Game Recognize Game: Ch. 1

Game Recognize Game: Ch. 1

These are five DMV hip-hop artists who (I think) have differentiated themselves from their peers.

Let me start by saying that I've performed with, um, hold on, uh… too many hip-hop artists to count since my first JDVBBS show in December 2013. The quantity of hip-hop artists in the region (or the the nation, or the WORLD for that matter) is a gift to the entire community and fan base as a whole but can be a curse to those delivering the music. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle if that artist isn't careful. There's a reason that, as an artist, we got into music in the first place. Some sort of sonic inspiration is what makes us pick up the mic, pirate that first copy of fruity loops or purchase that first set of tables. But what makes an artist different than the person who inspired them? More importantly, what's gonna make them different from the people fans/promoters/venues group them with?

The list of artists I've put on this list aren't just artists that I'm not only fans of but that I'm peers with as well. I've performed in some capacity with all of these guys/girls which is the reason that some of my favorite local artists have been left off the list (I don't have to name you, you know who you are). I've done my research, I've got their music in my iTunes, I've seen them on stage and have had to match their intensity on these stages either before their performance or afterwards. They've all made glowing strides in 2015 and I think that their ability to separate themselves from the pack is why.


Now there's no way I can seemingly separate my bias for these guys. I grew up with them. My parents know their parents. I've eaten in their kitchens. They were some of the first people to give me a stage to rock on. That being said, even in an unbiased light, this trio gets the job done. They give a new meaning to the whole being greater than the sum of its parts both with their chemistry on stage and their creative process. I know where their influences stand by riding around in cars listening to their iPods. I'm not as familiar with the rock-influenced side of their sound but I'm willing to bet that there hasn't been a sound quite like these guys. Their uniqueness oozes past their colors when they're in your headphones and when they're in your face. Catch them before it costs too much to do so.


So my first show there were umpteen artists on the bill. There were a few artists who stood out among the bunch, one of them being this young kid with an unwavering confidence explaining (and then demonstrating) what "Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge" truly means. Jay IDK was one of the first local artists to give some sort of context to "turning up." It was almost a disclaimer. Like, "here's what you're getting into. Don't tell me you don't like it." I was with it from start to finish. That was the last day of 2013. Fast-forward to him handing the mic off to me after slaying the stage at Empire a few weeks ago, closing his set with hit "Two Hoes" and bringing fellow artist Eddie Vanz on stage. If you're a DMV hip-hop fan and you aren't hip to King Trappy, just give me your address so I know where to mail your I-Told-You-So.

Pinky KillaCorn

My first impression of Pinky KillaCorn: This girl is a BOSS. Head-to-toe looking like the rockstar she is. I met KillaCorn (one of my favorite DMV stories) on the Cakes & Kisses tour at the Paper Box in Brooklyn. There were a few technical difficulties right before Ra The MC's set so in true hip-hop fashion, Ra asked if there were any beatboxers in the room. My set was a little later so I had some time to kill. I went through a few beats while Ra spit, KillaCorn bopping along on stage. As soon as I broke into Doug E. Fresh's "Freaks", I saw Pinky's eyes lit up and she was like "Ra, gimme some." Pinky opened her mouth and her signature HOLUUUP rang out. That voice said it all. She knows how to rock any beat and her voice demands respect on a track unlike most female hip-hop artists. Now when I need a dosage of that KillaCorn I can just turn to WPGC or WKYS. Kudos homie!

Brain Rapp

I met Brain a week before my first show. I was back in the DMV from NYC and I wanted to scope the scene out before I actually jumped on the set. There was a cypher before the show start and I checked it out. Brain was probably the only white kid in the room. He also was the most comfortable. I joke with Brain about being born in the wrong decade all the time. He must've had Technics or a boom box in the womb with him. He's acquired this in-depth knowledge of hip-hop and is such a practitioner of it that it makes me jealous. 18 months later and I've probably done more shows with him than anyone else AND he's deservingly received coverage from some of my favorite bloggers. I booked him for my last show, we've got an authentic hip-hop single with Aye Yo Smiley (video dropping soon) and there will definitely be more shows we're rocking together going forward.

Layla Khepri

Layla Khepri is one of the reasons I try to be such an avid fan as well as a dope artist. She actually reached out to ME via Twitter and told me I was dope. Naturally, I checked her out a few days later and I got an email asking to open for her (S/O Ichor Music Group) as I was listening to her freestyle over Childish Gambino's "Bonfire." A few weeks later I got to experience her live and she does such a good job embodying the energy she emits on her tracks. Shit was wild. It was like she dropped you inside of one of her videos while she's on stage. She's since relocated south been killing things in our nation's trap capital. I got to link with her while I was on tour and we got to perform on this show in ATL  together. More importantly, I got to honestly chop it up with her, which is something that doesn't happen all that often.
Honestly, there's a decent amount of honorable mentions that I left off this list but there's a good chance there will be another one of these articles coming soon. For now, add these artists to your playlist and diversify your sounds!
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