2015 was a great year for music in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area and 2016 will be even better. There are still big systemic challenges we need to tackle in order to cultivate a better ecosystem for artists of all kinds, but that hasn’t stopped great people from doing epic things. Here are a few of them.
As always, this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the awesome music coming out of the DMV — just a sampling to start you on a Souncloud K-hole of madness and intrigue. Check out folks who made this list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Hit me up on Twitter with other folks we should be watching.
Maryland native Drew Love’s new group THEY is fantastic. He made the list a few years ago, but now he’s in a duo, recently signed to Mind of A Genius, and is opening up for Bryson Tiller’s upcoming tour.
Babeo Baggins is definitely someone to keep an eye on. With a well-received Trillectro debut and an epic project called “POSI+IVE” that featured production credits from Childish Gambino and Starslinger, she made some good moves last year. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Goddamn Abhi/Dijon is pretty fucking awesome. I have absolutely no idea how to say their name — and I’ve avoided saying out loud for that exact reason — but they have been getting good looks internationally and have been consistently putting out good music. Last year, they even recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios.
Beau has been really busy the last few years working hard, touring, and making new music. His new project, Young Futura, has gotten a lot attention with their first track, “Gypsy Woman.” I’m really excited to see what these dudes do in 2016.
Visto has been cultivating a strong, dedicated group of followers (aka the Hippie Life Krew) and putting out great tracks for the last year. With top notch videos and a positive message, Visto seems to be successfully carving his own lane in the DMV.
Mitch and the whole M.I.L.F. crew have been doing epic shit for the last few years, but Mitch put out two great tapes in 2015 that shed some light on the progress he’ll make in the year ahead. Also, if you haven’t see Mitch or M.I.L.F. live, fix that.
Uno Hype, one of my favorite local rappers (who still has one of the best local mix-tapes ever, Be Gxxd) started a new band called Give Us More Power aka G.U.M.P. Their first EP, Sleven, is great and they continue to ramp up gigs in the D.C. area.
Mike has been doing his thing for awhile now — packing shows around D.C., collaborating with a ton of local artists — and has developed a unique sound which continues to get better and better. I bet you see more of Mike and his unique baritone flow next year.
Khan and Nappy Nappa put out one of my favorite tracks of the year, “YUMS.” Someone hit up Muriel Bowser and see if we can make this the official song of the city. The duo has great chemistry, but independently Khan also continues to out out great music.
While hardly new, PRIESTS is a fucking awesome band that I hope continues to make their mark in 2016. Their signature high-energy shows and captivating singer make them a must-see act that probably won’t be local for much longer.
Madame Gandhi is the former drummer for M.I.A., activist, and all around badass. Unsurprisingly, her heavily rhythmic and percussion centric production is pretty fucking awesome. I’m betting we get to see even more from Madame Gandhi in 2016.
This Babe City Records band is generally pretty great. I love this video, I love this song, and I really hope they put out a solid project and continue to build this year.
Jay IDK’s recent album SupTRAP has gotten a lot of attention on social media and beyond. With the right guidance and vision, I definitely think there is a sustainable path for him to carve out.
Ciscero, a 30Whop affiliate and frequent Goldlink collaborator, has put out some solid tracks last year and seems poised to do more. I’m really interested to see how this whole collective evolves as Goldink’s popularity grows — so far so good!
Obviously Stronger Sex is the greatest band name ever, but they also make awesome music. This song is like audio-Cialis and the goat weed for your playlist you’ve been searching for.
Lyquin recently put out a solid project called In The Meantime with features from Nipsey Hustle and Chaz French. He’s consistently putting out good work, but it will be interesting to see if he can set himself apart and get traction.
Governess is a bit elusive on the Internet, but their track “Animals” is pretty fucking awesome. I don’t know too much about them, but I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.
Rezt has been quietly producing a lot of quality work local artists and looks like he’s going to do more on his own in the year ahead. His recent track “OH MY” with Kelow is epic and is even better life.
Toting a great beard and an energetic vibe, Brain Rapp is a newcomer would seems to have a unique trajectory.
Young Rapids has also been around and making great music for a minute, but seem renewed and refocused. Their most recent project (also put on on Babe City Records), Pretty Ugly, is really solid and worth a listen.
This band is fun and awesomely weird in the best way possible. Shhh just listen.
As a longtime member of Fat Trel’s Slutty Boy crew, P Wild has been ramping up his own solo efforts and doing really well. I think we’ll see more of P Wild in 2016 as Trel’s star rises and he puts on more of his affiliates.
Avi Twat’s distinctive voice and high energy performances definitely make him stand out in the D.C. hip hop scene. As another member of M.I.L.F, Avi has also been raising his profile for the past few years and I think we’re gunna see even more from him this year.
Yet another one from Babe City Records [DJ Khaled voice]. Man, I love this band.
This password protected rapper has been playing a lot of local shows recently and definitely has potential.