Tune in: Nappy Nappa Live on Adult Swim by Maxwell Young

Tune in 10pm

Tune in 10pm

During the 1970s, the District of Columbia proudly bore the moniker "Chocolate City" as it was the first majority black city in America.  With respect and admiration, Southeast rapper Nappy Nappa looks like he's coming straight out of the Chuck Brown Go-go.  He's been spotted wearing his trusty, white Nike Blazers, Kangol hats, berets, zipped up (or down) track jackets, and most confidently, bell bottom pants at the local scenes like Uptown Art House and Backbar.

Nappy Nappa boasts credits including The Washington Post and The Fader, as well as featuring in ITR's 'Sounds of D.C.' playlist.  This evening he adds another, performing on Adult Swim's Bloodfeast live stream, a daily show "exploring the mind through perspectives on art, sexuality, psychology, spirituality, and relationships."

Nappy Nappa stopped by 'Rough' for a brief performance. Photographs by Maxwell Young

Nappa's 30 to 45-minute set begins at 10pm and is being broadcast from Atlanta.  Fans of the "rawdog" can view the show by downloading the app here.

Rapping, "I done spilled mumbo sauce on my 993s in the CFP/Dawg, I'm too D.C./Said I'm too D.C," there's no telling what homegrown aesthetic Nappy Nappa debuts for the internet.  Tune in and support the national push.  

Watch This Cool Skateboarding Video Part by Rage Club by Alex Young

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"Welcome to the Club" by Cleveland based clothing company Rage Club at its core is an entertaining video with parts of skateboarding. It's much more though because the skaters' antics and dedication to hitting tricks, paired with the crazy tracklist that DJ TOPGUN lined up is hype. The footage by Thomas Netkowicz shows the Club skaters in California, Ohio, and Pennsylvania skating city-scape terrain.

Authentic youth and skate culture stack up here. The kids aren't wearing Thrasher Magazine shirts for nothing. Zay Jones tries to jump a 21-step staircase six times. He keeps injuring himself and keeps going, "legendary." There's crazy, painful looking fails throughout "Welcome to the Club," but credit the degree of tricks. Everything is tight when the beats drop and skaters like Cris Lesh, Kevin Perez, Jalen Willis, and more land tricks. TOPGUN, the creator of Rage Club, features in the part along with pieces of Club clothing, such as a long-sleeve, hat, and "FDT" shirt.

Photo by @_philms

Photo by @_philms

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Additionally, the entire project has relevance in Pittsburgh because the video has parts filmed in the city and it debuted at One Up Skate Shop on East Carson Street last Saturday, Nov. 4, and DJ TOPGUN is active in the 'Burgh's hip-hop scene. He's brought Cleveland artists, like Shawn K, to rock out here in the 412. Rapper Choo Jackson attended the "Welcome to the Club" debut.

Watch and follow the Club. Tracklist at 16:03.

A 'Rough' Recap by Alex Young

'Rough' has ushered in an era of tangible experiences by InTheRough.  Last Friday, Uptown Art House opened its doors to the ITR family, allowing some Pittsburgh creatives to enhance the "community type vibe," as one party-goer David Gilmour put it.  While tracks from iTunes libraries and SoundCloud playlists rang through "The Factory" space, art from Quaishawn Whitlock and impromptu performances by Sir E.U, Tedy Brewski, Nappy Napa & The Best Rapper in D.C. fulfilled the night's celebration.  Thank you to Parker Blair, Maps Glover and Jamal Gray for your cooperation and partcipation.

Throwing a party is like riding a bike: the more you ride, the smoother it becomes.  Let's ride to Pittsburgh. 


+ "You guys have great transitions." Jamal Gray

+ "I think this is the epitome of what the Art House should be." Sebastian Medina-Tayac

+ "The right people are here." Alex Hersh

 

Senseless Moves to Penn Avenue by Alex Young

Javed and Rome Watson of Senseless | Photographs by Alex Young

The last time customers stepped inside of the streetwear boutique Senseless, the shop was tucked away on Pittsburgh's North Side. It was a "start" for Javed and Rome Watson's entrepreneurial venture.

Bigger aspirations and a larger inventory pushed the brothers to a new location in the heart of the 'Burgh's culture scene, East Liberty.

Senseless now sits at 5124 Penn Avenue. Penn Ave will be an asset to the shop for foot traffic and "different events for First Fridays," Javed said. "We can throw parties outside" on the back patio, Rome said.

"We don't want to limit ourselves. We want to be in the forefront pushing shit," Javed said.

Consumers can find Bape, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Jordan, Supreme, and more clothiers in-store. VIntage finds also feature on the long T-shirt and jacket racks.

Photographs by Tyler Calpin

Senseless can offer more with a sizeable showroom. It's big enough for a fish tank. To premiere the new shop, Senseless hosted a Halloween party on Saturday, October 28. Javed, who doubles as businessman and rapper, performed along with hip-hop acts Linwood and DJ Jaybee. Photographer Tyler Calpin shot a lookbook with some of the items for sale in the shop. His prints hung on the tall walls.

Shop Senseless Monday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m and Sunday by appointment only.

Cool Things Happening in D.C.- Halloweekend by Maxwell Young

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Do you have Halloweekend plans in the District?

Although trick-or-treating down Embassy Row is an experience every D.C. transplant should have, here's a list of alternative events occurring over the next several days.

1. October 26- RAYGUNOMICS & Emotio

Jamal Gray (middle) and Dajando Smith (right) at Funk Parade 2017. Photograph by Maxwell Young

Jamal Gray (middle) and Dajando Smith (right) at Funk Parade 2017. Photograph by Maxwell Young

Kwesi Lee of Emotio.

Kwesi Lee of Emotio.

Jamal Gray, Kwesi Lee, and Dajando Smith are members of Washington, D.C.'s premiere rock-fusion band Nag Champa.  On Thursday, they will be performing as RAYGUNOMICS--an intergalactic parade of futuristic hip hop, funk, jazz, and go-go sounds.

Kwesi Lee, the guitarist from Nag Champa, will also be playing with a "vegan space metal" band from Maryland known as Emotio.

Dew Drop Inn

2801 8th St, NE

$5 | 8pm

2. October 26- Ace Cosgrove & Bob Moe Kill & Hardwork Movement

Ace Cosgrove has been busy performing his latest project Ms. Claire's Basement with experimental jazz group, BADBADNOTGOOD.  He returns to the District on Thursday to play a set at the hip Velvet Lounge with Bob Moe Kill and Philadelphia's Hardwork Movement. 

Velvet Lounge

915 U St, NW

$15 | 8:30pm

3. October 27- ROUGH

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We got action at The Factory. #debutparty #DMV

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It wouldn't be Halloweekend without a keg and bottomless drinks right? 

'Rough' is InTheRough's debut event.  It is a mixed media music and art show celebrating the youth movement in D.C. and its creative communities.  Friday night's show includes visual contributions from artist Quaishawn Whitlock while Tedy Brewski, Sir E.U, and Rob Smokes are among the musical stylings for the night.  Bring your dancing shoes.

Uptown Art House

3412 Connecticut Ave, NW

$10 drink ticket | 7pm

4. October 28- Mr. Daywalker

Mr. Daywalker photgraphed by Maxwell Young

Mr. Daywalker photgraphed by Maxwell Young

Mr. Daywalker, AKA percussion's free spirit, will be performing new music at the Love + Solidarity Collective this Saturday.  Go and see what the quirkiness is all about.

Love + Solidarity Collective

439 Park Road, NW

Free | 9pm

5. October 28- Enter the Void

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House of MXD is taking over the Art House this Saturday for their artist showcase "Enter the Void."  Artists like Dawn Musa, Kleonaptra, and St. Clair Castro will be setting the vibes.  Costumes are encouraged!

Uptown Art House

3412 Connecticut Ave, NW

$5 | 3-6pm

NVSV Directs Library Collaborative Tour & Breaks Down Life, Music, and a Beat by Alex Young

Know Pittsburgh Hip-Hop and the New Studio Making It

NVSV in Library Collaborative's green screen room | photograph by Alex Young

NVSV in Library Collaborative's green screen room | photograph by Alex Young

While talking about the benefits of signing a record deal, the rapper NVSV's (NASA) manager, Chanice Lazarre, popped her head in his yellow and blue studio-office to ask, "do you want to do a show at Diesel," the club on Pittsburgh's South Side. The 24-year-old music producer and rapper said yes as he appreciates the exposure.

Through that show and others, and credit to his management at Library Collaborative's independent record label, NVSV has cemented himself as a contributing member of the 'Burgh's local hip-hop scene by taking opportunities to perform. He performed a trap hip-hop show in Butler, Pa. and performed at James Street Gastropub on the North Side last weekend.

NVSV's music features "a lot of personal experience, lessons, and self-reflection. I want people to see what I'm living through," he said.

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At Library Collaborative, "we have artists on the label right now. I am one of them. Then there's Juice, L K Hae, he's like an alternative rock type act, and Tremoravia, he's like a hard rock guy," NVSV said. SMTATOE, a guitarist and pianist, as well as the rapper Vapo Reeves benefit from the label's resources. The diversity of the Library's in-house artists is the best resource. "We definitely have a catalog or library of musicians from different backgrounds," he said.  If "I need these [piano] keys, I can go around the corner and be like, 'Smitty [SMTATOE], can you play these keys for me?' And Smitty is damn near a classically trained pianist."

"Everyone is feeding off everyone else's process, so you end up learning a lot about how all the artists here approach what they do," SMTATOE said. "I've learned a lot from just trying new approaches I wouldn't have tried."

NVSV's appreciation for eclectic styles of music came from his childhood while he grew up in Baltimore. "I listened to a lot of everything... There was a lot of house music and a lot of gospel music. With my mom, I grew up Christian. I went to Catholic schools," he said.

Listeners of NVSV can draw comparisons to Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. He said he relates to Chicago music the most, and that the listener needs to accept what they're not accustomed to.  "I don't get too caught up in the braggadocios [raps]," NVSV said.

Importantly, NVSV saw education as his way out of the 'hood. Music "was a hobby" of his while he matriculated through school. "When all of my friends are going to the zone school, and they see me going to school with a suit and tie on, I knew education would always be my way out of the city," NVSV said.

It wasn't until NVSV attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2011 when he understood the profitability of making music. "I encountered a lot of people who were artistic in their respect," he said. One of the owners of Library Collaborative, Shane Johnson, attended The Art Institute and that's how NVSV learned about the studio.

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After graduation in 2015 with a degree in Industrial Design, NVSV, officially Aaron Adkinson, took a job with Invent Help where he did 3D printing. He'd head straight to the Library after his nine to five shift, and he'd stay there until three in the morning producing all the beats he'd rap over (he produces under the moniker SWGLTUUF). "The owners saw the drive of the musicians they had here. It's just a dedication to that craft that made the owners go forward and start a record label," NVSV said.

The Library Collaborative opened its doors as a full-service multi-media recording studio in Pittsburgh's South Hills on October 13, 2017. They have rooms for recording live instrumentation with guitars and drums, a full environment green screen, a projector room, and more. Artists on the label, like NVSV and SMTATOE, help run the studio's operations and manage clients.

Further, the Library focuses on "making sure the quality of all of our work is up to par, all of it is seen and respected as such," Juice said. Raising the bar of "the music itself but also in the events that the scene provides."

Right now, Pittsburgh is doing well because the art scene is flourishing. Me as an artist, I feel like this place as a sanctuary for artists to come to is going to be on the up and up. I’m not trying to run away from Pittsburgh anytime soon.
— NVSV

Although the city thrives creatively, people, especially rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, tend to go elsewhere to make names for themselves and come back to visit home when convenient. NVSV wants to be part of the crop of people who stay in the 'Burgh and be the "poster children" for the community. "We need to become the promoters. We're in touch with the culture" he said.

NVSV said he is "hopeful for the future" in Pittsburgh. "By playing, creating and working hard we can inspire the same people that inspire us," Juice said.


ITR: Whenever you were little, who were you listening to?

NVSV: Growing up I listened to a lot of everything. I'm from Baltimore, so there was a lot of house music and a lot of gospel music. With my mom, I grew up Christian. I went to Catholic schools. My mom kept me in private schools because she didn't want me to fall into that crowd which was a crowd I'm familiar with 'cause I grew up in the 'hood. When all of my friends are going to the zone school, and they see me going to school with a suit and tie on, I knew education would always be my way out of the city. When I see people I grew up with pursuing music as their ticket out, I understand that. You do need to get out and school is not for everybody, but I knew that was my way. As far as music, during that transition, I was susceptible to everything. What I listened to really was Jay Z, Lupe, and Kanye. Ludacris too. Ludacris was the first CD I bought. Fuckin' "Chicken and Beer." As of now, we have so many vinyl records here and so many other forms of music that I wasn't aware of before. It's just opened my ear.

ITR: Talk about the artistic freedom you have here at Library Collaborative or the tools that are here and not elsewhere.

NVSV: The perspective of other musicians. I can sit here and twiddle at a beat for hours and I'm like, 'I need these keys.' I can go around the corner and be like, 'Smitty (SMTATOE), can you play these keys for me?' And Smitty is damn near a classically trained pianist. [laughs] I don't have to sample. I can sit here with someone and we bond over music and they express what they're feeling over what I did. It's Library Collaborative because there's a lot of collaboration going on. We don't turn down an opportunity to collaborate. All the projects we've released under the label, every artist that's ever worked here is on each one of those projects. I know a song that I perform called "Entropy" that people love. It was from my last album called "Mystic." It was just a cool song to me and not anything serious. It's me and L K Hae and I just asked him to throw me some guitar lines on it. People love that song and I wasn't expecting them to feel that way towards it. That's a testament to his talent.

ITR: Do you know Geechi P?

NVSV: Yeah.

ITR: He loves that song, "Entropy." We like "Swim At Own Risk" on your "Bamboo" project. What do you like to speak on in your music?

NVSV: It's funny you said that. That song was an inspiration. I've always been NVSV (NASA) and I got it from a college friend. She used to call me NEVA SOBA because every time she saw me I always had a blunt in my ear. I turned that into NVSV since 2012. When I first got here to the studio, I was doing a lot of my own stuff and it was my first time seeing a guitarist and a live drummer. It was new to me so I wanted to do something with that so I created a band called EVRTH (earth). We dismembered, but I wanted to do something different. This genre was neo-soul, Fugees-esque. 'Swim At Your Own Risk' is inspired by a song called 'Oceans' that EVRTH performed. It was written as a double entendre for women as a body of water and as a life force for the world. My writing process is a lot of personal experience, lessons, and self-reflection. I don't get too caught up in the braggadocios. I want people to see what I'm living through.

ITR: What has Pittsburgh meant to you? Were you involved in the creative community in Baltimore before you left to notice a difference or similarity between the two cities?

NVSV: A little bit but it's different when you're doing that as a child to when you're an adult. In Baltimore, I attended the Baltimore School for the Arts until I got kicked out [laughs]. I've always been artistically inclined. So, in Baltimore in 2009, they started cutting art programs. I knew people who didn't have art in school. I'm fortunate to go to private schools so we have art. It was something I felt like I was wasting while I was there and I could have done more with. In Pittsburgh, the Art Institute was my first choice. People are like, 'you chose to come here?' Yeah because I wanted to be an industrial designer and they had Industrial Design. The only other Art Institute that had that was in Orlando so I knew I'd be on the beach all day and I would've failed. It was strategic planning coming to Pittsburgh. When I got here, it was a lot of diversity. I never looked at people as different races because growing up in the inner-city all you see is one race. I remember telling people here I thought white people were exclusive to teachers. [laughs] You know? I didn't think they did anything else in the world. Coming here to Pittsburgh was one of my first times seeing an inter-racial relationship. That opened my eyes to a lot more. They're mixing here and I knew that they've always been mixing. My mom wanted me to go to an H.B.C.U. and I told her that the world isn't black [laughs] and she gave me shit for it. You can't win in a world with all black thinking because that's not what the world is.

ITR: Is Pittsburgh a place you continue to see yourself?

NVSV: Right now, Pittsburgh is doing well because the art scene is flourishing. Me as an artist, I feel like this place as a sanctuary for artists to come to is going to be on the up and up. I'm not trying to run away from Pittsburgh anytime soon. They're going to be poster children and I feel like we are in a position to do that. You guys also. I see you guys everywhere. Reviving Real just to name a couple. I'll be here for a little bit. If I do go anywhere, it'll be overseas. My end goal is to be in Africa. I do music differently from why other people do music. Of course for the money, but what I want to do with my money is different from other people. I still have that industrial design background in mind. Once I do make these millions on millions, my plan is to buy land and start a self-sufficient community, hopefully, a city one day. I have blueprints and shit already. I want to build a city inside of a mountain. I have some architecture friends. I just need to meet some engineers. That's another thing I can attribute to Pittsburgh, meeting people from different fields of studies. I can definitely say thank you to Keep Pittsburgh Dope and them. Just for rubbing shoulders with aeronautics guys like last time I was at Creatives Drink. I met this guy who designed airplanes. We're just being drunk together. It's an experience you can't get anywhere else, and if you can get it somewhere else it needs to be publicized. It's the new age fraternal system or partnerships for life.

ITR: Do you feel like you can achieve your artistic goals in Pittsburgh? Do you think the city moves fast enough? Things happen here but people don't see trends quick enough.

NVSV: Right now, no. But I'm hopeful for the future. It's a big city small town type aspect, but it's like, you ever see the movies with the high school football star of the small town and he doesn't make it to the league? But he goes on to own the local car dealership. [laughs] That's the hero though. That's what Pittsburgh is. They want that local star to come up, but they want him to come up and stay here.

ITR: How do we keep people here? When you look at Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, they came up here and left. But, when you look at these Jimmy Wopo interviews, he's talking about keeping the attention in the city. How can people like yourself keep the community here so that attention stays here?

NVSV: We need to become the promoters. Right now, there's a monopoly on that with Drusky Entertainment and Opus One. I won't even call them promoters. They tell you who is coming to town and they tell you to sell these tickets. They don't promote anything themselves because it's up to the artist to do it. When I'm telling people about 24hrs and people are like, 'who the fuck is that' I'm like 'bro you have no idea.' Then 24 is hitting me up like, 'bro this shit's not sold out.' 'I don't know what you want me to do. I sold these 50 tickets they gave me.' I feel like promoting isn't here in the city. We need a promotion agency to bring these popular acts and that's why they are skipping over Pittsburgh.

More from NVSV:

+ "You have to remember people are sponges."

+ Check out the collaboration with Chicago rapper Qari.

+ "Art is all about risk."

+ "I like when producers drop albums because you can see what they want to hear."

+ "Producing for people is hard when they tell you 'make a beat like this.'"

+ "I love Pittsburgh for what it's given me."

[NVSV & Library Collaborative Video Tracklist in Order: "Déteste (Here's To You Instrumental)" by Yung Mulatto, "UDN2K" by Saani Mac, "No Lil Pups" by Pk Delay, "FlyClassWeirdo (Intro)" by R.D.P., and "Drop" by SWGLTUUF. 'Burgh Noise, of course.]

The Uptown Interview by Maxwell Young

'The Uptown Interview' is a series of candid conversations with some of D.C.'s cultural influencers in an attempt to interpret and preserve the artistic heritage of the city.  In homage to the late Hugh Hefner and 'The Playboy Interview,' InTheRough sat down with two of the most dynamic forces in the District's creative ecosystem: producer/singer Davon Bryant aka Dreamcast and journalist/D.C. cultural archivist Marcus Dowling.  Read on for a couple excerpts from the conversations, and head to the Uptown Art House website for the full interviews. 


Davon Bryant photograph by Maxwell Young

Davon Bryant photograph by Maxwell Young

Dreamcast on making "sit down" music...

MY: So, a full album,  When can we expect that?

DB: I’m thinking within the next 3 to 4 months, man.  I need to have it out.  I really wanna maximize me being on the radio now to push it.  I’m just having fun with it dude, like, it’s really not a job right now.

MY: Is that the main thing you do?

DB: I was just working at a dental office for maybe 6 months to a year, and I ended that before I went to Europe.  But what I’m focusing on now is just making some new content.  I just wanna make some shit that makes people sit down.  There’s so much turn up music.  I want to have that same realm of performances as James Blake, where people come and sit down.  They stand when they really feel the music.  You don’t have to be turnt up.  I want you to come on some acid.

MY: That’s some jam-band shit.  Some Grateful Dead shit.

DB: Yea and just enjoy yourself.  There’s no pressure to look like you’re going to the club.

Marcus Dowling

Marcus Dowling

Marcus Dowling on D.C. being great unto itself...

MD: Before Obama was elected, things would happen in the darkness and they would be amazing.  They would be amazing unto themselves.  There was no mainstream for it.  The Fleur Guys were booking Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto and all of that, and they were killing it.  But it wasn’t like they were killing it and the world needed to know.  Like they could make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and nobody knew.  There was no need for D.C. to become this explosive and expansive scene.

MY: Why do you think that is though?

MD: Because D.C. was a federal town at this point.  D.C. was a government town first and an arts town second.  A government town first and a creative hub second.  When we had jazz and we had go-go, these were things that were nationally renowned if only because people from other places came here and took the culture to their hometown.  Rick Rubin would come down for Junk Yard shows all the time.  So, if you wanna understand how go-go expanded outside of D.C., Rick Rubin would come down to punk and hardcore shows and book go-go bands as the openers.  So you would get Fugazi and Junk Yard Band on a bill.  So, when he started Def Jam with Russell Simmons, he’s like, “Okay, we have to make rap records that are sonically different.”  And Rick was into this sound that’s brash and big and tough.  So, he’s listening to Junk Yard and Trouble Funk and all these bands and he’s like, “Wait, the drums on these tracks are ridiculous.  The rhythms on these tracks are ridiculous.  The least I could do is get these guys up to New York and have them play, so I can sample their drums and rhythms.”  And that’s what he did.  That’s how Trouble Funk’s “Dropped the Bomb” got sampled and Junk Yard Band got signed to a record deal.  And that was only because Rick Rubin was coming down to D.C.  Had he never come down here, the music would’ve never left.  D.C. has been great unto itself, like legendary great.  Not just great in a way where it’s just “cool,” but legendarily great unto itself.