The Washington, D.C./Maryland, Northern Virginia (DMV) region has long been rich with musical talent, producing several famous artists, especially among the soulful R&B genre. See Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack and even the father of Go-Go himself, Chuck Brown, for a quick reminder of the District’s legendary talent.
Yet the “DMV” has never quite been able to produce stars among the hip-hop/rap genre. That is until now.
Recently, there haven’t been many rappers as “hot” as Maryland native Wale’, who has flooded national airwaves with several hit songs throughout the last year. His music has garnered so much national love that nearly every lyrical rhymer in the area can't help but be inspired to chase his/her own dream of making it big off of rapping.
Suddenly, and perhaps finally, the spotlight is shining bright on the “DMV” and every aspiring artist wants a piece of it. The only issue is, with so much talent to listen to, who will stand out enough to be the next blow? According to 25-year-old D.C. native Brian Belser, it doesn't have to be just one next artist to blow. He has a plan that will get the entire DMV rap scene buzzing collectively.
What’s the plan? Belser told the AFRO it all starts with “unity.” That’s why he helped put together the ‘Welcome to Drama City Vol. 1’ mixtape, a project unlike any other currently released in the area. Produced by BigBusiness Entertainment, ClipStar TV and YBondaBeat Productions, ‘Welcome to Drama City’ is a compilation mixtape of all original songs that features 18 different rap/hip-hop artists from the DMV, including local favorites Low Lavish and AJ Staxx; it was released on this year’s Valentine’s Day, described by Belser as “the perfect day to release since it was a day of love and giving.”
The mixtape, which has a distribution deal with legendary record label Def Jam, can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.com for $.9.99; single songs from the mixtape can also be purchased for only .99 cents.
Belser said he was first inspired to put together the project when he was actually away from the D.C. area.
“I moved to Miami, Fla. for about two years and around this time D.C. music was starting to take off with Wale’ making moves and so on,” Belser told the AFRO. “I felt like we had so much talent in the area but from the outside looking in I seen how everything was moving and I felt like people didn’t want the City to succeed, they were just doing it for self.”
Belser said other cities like Atlanta, Miami, New York, and L.A. have such a buzz in the rap industry because their artists actually support and work with each other, something he claimed “D.C. rappers don’t do so much.”
“I feel like that’s the main reason we’re not as popular in the hip-hop community as we should be,” he said. “It’s so much talent here that many should be signed and millionaires by now. So I said when I move back, I’m going to put together a series of mixtapes highlighting rappers working with each other to show some type of unity.”
Belser told the AFRO his team is already working on ‘Welcome to Drama City, Vol. 2’ which should be released by Labor Day 2012. This time, the mixtape or as Belser calls it, “street album” will feature even more tracks with more artists and producers.
“The main thing people should know is that this is not a selfish project. We’re not doing it for one person; we’re doing this to get the whole city heard,” Belser said. “The goal is to get the City so much recognition that we can do songs with out of town artist for future projects. So if we keep getting support I think we can get there.”