lyriciss