B. Knight by Alex Young

The Superstar You Don't See Coming.

B. Knight | Photos by Alex Young

Brian Michael Knight Jr. fired on his friends. He was funny cracking jokes against Kevin Galloway,  Nairobi Jones, Tykee Jones, and Terrell Robinson as they all clowned around eating McDonald's before they headed out into the night, Downtown, Pittsburgh winter weather to film a music video. Knight turned his attention to women who walked by in the lobby of Point Park University's apartment complex. Legs in tight jeans and complementary boots caught us staring. Once, Robinson cracked an unassuming smile and Knight said, "When you smile, it looks like you dookied on yourself." We all howled.

The '90s baby, Knight was "always attracted to entertainers," he said. He was a four-year-old standing on his bed performing for a large imaginary audience.

Now, he goes by B. Knight, and his then imagination for stardom manifests itself in B. Knight's performance and his upcoming mixtape called "Unapologetic."

Dancing came first, and his brother showed him how to moonwalk, but Knight said "both sides of my family sing" so doing both came naturally young. "Brian McKnight, I thought that nigga was my dad. I was all over his shit," he said. He remembers studying R&B legend Usher with his 2001 "8701" album, citing "U Remind Me" and "U Dont Have to Call" as good influences. "When Chris Brown came, it ruined my whole shit." The comparable artists describe an "edge" that features in B. Knight's music.

When it comes to the music, the 21-year-old McKeesport raised Knight finds that "it's so easy to make something organic."

"Unapologetic," a project executive produced by the sound of the streets Stevie B, is about "knowing you're the best," Knight said. And, "when you want to be humble, but you know who you are. When you're the best you, that's when it's over."

B. Knight's team allows him to be "unapologetically myself," he said. Stevie B's been an asset to the singer-songwriter. "We both got that same love for Usher. We listened to the same stuff coming up," Knight said of the super producer who gets credit for the music behind trap-stars like Hardo and Jimmy Wopo. However, "friendship" makes Knight's music work with Stevie B. Also, being around the producer influences B. Knight's writing process and his cadence. "I write my songs like raps," he said keying on his song "My Place."

Additionally, director Kevin Galloway, photographer Nairobi Jones, comrade Tykee Jones, and director Terrell Robinson support B. Knight with the professional aspects of his musical act. Galloway and Robinson were the cinematographer and director respectively for Knight's music video shoot for the interlude song on the "Unapologetic" tape called "SKEEE Back Interlude (3x in a Row)." It's a two-part story about Knight's life riding the bus to clock-in work at Target, and then the music video paints the picture of B. Knight the "superstar."

B. Knight, Kevin Galloway, Terrell Robinson and Nairobi Jones | Photos by Alex Young

For the set, the crew wanted comparisons to, "alleyways from 'Batman' or alleyways behind the club from hood movies," Robinson said. We travelled in a three-car convoy while Galloway and Robinson scouted alleys until they stopped at one between Commerce Street and Centre Avenue. Galloway called the video shots "sleek" that matched B. Knight's swagger "so people can see this and be like ‘he’s the star he says he is,'" Robinson continued. Cameraman Nairobi helped the visuals and composition. Knight trusts him because he moves "rapid with his profession."

The friendly vibe around the group makes standing in the cold covering the subjects enjoyable. Between Tykee, better known by his rap name Keys412, and B. Knight, "we know the common ground that we like music and weed and we pay attention to girls," Knight said.

"I like relationships. I'm really good at it," B. Knight said. "No, you like the idea of them," Keys finished. "Nowadays, [girls] want the whole shebang," Knight added. They always have, and they deserve the shebang, but now he says these elaborate prom proposals on Instagram are becoming too much. Being let down in love "helped my writing," he said focusing on the interview.

Overall, B. Knight knows he must "accept you're on a journey." When "Unapologetic" drops this spring, he feels like "it's 'gonna be a good moment."



What You Should Know About Foreverkool: Before The Dirt Vol. 1 by Alex Young

  Foreverkool Records'  "Before The Dirt Vol. 1" | Album art by Travis Carter

Foreverkool Records' "Before The Dirt Vol. 1" | Album art by Travis Carter

Foreverkool friends and music talents released their compilation mixtape called "Before The Dirt Vol. 1." Fk captain Choo Jackson said in an interview with swidlife publication, "It was fun finding a pocket in what I think 2018 should sound like and what my homies sound like now, too." Altogether, Foreverkool turned up here.

The digital bop lights the way in "Before The Dirt Vol. 1."

Aw yeah, aw yeah, aw yeah floss everywhere

Transform, 'wanna be a millionaire

[Phil800k in "Transform" with production by Staxx and a feature by Choo Jackson]

Along with the artists mentioned above, rappers SGE Bubba, SLIM, and Shaady feature on the project. Including Staxx, ChristoJay Card, Quentin "Q" Cuff are also responsible for production on "BTD." Album art is courtesy of Travis Carter. Credit the Foreverkool mates for setting the tone and contributing to the mixtape. Local Pittsburgh photographer and tastemaker Meez of The Cultivators helped "choose the songs," Choo said on his Twitter account. Twitter has been the go-to place for cool tidbits on the project regarding who helped make the magic. Pittsburgh influence is heavy, and so are Choo's Florida roots. Talent carries "Before The Dirt Vol. 1."

Another tidbit:

"Slim always been the best rapper, he like a rare Pokémon or something you gotta catch him, sit him in the studio and he will drop crazy shit, then will be out haha." - Choo Jackson

Listen to "Before The Dirt Vol. 1" below and look out for Choo's next project called "Lynn," a dedication to his mother, on June 19, 2018.

Good Music Roundup by Alex Young


New music hits the Pittsburgh music scene consistently. Keep up with some of the good music that's out in the 'Burgh now.

My Favorite Color - "GO!" 

Lyricist My Favorite Color shows his skill on his debut album, "GO!" At times, his raps are confident, strong, and freaky. "Young with no kids, but she talking like we got some," he raps in "Dollars." Yet, "GO!" is vulnerable in places too. In "Slanted" he says, "All these voices in my head should bother someone else." Then in the album's final song, he opens up saying, "Bitch left in eighth grade took my heart wit' her. Dad cheated on my mom, but she still wit' him." My Favorite Color's authenticity comes with his transparency, which listeners find they can relate to. Artists Benji and Pet Zebra support the project along with Cody Maimone, Dom Pomposelli, and Jeremy Rosinger of one800 music productions.

Choo Jackson - Drive Thru

ForeverKool's Choo Jackson is back with some bop. The rapper, who calls his style "grunge rap" on his SoundCloud page, drops off his latest single "Drive Thru" with the push of DJ Topgun's exclusive release and production by Clibbo.

LiveFromTheCity - Do You Love Me?

Musician LiveFromTheCity goes hopeless romantic in his new single, "Do You Love Me?" The song carries a cinematic and engaging musicality while Live ponders his relationship with his queen. "I just wanna give lil' mama all respect or nada," he says in the song.

Ahsé ft. Judah & Bossy - Starter | Ahsé - WHEN THEY TALK

Last we heard from rapper Ahsé he was moving to Los Angeles to chase his major label music dreams. So far, his time on the West coast has been valuable as it's "helped my music a lot with new experiences and new people. Honestly, a lot of opportunities out there, it all matters on who you know yah know," he said. We asked him about the great In-N-Out vs. Whataburger debate, and he said he prefers In-N-Out, but "I rather cook my own burgers." Check in with Ahsé by listening to his two newest songs, "Starter" and "WHEN THEY TALK," both of which dropped on the rapper's 20th birthday.

James Perry - SHE I

James Perry, a member of the Lokal Foreners rap crew, delivers his "SHE I" album. The project documents the "feelings of the encounters with other women," he said. Lokal Forener mate Hippy Swizzy adds production on the album. Perry also gets credit for self-producing his project. Listen to "DND" or "Blue Flame."

Kris Hollis - Invite Me Over

Taylor Gang's Kris Hollis returns with his smooth talk R&B in the form of a new extended play. With its sultry lyrics, "Invite Me Over" tempts the female listener and hits grooves to improve pillow talk. To start, hear the track "Lately."

$toney - $toney's World 1.5

One of the best music technicians in the 'Burgh is $toney. Give him credit for engineering trap-star Jimmy Wopo's songs and also give him credit for working with known hip-hop acts like Maxo Kream, Sonny Digital, and more so says his Twitter page. "$toney's World 1.5" is the follow-up to the 2017 "$toney World" the album. 1.5 jumps with fun, glitzy tones. The favorite track is "2On."

Pet Zebra - 5 Clips

Self-defense is everything no matter the arena and a Glock is Pet Zebra's tool of choice to keep himself safe. Listen to his chill single and understand his perspective on his second amendment right.

Nappy Nappa Joins The Bop Wave by Maxwell Young

Nappy Nappa's music has a spatial vibe to it.  Whether that be the reverb and synths paired with his trademark echo making you feel like you're adrift in the galaxy, or it's his crashing 808s and "T'd up" rage taking you through reentry, his sonics are not of this earth. 

However, yesterday was an exception, a return to orbit.  Drawn in by the millennium generation's gravitational pull, his latest song, "\+YENE FRIKIN+/," joins the bop music wave.  Produced by BASEDCHINK, the two-minute track has hints of those 8-bit video game sounds that have proliferated hip hop music over the last two years.  What's more is that Nappa's voice is auto-tuned, rapping about Rick Owens, Nike checks, and his "OFF WHITE soul."  This is both surprising and welcomed to hear, as this isn't a vibe the Southeast, D.C. rapper normally operates within.  It shows he's listening to his surroundings at the very least--never conforming and equipped to hit the mainstream should it come calling.  Listen to the track above.

Forehead Kiss III Is For The Lovers by Maxwell Young

For all lovers of love and lovers of music.

 Mix cover designed by The Kufi Smacker.

Mix cover designed by The Kufi Smacker.

Thomas, better known behind the ones and twos as "The Kufi Smacker," is likely to out aux chord you if you're about afro beats and grime music.

"I've been listening to grime since 2003," he said at Uptown Art House, running through b-sides from the pre-Skepta grime scene.  This is when the United Kingdom's garage genre by groups like The Streets still presided over radio waves.  "The first artist I heard was Kano or Dizzee Rascal."

Thomas is really just trying to dance.  FHKIII is representative of that fact, and it's just in time for you to catch the groove with your significant other on Valentine's Day.

"[Forehead Kiss] is the one kiss you give a girl that means she's the one.  You don't give them jawns out to anyone," he said about the inspiration behind his latest mix.

At 41 minutes, Thomas interlays a whole host of futuristic bounces to some familiar songs, new and old.  He covers the afro beat base with a remix of Juls' "Skin Tight," while later transitioning to a version of Masego's 2017 hit, "Navajo" that potentially sounds better than the original.  Around 22 minutes though, TKS hits this irresistible pocket remixing "Do For Love" into a perfect club joint.

Listen for yourself here, and if you're in D.C. don't miss him at 9:30 Club's Backbar on February 23.

Listen To Dreamcast's SoundCloud Bests on The Lost Tape by Maxwell Young

All those hits from "Dreamcast Burymeinamink vol. ii" & "vol. iii" are now thankfully in one place.  Download The Lost Tape today.

Davon Bryant AKA "Dreamcast" had a momentous 2017.  He found himself exploring the streets of London and Amsterdam thanks to the warm reception of his vinyl release of two funk, soul tracks "Liquid Deep" and "Summer Love."  D.C. based label Peoples Potential Unlimited, an esoteric record company focused on 80s funk preservation and discovering some of the best underground boogie, funk, and dance music, was responsible for the distribution of the seven inch.  Good luck trying to get your hands on the novelty, though--Dreamcast's record sold out.

"Primarily because the scene--this future funk, Dam-Funk, Sasac sort of style--never really had had a vocalist on the whole scene.  That's a shit load of producers who do it but don't have a vocalist and so "Liquid Deep" just sprouted, which is fun," he said in his Uptown Interview.

To cap the year, Bryant also found himself in a spotlight feature by The Fader.

His latest project, an LP called The Lost Tape, is a long-awaited compilation of tracks that Bryant had teased on SoundCloud to only leave listeners disappointed who came back to his page finding certain grooves missing.

DB: I like to experiment with a track...were you listening to that second project, "Dreamcast vol. ii?"

ITR: Yea, man.  Why the fuck did you delete "Devil's Red Dress" from SoundCloud?


DB: I want to put it back because I've gotten backlash from taking that shit down.

"Devil's Red Dress" is an ultimate rock ballad produced by Fat Kneel that Bryant said just sort of happened after a night of libations.  You can't go wrong with any of the ten tracks off The Lost Tape, honestly.  It opens with a chopped version of Three 6 Mafia's "Sippin on Some Syrup," while "Lonely Hearts Club," "Do You Wanna Go," and "Locked Up" allow Dreamcast's soulful vocals to shine through.

The Lost Tape is available for purchase on Bandcamp.  Let this release tide you over until Dreamcast's debut album set to drop later 2018.

Watch Jenna Camille's Roseanne Inspired Video for "Up & Down" by Maxwell Young

Jenna Camille plays a deflated wife vying for her husband's lust in the new video for her single, "Up & Down."

"I got this idea of writing this song about a working-class couple whose still trying to find the time to keep the spark going," she says in her upcoming 'Uptown Interview.'  "The video is inspired by Roseanne where Dan, her husband, is having dreams about another woman, and she's trying to figure out why he's not into having sex with her anymore...and trying to find ways to make their sex-life work."

 Art work designed by  St. Clair Castro , CMPVTR CLVB.

Art work designed by St. Clair Castro, CMPVTR CLVB.

Davon Bryant AKA Dreamcast, who's been featured in the Sounds of D.C. playlist and most recently in The Fader, plays disinterested Dan.  Both Camille and Bryant are consistent supporters of one another's artistry; find them in attendance at each other's D.C. shows, but perhaps there is an ulterior motive behind this collaboration.

"I feel like this is a question that could get me in trouble..." Camille said when asked why Dreamcast was the subject of choice.  "Well, one because to be honest--Davon--I feel the most comfortable with him as a leading person.  And two, because...don't make me answer that!"

"Up & Down" is now available on Bandcamp, where you can also download an exclusive Michael Jackson outro performed live at 9:30 Club.  Watch the video above.

Free, Jenna Camille's next album is on the way, stay tuned.

Late Bloom Radio on Full Service Radio by Maxwell Young

Sir E.U and Nate G on the bill for Episode 5 tonight.

 Tune in every Wednesday at  FullServiceRadio.org

Tune in every Wednesday at FullServiceRadio.org

The LINE DC hotel in Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C. has a real boutique, crunchy-granola vibe to its interior.  Its exterior shell is the redeveloped First Church of Christ, Scientist, which sits a short walk away from a McDonald's and the best diner in D.C., The Diner.  On the inside, though is this nouveau riche hotel lobby with Moroccan pillows lining the steps, a crooked full-length mirror, and three restaurant bar spaces with nouveau riche-type names, like 'The Cup We All Race 4,' 'Brothers and Sisters,' and 'A Rake's Progress.'  Undoubtedly they serve five dollar hot chocolates and $17 gin and tonics with locally sourced and farm-raised foods, which this mouth will never consume.

Situated amidst all this zhushing, encased in a glass box for the viewing pleasure of all the happy hour yuppies, is Full Service Radio.  You can't miss it with the pop art-styled, repetitive "ON" neon lights emanating from the deep blue wall.  The Station is truly something locally grown.  Founded by record producer/sound engineer/disc jockey, Jack Inslee who launched Heritage Radio Network in New York City, Full Service Radio has amplified the voices of 30 local hosts with 24/7 online streaming that hotel guests also have access to in their rooms.


One of these shows is Late Bloom Radio, co-hosted by quintessential D.C. artists Jamal Gray and St. Clair Castro--the maestros behind Ctrl Space CMD that occurred in the spring of 2017.  Four episodes in, Late Bloom is a mix of new and rare music spanning the genres of future soul, psychedelic, experimental hip hop, house, electronic, and ambient.  On Wednesday's from 6pm-8, the show features extended mixes, in-studio performances and interviews with artists and activists representing the DMV community.  It's very much the sonic version of the late 1970s exploratory show, 'TV Party' as a whole roost of creatives move in and out of soundscapes.  Join us tonight when we talk to Sir E.U fresh off the release of his new project Some Friend You Are and Uptown's native son, Nate G.

My Favorite Color featuring Pet Zebra - Voices by Alex Young

 Photograph via  My Favorite Color's  Instagram | Question & Answer between ITR and My Favorite Color

Photograph via My Favorite Color's Instagram | Question & Answer between ITR and My Favorite Color

Hip-hop product, My Favorite Color readies to release his debut album, "Go!". Smartly, the rapper offers a single to start his catalog off strong. The track "Voices" hits cooly with fun references like "Ruby Tuesday on a Thursday," while dismissing a psychosis happening in the hook, "I keep hearing voices, yelling at me silently about my choices," My Favorite Colors raps. Pet Zebra boosts the track with a verse too.

This music output has a local Pittsburgh touch through My Favorite Color, Pet Zebra, and the production credits to One800 collective. Look out for the "Go!" album on Feb. 9, 2018.

Nappy Nappa and Marty Heem Cherry Share "BACK2ATLANTIS" Music Video by Maxwell Young

Thank you Nappy Nappa and Marty Heem Cherry for taking us back to the golden age of music videos.

By now, InTheRough readers should be in-the-know about Nappy Nappa, the bourgeoning rapper from the District of Columbia. If not, read up about his latest endeavors here.  He and fellow LAD Marty Heem Cherry have released visuals to their song "Back2Atlantis," which is a single off Nappa's latest EP "RawDogRawLoveRawGod part 1: Ascenshun"

Reminiscent of Eiffel 65's pre-millennium hit "Blue" or the Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life" anthem, the three-minute video features an intergalactic trip through space and time.  On their journey, Nappa and Marty are joined by brother Auto Lola to defend the nation's capital from an extraterrestrial invasion, or so we think.  Perhaps it was all a game as the Emre Yagci directed video ends with a vintage arcade console siloed in a dark street alley between garbage dumps and empty liquor bottles.  Check out the video above and stay tuned for more content from Nappy Nappa. 

Nappy Nappa's "+RAWDOGRAWLOVERAWGOD+ part 1: Ascenshun" Out Now by Maxwell Young

Listen to Nappy Nappa's seven-track EP available on all streaming platforms.


The Southeast, D.C. rapper cemented a momentous and prolific last four months with the release of his new project “+RawDogRawLoveRawGod+ part 1: Ascenshun” on Tuesday.  The EP was dropped following a recent trip to the United Kingdom, an appearance on Adult Swim’s Blood Feast Livestream in Atlanta, 19 original gems on SoundCloud, and an opening act for up-and-coming New York emcee, Wiki, at Songbyrd Music House just last week.

Featuring cover art that is an abstraction of Notorious B.I.G’s classic Ready to Die album cover, Nappa’s project veers towards the sonically abstract, too. Distorted, computer-sounding bleeps and bloops are common elements throughout the RawGod’s production, including songs like “1w” and “Boost Project,” a track that was first heard on In Studio Live.

In “Ascenshun//Intens Anticipation,” Nappa sings a chorus that sounds cathartic for him, blocking the “wickedry” in the world as he puts it.

“I raise my head from my pillow.  That’s when I live my dreams.”

Napito is focused on his music, although it doesn’t always come off that way.  At his show with Wiki, he was turnt all the way up with fellow LADS Auto Lola and Marty Heem Cherry, who also appear on the project. During the Blood Feast Livestream, he and mentor Sir E.U started scrapping on the floor, mid-broadcast because E.U interrupted a moment of silence prompted by Nappa himself.  These instances of chaos, choreographed or not, do not cloud Nappa’s earnestness to deliver a trademark set.  “I was sent to earth on a mission, so like Moses or Martin, I’m not the most perfect person, far from it, and I may not make it to the Promised Land, but we should see to it that as many people/generations/babies [as possible] can make it,” he wrote over email.

 Nappy Nappa on set, Blood Feast Livestream

Nappy Nappa on set, Blood Feast Livestream

The project takes a funky turn with “MPH//Bend’n Forc’z,” which is sure to maximize Nappa’s energy on stage.  It’s reminiscent of Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps,” albeit way groovier and synthed out.

From the Kangol hats to the Nike Blazers, it feels like Nappy Nappa is an old head at heart.  He feels it, too, writing “#oldcity” in his SoundCloud bio in reference to the District as a once “Chocolate City,” and he signs off his tape with the bars “Southeast, South, Southeast” in an ode to Boogie Down Productions’ 1987 classic, “South Bronx.”

“I’m blessed to be from D.C.,” he says.  “I feel as though my energy/spirit to be aware, selfless and active comes from [D.C.], but it’s bigger than me and where I’m from.”

You can listen to Nappy Nappa’s “+RawDogRawLoveRawGod+ part 1: Ascenshun” on all streaming platforms now.

Look out for Nappy Nappa in volume two of the ‘Sounds of D.C.’ playlist coming soon.


Ta Ta For Now, Ahsé by Alex Young

Local Pittsburgh Rapper Michael Ahsé Moltz Moves to Los Angeles

Matt LeBlanc, Roach, Ahsé, Rio, James Perry | Photograph by Alex Young

Like most kids, Ahsé (Awe•Say) walks around in a T-Shirt, jeans, and Jordan brand sneakers. Though as he sits for interview, the 19-year-old dons a white, fur trench coat and platinum grills on his teeth.

His Hollywood, and classic rapper aesthetic prelude the rapper's forthcoming move to Los Angeles where he will pursue a job with Universal Studios.

Before he departs, Ahsé shares memories in the studio he's recorded past songs and with his friends who've experienced life with him. Matt LeBlanc, a producer who tasted viral success with the track "Damn Daniel," sits in front of the desktop Mac. Shakkur Thomas, a.k.a. Roach, one of Ahsé's best friends, sits on the floor with his knees to his chest. "I can feel 2Pac's emotions," he says. James Perry matched Roach on the opposite side of the room. Both Roach and Perry join Ahsé in the Lokal Foreners rap crew along with Hippy Swizzy and Que Dafoe.

Matt plays a song he made with Ahsé called "Fanny Pack." "Recording this shit was fun as hell. This is my favorite verse you did here," Matt says.

Suddenly, "bring that cypher," Matt says. "James you tryna get in that freestyle," Ahsé asks. James agrees to rap.

"How shallow is you? Step out of your body for a little," James says. "Open those eyes and let you walk with me," Ahsé adds.

The room is pleasant, kids having fun listening to music. "What I saw was the energy [from Ahsé]," Matt says.

If Ahsé isn't rapping, he's on his skateboard. "I definitely skated before I rapped," he says. He remembers walking from his home in Penn Hills to the Duff Skate Park and then walking to the Timebomb streetwear shop in East Liberty where he met the owner, Brick. "We got paid to skate and slap stickers around. Brick sets up the opportunities."

Additionally, Ahsé rode for the Daily Bread lifestyle label. They gave Ahsé and his We're Not Free skate crew free clothes.

Growing up, "the only way I could express my emotions was through art," Ahsé says. He started making music when he was 15-years-old. Ahsé's family put him onto good music. His mom gave him vinyl records by Prince, Anita Baker, Tina Turner, and Al Green. His brother, Nick Moltz, played him Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon" for the first time.

A post shared by InTheRough (@intheroughstyle) on

"My older siblings are my guidance to somethings," Ahsé says as six of nine Moltz children. He values his friends too. He carries on the life of his friend Todd Dye, who was killed by police brutality in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 2015. The phrase "If you don't have a target, you'll always miss" is something Todd told Ahsé and it's a tattoo on his arm now. "If not for We're Not Free and Todd, everything would be different," he says.

While Todd's life drives Ahsé, the rapper has yet to release a mixtape. He has solid collaborations with Lokal Forener mate Hippy Swizzy and another local rapper named Bossy. Currently, Ahsé wants to "build up" for the release of his debut project, "Age of Aquarius." The tape's title plays on Ahsé's spirituality, sense of self, and zodiac sign. He calls himself a buddhist. "The higher power has been in yourself the whole time," he says.

If you don’t have a target, you’ll always miss.
— Todd Dye

As Ahsé gets ready to board his plane to L.A. and start life in a new place, he says he'll be back in the 'Burgh soon, and to his friends, "stay golden," as Todd would say.

ROUGH SAMPLE by Alex Young

We've been busy archiving plenty of music for 'Rough', InTheRough's debut event at Uptown Art House.  On October 27, D.C. will be the scene for a mixed media music and art show celebrating youth and its creative communities.  Tracks receiving national attention like Brockhampton's "Swamp" and the posse-cut "Walk on Water" from A$AP Mob, are just a swab of the sounds guests will hear at 'Rough.'  Favorite songs from the night's live performances including District-artists Sir E.U, Tedy Brewski, and Rob Smokes feature in the playlist.

intherough flyer 2.jpg

Get right and we'll see you at the party.


October 27th @ 7pm

Uptown Art House

3412 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20008

Linwood and Sierra Sellers Deliver Mood Music by Alex Young

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 2.52.42 AM.png

Some artists consistently execute moods, like a tranquil hit sensitive enough to talk about love and experience over raw beats.

Musicians Linwood Randolph and Sierra Sellers represent that balance here. Their dynamic created a beautiful collaboration in the song "She Tried" produced by Zach Healy and observed by Connor Duddy. Linwood's on a roll since his "Let's Not Wait Til Summer" E.P.

Plus, Sellers premiered a tender new song of her own called "Gimme." To attain love, commit.

Enjoy the mood set by a local Pittsburgh cast.

The Tedy Brewski Interview by Maxwell Young

Words from rap's underground veteran.

 Tedy Brewski photograph by Maxwell Young

Tedy Brewski photograph by Maxwell Young

Tedy Brewski didn't appear in InTheRough's VibeRotation playlist until late 2015 when the DMV-based rapper featured prominently on a few tracks of D.C. family lineformation M.I.L.F's tape, Ten Beers Deep.  His song "Global Guts" was an instant favorite as his rhythmic chanting evoked infectious head-nods.  Brewski has since released four solo projects, his most recent the Platinum Beach EP, and a number of singles through SoundCloud.

He moves with ease over boom bap beats and adds his twist to the generation of 'mumble rap' on songs like "My First Time" and "Blue Dream" found in The Tedy Brewski Playlist.  But it's also not rare to hear him align his tone to emo grooves and rage.  Originally from Chicago, Tedy Brewski is an internet rapper in the sense that his songs cover a variety of sounds, but also because his ears are tuned to the developments in hip hop.

"Man I listen to everything," he says.  "I'm influenced by everything...some shit is influenced by me and some shit influences me.  I will listen to everything that's coming out: Rich the Kid, Lil' Pump, Famous Dex, you know?  And a lot of my new songs are inspired by that kind of shit.  In some ways I wanna keep up, but in some ways that shit is hot.  I wanna make what's hot, man."

Brewski started rapping at age 13 due to influences including A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, and Kanye West's "The College Dropout" album.  "I just remember being like, 'Oh, word.  I don't have to be gangster to be a rapper,'" he said reflecting on his formative years.

Now at 27-years-old, Tedy laments that he's a bit old in terms of "rapper years."  He broke down this sentiment further saying, "The people who get the deals and stuff or the people who are chosen are like 18, 16, 18...19 [years old]."

Perhaps more of a commentary on the music industry than his own progress as a rapper, Brewski doesn't seem to take anything too seriously.  In fact, it is this unfiltered, nonchalance that adds to the intrigue of Team Brew.

The thing about me, I’m not necessarily forcing anything.  When you force this shit it gets fucked up.

Before publishing the "Platinum Beach" E.P. in August, Brewski was relatively quiet on streaming platforms--ten months he went without new music.  Instead, he proliferated his Twitter and Instagram accounts with entertaining and personable content.  Catch him manning the grill in a custom 'Chef Brewski' apron or posting a series of "sexy sultry" photos of a "local pussy cat."  Anything goes for the skinny swag emcee.

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Brewski's comedic quirkiness translates through his tone and lyrics, too.  His voice is liable to go from high-pitched to 'hefty-bro' in a matter of bars.  And much like Eminem layered tracks on "The Slim Shady LP" with multiple characters, Brewski also integrates different characters into his songs such as "Woke Boi Freestyle."

"I probably got the quirkiness from West Hartford, Connecticut," he says.  "I lived in West Hartford for the majority of my life--from ten to 18.  Just being a fucking suburban-guy, like being a city kid who goes to a suburban school that's mostly white people.  You end up with like a whole mixture of all this bullshit."


ITR: Can you walk me through your "Woke Boi Freestyle"?

TB: Oh yea, man.  "Woke Boi" was originally called "Broke Boi Freestyle," but then my internet friend, Kemet Dank, I don't know if you've ever heard of Kemet Dank.  He's like another Based God disciple, but he was like 'Yo, this is woke.  This is a woke boi,' and then I had to change the name.  When I was in D.C. there was a Playboi Carti show at 9:30 [Club]...no it wasn't 9:30 it was one that got closed, but I forget what it was called.  That shit was mad fun.  I was just jumping around and shit, just like 'Damn, I gotta evolve my style to do some other shit.'  But that sound is influenced by André 3000.  When I came to college at UMD, Lil' Wayne was the shit.  He had 'Da Drought', 'The Carter', the 'Dedication' tapes...But with ["Woke Boi"] I wanted to freestyle, you know, ball all the way.

ITR: Is [mumble rap] hip hop music to you?

TB: Definitely, man.  I think at the end of the day that stuff was influenced by 'snap rap' and 'snap rap' was influenced by 'gangsta rap' and 'gangsta rap' was influenced by 'boom bap' I would say.  It's like a long heritage of shit that I try to keep up with.  Like Lil' B's new tape, he really went all the way back to the 80's that was funny.

ITR: That was awesome.  I knew about Lil' B, but I wasn't really listening to him whenever he put out his last tape.  So ['Black Ken'] is my understanding of Lil' B.  it was kind of like a synthesis of decades.

TB: Yea, it's great because he produced the whole thing.  I've got whole tapes I produced, too.  'Typical Black Punks,' I don't know if you've heard that...that shit is crazy.  I try and jump between sounds because I wanna cover everything that is affecting me in my life.

ITR: What kind of relationship do you have with M.I.L.F?

TB: I moved out to D.C. in 2015, chilling with M.I.L.F--good friends.  We've been through our bullshit, but I've known them since 2009.  M.I.L.F was created by M.I.L.F Mitch and Phlegm.  They went to Howard together.  One of my boys who I went to high school with, Noah, he went to Howard for a couple years and met those guys.  We linked through that because I went to UMD.  But M.I.L.F is their creation, and M.F.K--Marcy Mane is working with Goth Money in Los Angeles and shit--he was a big part of M.I.L.F back in the day.  I just wanna preserve their legacy, you know?

TB: I put up the M.I.L.F Mansion documentary on my YouTube last week.  The footage is from a year and a half ago.  I was on U Street two weeks ago, just chilling, and nobody knows what we were doing at that time.

ITR: I noticed you put out videos that were filmed years ago.  Is that on purpose?

TB: It's not on purpose.  Going into them it was like, 'I got to do this right now,' but things come up: there's personal conflict and my own struggles, so maybe I'm not fully comfortable putting out a crazy-ass video at this point.  It's not about figuring it out.  It's just when it works it works, you know?

ITR: That makes your fans want more.

TB: I'm working with my boy who lives in Brooklyn.  I met him when I was in film school maybe like 4 or 5 years ago, his name is Aaron.  We've got a cool video.

ITR: What's next?

TB: I got the thing called Team Brew, you might have seen the logo.

ITR: The merch is fire.

TB: I'm gonna bring back some of the merch, like 'Typical Black Punks' merch and 'Space Cowboy' merch.  I'm also gonna make the Team Brew shirts.  I feel like once it all comes together it'll make sense.  I just got started with Photoshop.  That's what I've been doing recently.  I've been making memes and stuff, just because memes rule the world...the meme war is coming soon, man, be ready.

You Need to Know Saani Mac - BLK 1.0 by Alex Young

 Cover art by  Sakony

Cover art by Sakony

Saani Mac, also known as Macroderma Giga which means ghost bat, is a hip-hop artist who deserves your support and to be in your music library.

Mac's new album, "BLK 1.0," carries a bustle and grim that he relates to his hometown Pittsburgh.

The first thing ears pick up is the spunk injected into each beat. Producers Axiom, Babyt33th, DJ Jaybee (another one of Mac's aliases), Linwood, and Yung Mulatto all contribute to the digital dash Mac presents.

Additionally, the 'Burgh theme appears in numerous ways starting with the cast of aforementioned local producers. Boastful pride synonymous with yinzers plays heavy too. In "UDN2K," the song starts off with a chant, "Pittsburgh, if you know that black n' gold," then turns hype and details traits of the city while naming neighborhoods like Springhill and Brookline. "My city is a big, small town 'cause everything you do and say gets around," Mac raps. Though there's plenty of Pittsburgh name drops, the praise doesn't sound cheesy. These tracks on "BLK 1.0" are turnt. Listen to "type shit." Get buck.

The Tedy Brewski Playlist by Alex Young

 Tedy Brewski photographed by Maxwell Young

Tedy Brewski photographed by Maxwell Young

Following his 2016 project Space Cowboy, Tedy Brewski has released a new EP--Platinum Beach.  It must have been the DMV native's hyper-patience that kept him from releasing music in over ten months because we know he's been grinding.  "Staying up 'til six in the morn' making songs," the underground rap veteran says in "Blue Blockers," a song that makes you want to get in your car and drive.

Dubbed the 'best backpack rapper,' Brewski is back on the creative wave.  While dropping the six-track project at the end of August, he also published a series of what he tagged as '#Alternative Rock' songs on SoundCloud.  "In My Dutchie" and "Blue Dream"--a track Tedy Brew released just four days ago--both capture that new wave bop that's reminiscent of sounds by bourgeoning producer Pi'erre Bourne or mainstream hits like "Please Shut Up" in Cozy Tapes Vol. 2.

"I listen to everything and I'm influenced by everything.  Some shit is influenced by me and some shit influences me," he says over a blunt. 

Enjoy the 'Tedy Brew Playlist and Groove' below, and stay tuned for his upcoming interview.

Slicky Williams Gives Acapella Freestyle and a Message to Lost Youth by Alex Young

 Slicky Williams photograph by Alex Young

Slicky Williams photograph by Alex Young

Slicky Williams stands on pride rock speaking to InTheRough. This thing is huge, the rock sits in Pittsburgh's Highland Park. Walk down a path next to the picnic pavilions and hope to find it under a canopy of trees. Slick tucks away from his native Homewood neighborhood to smoke blunts back here. "It's a nice way to start the day," he says.

The blunt passes back and forth, and the 22-year-old R&B talent named Sh'mi White describes his music. "My music is just me. It's how I'm feeling. It's soulful. The only way I can describe it is like Bryson's shit, Trap Soul."

Which means sensitive and raw qualities of 'trap soul' present in Slicky's newest song, "Fake Moves" produced by WavinLane.

Further, balance is the key element to Slicky's music. Past tracks like "My Wrist" smash with stories of riding around in a Mitsubishi Lancer with rap friend Pk Delay. Though the tales of mobbin' around the city are fun, Slick shows compassion too. He touches on a romance with his songs "Fiend For You" or "Me You Us." Sincerely, Slicky tries "to talk about how I survive the situations that could damn near break people," he says.

Hardships in the city leave people stuck choosing between "the good and bad shit," Slick says. Right now he's pondering buying a gun 'cause "too many niggas out here dying I can't be another one," he raps acapella for ITR.

A post shared by InTheRough (@intheroughstyle) on

I paint the picture for the troubled kids, the kids in the mix between good and bad who everyday have to figure out which way to go.

Purposefully, he speaks for lost youth, and Slicky also champions the 'Burgh's hip-hop community. "The scene in Pittsburgh is coming around. Artists need to support each other," he says.

In 2015, Slicky's mate in The Company Only rap collective, Joel Kellem (Pet Zebra), won The King of The 'Burgh rap competition. That title gave notoriety to everyone in The Company Only like Deem, Fat Corey, Pk Delay, and Seas. "Things started poppin' off" after the collective got their first headline called the "Hotbox" show in Downtown Slicky remembers.

Since then the trap-soul artist finds his sound. Great tracks like "Ain't Nothing" will appear on the Slicky Williams SoundCloud account and disappear months later if he's not satisfied. The substance is important to his messages. "I live life in between the music. This is a lifestyle," he says.

Altogether, Slicky wants his fans to know that regardless of the circumstance, "you're not alone."



Slicky Williams - Fiend For You by Alex Young

"In your ocean, I just want to swim... She make me want to have a junior."

 Slicky Williams photograph by Alex Young

Slicky Williams photograph by Alex Young

Primarily, R&B artist Slicky Williams separates himself from the pack because his music confidently explores intimacy, love, and relationships. He isn't "stuck in the stigma of being a hood nigga" making trap music he said in a forthcoming interview with InTheRough. The Homewood, Pittsburgh native has bangers and soul with some funk in between.

Enjoy Slick's new song "Fiend For You" below, and look out for an acapella freestyle along with the Slicky Williams profile soon here.

NVSV - Villain by Alex Young

Producer and rapper NVSV [NASA] sustains himself in Pittsburgh's music community. He spends long hours at Library Collaborative, a full-service recording studio and independent record label located between the Dormont-Whitehall boroughs.

The 'Burgh has welcomed NVSV with open arms since he moved to the city from Baltimore in 2011. In the hip-hop scene, he's brushed shoulders with trap-stars like Stevie B, the infamous producer who crafted Jimmy Wopo's "Elm Street," and Reese Youngn's engineer.

At Library Collaborative, NVSV meshes well with a crew of talented artists who produce in the hip-hop and rock genres. Their space is interesting, racks of vinyl line the walls, purple hallways feature sensational art, there's a full-environment green screen, plenty of recording studios, and much more. Library is a diamond in the rough that is Pittsburgh.

Now, NVSV dedicates himself to his music and all the resources that Library provides him. Off the cusp of enjoying "Like Me" on VibeRotation 27, NVSV releases a new song and video called "Villain."

Listen to the new track and understand his perspective when he says, "I'm in a dream I gotta leave 'cause the real world never wait." ITR readers can have a thorough review of NVSV's processes, life experience, and the Library Collaborative soon here.