The DMV music scene is more than the commercial success of Wale, GoldLink, Shy Glizzy, and even Fat Trel. For whatever reason, the music propagating from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia has remained just that--regional. A new wave of sound and artists are coming though, it's only a matter of time.
Washington D.C. has a rich culture of subgenres of music that have come to define our Nation's capital and its people. Take for example, a subgenre of funk, Go-Go music, which emerged in the mid 60s to late 70s. The unique regional fusion of percussion, horns, and R&B that has been a staple on District street-corners and block parties is representative of the diverse African and African American cultures and communities that take a back seat to the Federal operations of the Capital. Straight Up Go Go, a documentary produced and directed by Shuaib Muhammed Kedar and Shuaib Mitchell explores the roots of the music while providing a different perspective on the recent history of Washington, D.C. I recommend watching this film not only for the historical context, but also because it encompasses what the music of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia embodies--movement, expression, and soul.
The hip hop music that is being created within the region is reminiscent of the Go Go style not necessarily because of the sound, but because of its enthusiasm and impulsivity. Listen to lineformation (M.I.L.F) and you'll understand the kind of energy I am referring to. You can't just stand there and listen.
Mitch, Phlegm, Avi Twat, Big Trees, Tedy Brewski, Mexico, and The Sleaz, AKA "Lil' Boogie", make up the ensemble that is lineformation (M.I.L.F), a rap group based out of Washington, D.C. Operating on SoundCloud and Bandcamp, these guys just keep creating new projects after another. In the past four years, M.I.L.F has produced twelve major EPs or tapes, some focusing on a single member of the group, like M.I.L.F Mitch: Pink Panther EP, while others illustrate the sonic range of the entire team.
The description of M.I.L.F's most recent project, 10 Beers Deep, claims that the mixtape is, "a culmination of drunk songs," but I believe this to be an over simplification. 10 Beers Deep is a conceptual piece of music about the Navy Blue crew's hedonist lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. You might ask, 'What's so novel about a tape that sensationalizes those types of activities, especially when every other song being played on the radio is regurgitating the same topics?' 10 Beers Deep distinguishes itself from these other songs because of its varied approach. Typically when you hear a turn-up song, there is a common thread of production: the rapper shouts over the very heavy bass while the trap twists and reverbs fill the background. These tracks are called "bangers" for a reason; those consistent booms and bangs are relentless. lineformation (M.I.L.F) essentially discusses the same things, but sonically they are not one-dimensional.
One thing you'll note about 10 Beers Deep is the level of melody and chanting that is prevalent in songs like "This Guy That Guy", "Thottie Juice", and "Global Guts". The repetition of the phrases and individual words--"Guts, guts, global guts..."-- creates a rhythmic flow that evokes the same infectious swaying that you'd experience with a song, like "Sloppy Toppy" by Travis Scott. Moreover, the hollow sounds of "Cocaina", produced by RobSmokesBands, is an appropriate representation of the kind of empty euphoria one might feel under the influence of drugs.
The group's range and musicianship is evident in two of the mixtape's most radical songs, "10 Deep" and "Pussy Was Tight", produced by Trip Dixon/Gucci Luey and Maada respectively. The saxophone, which begins "10 Deep", is a refreshing addition to the heavy bass and snare hits, enabling the track to balance on moments of melody and much colder, hard-core moments where you can envision the mosh-pits in full affect. In no other song is M.I.L.F's drunkenness more apparent than in "Pussy Was Tight." The funky chords and pleading/droning you hear in Tedy Brewski's voice are evocative of the drunken motivations that creep up in your mind during the wee hours of the morning.
10 Beers Deep is effective because of the collaborative efforts lineformation (M.I.L.F) heavily believes in. In twelve tracks, six different artists were heard against the production of ten different producers. Multiple minds are greater than one. M.I.L.F's ability to play off one another's lyrics and beats as well as solicit input from outside creators yields a final product that is unique and dynamic, no matter how trivial a topic.
Check out lineformation's 10 Beers Deep above, and it can be downloaded along with their full discography on Bandcamp.