“When you say Timbaland or Pharrell or Missy or Ginuwine, no one is thinking DMV. But that’s what it is,” says Yudu Gray, Jr. in the recent documentary DMV.
And you can add Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and so many more to that list. For decades, the DMV—that is, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia—has birthed some of the biggest names in the music industry, however, it still has yet to gain the same recognition as places like Atlanta, New York, or L.A. Why is that?
In a 25-minute documentary titled DMV, Fête Records and Noble People teamed up to shed light on the metropolitan area's music scene.
“There seem to be a lot of disconnected movements taking place at once, each of which has generated a substantial buzz within the area, but rarely outside of its territory,” director Undine Markus told REVOLT TV via email.
Though the documentary features local artists Jay IDK, Lightshow, Chaz French, Phil Ade, and other music influencers from the area, one problem that each participant mentioned, besides the need for collaborations and support, was the lack of sound from the DMV.
In the feature, artist Innanet James says, “It's just because we don’t have like one particular sound. Like Atlanta, you can be like: they got trap. Chicago, you can be like: they got drill. New York was real boom-bap. We so new, D.C. didn’t have a real rapper until Wale.”
In a phone interview with LeGreg Harrison a.k.a G, the owner of The Museum DC and a big influencer on the D.C. music scene, he admitted he believed there are other factors that hold the DMV back.
“It’s not going to be a specific type of sound, it’s going to have to be the lingo,” he tells us. “You know, the person outside of Wale who they think is D.C. is Shy Glizzy, and you know why? Because they both spoke our lingo. Glizzy will say his raps ‘kill moe’ and they say, ‘Oh, that’s a D.C. ni—a.’”
According to G, what the DMV is also lacking is the sense of regional pride that comes from those who make it.
“We have a lot of responsibility to push the agenda here and we don’t,” G goes on. “I think that the people who get on, they have to say more. They have to represent where they’re from. D.C. hurt people so much. D.C., Maryland, Virginia, it was so tough to get out of this mother, that they don’t even feel like telling the story. They don’t even want to tell people that they from here.”
G adds that in addition to artists representing the area, people also have to hold the executive level responsible.
“The executives aren’t forcing the artist or everybody to come to one place. It’s too many places people think they can go to,” G said.
Still, after talking with G and watching the documentary, one thing everyone agrees on is that the DMV is still on the rise and is confident that the next big thing from the area will be emerging very soon.
Check out DMV below.