Best of 2007 – City of the Year: Washington, DC
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Picture from Brightest Young Things.
First off, apologies for not getting back to y’all last week. I’m trying to cop this condo in Northeast (WARD 5 REPRESENT!!!) before the year is out. So far its been stressful as hell, and I haven’t been able to sleep for the past week. (I guess that happens when you make large financial transactions…unless you’re 50 Cent.) Personally, a condo wasn’t on my personal shopping list for the Holiday season, but this place is so damn sweet I couldn’t pass it up, and it has some space for me to set up a small recording studio for Podcasts. So yeah, DC is going to be my home base for years to come, so I guess I got to learn to stop hatin’ on my fair city (the girls here are still wack). But as Wale says…hate is the new love.
So having that said, I might be a little biased for selecting DC as the City of the Year. Let’s get something straight here: DC has a long way to go when compared to last year’s COTY winner Baltimore, and the city is light years behind places like New York and LA, and it will never ever catch up (sorry). But within the past year, this city has made strides to at least catch up to other spots like B-More and Philly. NYC stalwarts like the Fader have bent over backwards to give DC its due recognition.
Wale at BBC Electric Proms in London
1.)Wale - This dude has been on the tip of everybody’s tongue like Lil Wayne. Even though the dude isn’t officially signed yet (making him the Papoose of the District), the guy has performed everywhere from the MTV VMA’s to BBC Electric Proms, as well as the cover of URB magazine, while reppin’ DC every moment he can (even though he lives in Maryland, but seriously, most everyone does). Even with all the hate, Wale is the most famous person to come out of DC since Marion Barry.
2.)Sneakerheads getting recognition. Over the past year, DC has been opening up sneaker stores left and right. Of course, it started with the ever popular Commonwealth (word to Rome), and now with Major and Kickballers are getting into the act, things are opening up for fashion forward hip-hoppers. Time will tell if this is a trend of things to come or just a fashion fad. Even still, its better than trying to cop sneakers at Foot Locker.
3.)Hipsters are taking over this town, and that’s a good thing – Although I can’t get down with the hipsters (I would rather spend my money on a new home theater system and a Harmony remote, rather than looking like I just got out of bed for the same amount of money, but that’s just me.) Anyway, Brightest Young Things has simply been killin’ it this year. And unlike most people who claim to love this city and have a streak for creativity, they haven’t jumped town for New York (yet). I stepped into one of their parties at the Rock and Roll Hotel and thought I was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. No lie. Not only that, but they showcase some of the best photography on the internets right now. Add to that, the new “secret” hipster spots like the Bobby Fischer Memorial Building and you have a scene that some people say rivals Baltimore (but lets not get ahead of ourselves people.)
4.) Raheem DeVaughn and J Holiday – I’m not a big fan of male Rnb (nullus?) but I have to give props where props is due. Both dudes made moves for the home team. Holiday’s “Bed,” became one of the top hits of the year and reached near User level on the radio spins meter, while DeVaughn is set to release a critically acclaimed album in ’08, in addition to snagging a Grammy nomination for his first single “Woman.” Both artists, show DC love and support as well, hopefully exposing the world to the vast talent pool in the area.
5.) DC is Getting Gully Again – For those who hearken back to the “good ol’ days” of the District being the murder capital might get their wish. (Still don’t understand that) The homicide rate is up 12% over last year, and people are getting robbed on the Metro during rush hour by 10 year olds. Gully indeed.