Best of 2010: Best DC Area Tracks of 2010
by Winston "Stone" Ford
2010 has been a banner year for DC, with artists from the region getting recognized all over the world. However, even though we’ve grouped these artists together from the DC area, they have stood on their own, and don’t need to carry the area on their backs. In fact, my advice to anyone from the area is not worry about bigging up your region or showing the world what “the DMV can do.” Just focus on creating great music and the following artists have done below.
The homies Dunc and Toine (aka Dunc and Toine Makin’ Dollas) have had tremendous year. At the tender age of 21, both MC and producer are making music that blends the old school sensibilities of 90s hip-hop with the new school youth culture. Their track “You,” has been getting a buzz of late, and for good reason. Toine is a skilled MC, and Dunc is definitely slept on as a beatmaker. Look for big things from this group in 2011.
Matthew Hemerlein – Gyllenhaal-Sandwhich
Hemerlein has been everywhere lately appearing with Nacey for the first track on the Mad Decent/La Roux collaboration, to hosting his own show every month with BYT. To be honest, Matt’s music sounds like nothing else I’ve heard this year, and the cheekily titled “Gyllenhal Sandwich,” got multiple spins on the iPod in 2010.
Kokayi – Roxtar
Bold, audacious, and just downright raucous are words to describe this DC veteran’s track and hip-hop/rock influenced sound. His latest album, Robots and Dinosaurs marks a sound that was cemented by his Dastardly and The Caesars projects before and is one of the most unique sounds to come out of the the region in a while.
BLUEBRAIN – Funny Business
With their ties to the art community, BLUEBRAIN has emerged as the “next” band in the area. With an experimental setup combining traditional indie rock and electronic influences, the duo’s Soft Power EP is a must have.
Fat Trel feat Wale – Freak A Melody
There was a point this year that I listened to this track every day before I went to work. It’s that epic. Who is the producer that was gangsta enough to flip a Freelance Whales track and add some of the most grimiest hip-hop in DC over it? I still want to know.
Phil Ade – Hollywood (Remix) feat Raekwon, Wale, Tabi Bonney & Raheem DeVaughn and Like That (feat Tabi Bonney)
I hate getting into these “who’s next?” conversations, but when people ask me, I always put Phil Ade on the table. Can this dude be on the XXL Class of 2011? The MC has been stellar since his debut, Starting on JV, but he came into his own on his second effort The Letterman. Adding the legendary Raekwon to his already Hollywood certainly helped build his buzz, but more people need to know about this kid.
On a side note, the pairing with fellow DC MC Tabi Bonney over Portishead’s Cowboys goes harder than any rap song I’ve heard in a long time. Download the Letterman. It’s incredible.
Ra The MC – Dreams
Even if you don’t like Nicki Minaj (I would love her more if she ditched the pink hair, just saying), she’s thankfully made the female MC relevant again. And thankfully, the region always had our entry into the game with Ra The MC. Yes, she was good before, but The Champion mixtape that she released this year made her great. Dont’ sleep.
Sydney Samson – Riverside (Dave Nada’s Moombahton edit)
Who says DC is not making musical strides? We created our own music genre dammit! The Latin-inspired Moombaton has taken the EDM world by storm, and with it’s creator Dave Nada moving to LA, the world is in his sights. This remix of Sydney Samson’s Riverside is hands down my favorite Moombaton cut to emerge this year and got the crowd moving when Diplo played it in NYC a few months ago.
Greenspan – Cold
Let’s not forget Baltimore, and their hometown MC Greenspan, who is hands down one of the hottest rappers on the East Coast. Yeah, I said it. Debuting last year with his Sky Turns Green mixtape, Green is known for mixing decadent beats and potent lyrics. The track Cold has a throwback vibe, but it goes hard. It’s hip-hop done right.
Lazerbitch – Twilight
What can we say, we loves us some Lazerbitch, but I’m sure you know that already. The duo has some of the most groundbreaking music and music videos in the area, and the uber-pop Twilight is no exception. Lead singer Libby Picken is one of the most prolific females making music right now, don’t get it twisted.