D.C. Rap

Ace Cosgrove

"I have a problem with, ‘Bitches, hoes, let’s go to a party.'

...No substance, there’s no substance, man.

That shit was here today and gone tomorrow." (The Georgetown Voice).

"A lot of the political side from my music comes

from stuff I see going on in D.C.

I try to bring substance into my music, that’s

what makes it stand out." (D.C. Music Download)

With those words, you can already tell

what kind of artist and person Ace is.

Rap has been a champion's weapon since

his childhood in Gaithersburg, MD.

He's not in it for the shallow stuff.

Neither is his crew Hostile Youth.

Personal tragedy catapulted Ace to the microphone.

His friend Gino passed from gun violence at 18, so the young MC

adopted Cosgrove and rap as tribute (AllHipHop).

Ace beautifully infuses the personal and political within his rhymes.

"I think music is the most powerful thing in the world.

As a Hip-Hop artist, I think it’s my job to express

with my music what other people are

feeling but are scared to say." (AllHipHop)

"I just want people to be inspired, to know that

someone is with them in their fucking struggles." (x)

Fellow Hostile Youth Uno Hype echoes Ace.

"The power is within the youth." (Capitol Sound)

He has played with BADBADNOTGOOD,

his resident band BobMoeKill and D.C.'s best.

It's only the beginning.


Ace Cosgrove is Making Noise: Rap, Social Justice, and Getting the Hell Out of the Basement (The Georgetown Voice, 09-30-17)

#DMVOnTheMove: Ace Cosgrove Embraces Representing The Youth’s Vigilant, Hostile Voice (AllHipHop, 04-29-16)

Interview: Hostile Sound (Capitol Sound, 04-30-15)


He's the "dark side of conscious rap", a

D.C. legend hittin' listeners with

knowledge since his 2006 debut.

Ardamus raps and produces art outside

societal confines, the kind that

inspires profound paradigm shifts.

"These people in power just won’t care

about poor people or people who

struggling or people who trying.

They don’t care about them, but they care

about themselves." (Washington City Paper)

"Trust yourself as an artist but always know

that what you say can have its rewards

or it can have its consequences, but

the thing is you take the risk."

(DC Music Rocks/video)

You can find him nowadays with

rappers Shad to Oddissee.


The Consequences of What We Say and The After Effects of What We Write (Medium, 09-29-19)

Hustle & Grow (Washington City Paper, 02-09-17)

The Cornel West Theory

Six musical activists blend Black music for one

revolutionary sound: Rashad Dobbins,

Yvonne Gilmore, Ezra Greer, Tim Hicks,

Sam Lavine, and John Wesley Moon.

The Cornel West Theory is an amalgamation:

civil rights ideology, geekdom,

spoken word and rapping.

"The President doesn’t want you

to hear this or know that groups

like this exist in hip hop.

"Imagine the time when artists like #publicenemy

#poorrighteousteachers and #brandnubian

spoke about the conditions in the hood and rapped

against violence and the disrespect of women???" (x)

Songs can delve into any topic from

police brutality and George Floyd,

to Arya from Game of Thrones.

Minnesota Goddam.

Yes, Cornel West approves their project!

He attended their album release in 2009, and

frequently brainstorms with the members.

Tim Hicks is one of CWT's battle-hardened leaders-

if Malcolm X came back as a D.C. emcee.

He approached Dr. West at a book signing with the idea.

"Here we are four albums later still with his

friendship, his mentorship, and his support.

The doctor is a great brother.

We’re honored." (Real Hip-Hop).

The Theory recognizes the power of African

heritage and activism in song.

"We represent the last resistance in music.

In hip-hop, we represent survival.

The Cornel West Theory is a representation of the

musical tradition that we come from [griots]." (The Real Hip Hop)


The 202: Tony Cornelius and The Cornel West Theory (Entertain_DC, 11-20-19)

Tim Hicks: The Cornel West Theory (The Real Hip-Hop, 02-01-16)

The Crossrhodes

Soulster Raheem DeVaughn and rap-poet Wes

Felton are the label defiant Crossrhodes.

They successfully spark dialogue around

sociopolitical power and expression.

Raheem shared his thoughts on the group.

"I founded The CrossRhodes with a guy

called Wes Felton, we put out a very dope album

before its time called Footprints On The Moon in 2017.

We’ve always been known for making socially-conscious music."

CrossRhodes seems to be personal catharsis.

Their albums A Country Divided and The

Great Debate are an enraged, thought-

provoking soundtrack to current America.

"We are taking back the lineage of they have stolen.

We acknowledge our immediate ancestors who used

the Rhodes piano to make soul music." (Manifesto)

Wes Felton frequently shares the awesome relevations

from visiting Africa and discovering his ancestry.

"I found out that I come from creators

like the Fulani tribe and the Tika tribe...

it was like, that was a mind bending

thing because you know, for years I

thought because my dad was a jazz

musician that somehow that’s why I

was drawn to [the arts], right?!"

"This is the power of activism, the power of

effort, and the power of music...

We make the soundtrack for the movement."

Since then, Crossrhodes still release

new content but mostly stepped away.

Don't forget the undeniable impact though.

Relevance is timeless.

"Hey, you might protest and scream

about passing a bill, and I might be

able to write a song about it.

And if the hook is correct, it may change

and shift the brain or the thought of

that person who’s standing in the way."

(Washington City Paper)


Raheem DeVaughn: The Creator of Movement Music (Flaunt, 12-03-20)

What's Good with Wes Felton? (Washington City Paper, 05-26-19)

DJ Earth 1NE

DJ Earth 1NE is a force to be reckoned with.

"I started out...wasn't really DJ'in'

but used to open-mic at Harambe

Cafe on 18th and U Street (now closed).

When they didn't have a DJ I would

just bring my CD's, and I would play

music that normally didn't get

played on the radio." (Vimeo)

She entered hip-hop in a trailblazing fashion.

DJ Earth 1NE created a platform for upcoming

breakdancers and emcees: "When Worlds Collide".

Though she remains in the D.C. underground, Earth

1ne has actually left a mark on hip-hop worldwide.

She's collaborated with Immortal

Technique, Jazzy Jeff, KRS-ONE,

the Lone Catalysts and more.

Earth 1NE held weight at Can A Sista Rock

The Mic? Festival some years ago, and

 is also the Temple of Hip-Hop's

first non-male DJ (Lipstick Revolt).

She was a first at the DMC's too in 2012.

Did we mention she and Enoch 7th Prophet are married?

Enjoy this long-forgotten clip from a

stellar documentary I'm The Rapper,

She's The DJ and discover more about the pair.

Ardamus gave her props and other trailblazing

women who rap, beyond the District.

She supports him in return.

"There is more to speak on this subject

but I would be only speaking for others if

I did write certain things and I do not want

to do that because, it is not my place.

But what I can say to the women in hip hop

(rappers and others who are DJs,

graffiti artists, breakers, beatmakers, and etc.)

is thank you for your contributions and

your continuing to further the culture." (Medium)


The Women in Hip-Hop That I Have Come Across and Their Influence (Medium, 11-03-19)

I'm The Rapper, She's The DJ Part I (Vimeo, 05-28-12)

Allison Carney, DJ Earth 1NE and Empress Interview (Can A Sista Rock A Mic Festival, 07-20-2007)

Enoch 7th Prophet

Enoch is another staple in D.C. underground's scene!

He's in One Love Massive, a tri-state area

group with dozens of artists and genres,

"a Musician, Photographer, Artist, and Creative Soul".

Enoch is an astute and inspirational MC.

He first came onto our radar during the

grassroots open mic series Tru Skool

(which ran for eight years).

Then Enoch's connection to hip-hop

at large became clearer.

Who else has shared stages with KRS-One,

Erick Sermon, DJ Earth 1ne AND Redman?

No one to this point and it's quite a feat.

His newest album Nobody Cares ruthlessly

addresses the indifference toward Black

America and social injustice.

It was released on the dually owned Chakra Music label.

Reagan Era, his previous record, blows minds to this day.

Say what you want but hip-hop has always been

citizen journalism, and Reagan's sinister ties

to drug enforcement while enabling mass

narcotic importation influenced a genre altogether.

And of course, there's A Minute Of Your Time

with a scorching message...'Nat Turner'.

Bittersweet just a taste of heaven

Slaves rebellion in the process

You can find them in the projects


Enoch 7th Prophet (DMV Life)


Head-Roc is a sharp-tongued social commentator

on the D.C. rap scene for more than 20 years.

Straight from the horse's mouth, he's "still

creating meaningful and socially Relevant hip-hop" (x).


Nicole Kali was impressed to see his anti-

imperialist rap at D.C.'s November

Standing Rock Rally in November 2016.

Rappers don't always talk so bluntly about the

500-Year-War on Black and brown lives.

Head-Roc's so real that Chuck D gives him props.

Head-Roc turns the game on its head.




This successful artist-activist has placed restorative

justice right on the mainstream map.

Konshens is a youth advocate, DC's

Grammy Recording Academy Advisor,

and part of an eight-piece band.

Konshen's solo projects are poignant and creative.

He's also a big supporter of informative art/

storytelling as a political art form.

Konshen's organization Edutainment

Unlimited is wholly unique,

worth noting in longevity and mission.

Songwriting workshops, interactive youth sessions,

and professional arts career development?

Sounds like a musical uprising.




They're a multi-genre, multiethnic quintet from College

Park, "a visual representation of the world" (x).

They are Diabate The Griot, Ebadullah

The Superstar, Nurideen The Artist,

Mahir The Rock Star and Mark The Professor!

"There’s hip-hop, rock, and funk elements.

We want to add to the conversation

that bands like Rage Against The Machine

and Public Enemy inspired in us."

(Washington City Paper)

Strength was very timely.

And so is their bio, unchanged, always a reminder.

"Contrary to the current trend,

Leftist inspires in people a breakthrough.

Our intent is that the listener interact with

our content and decide that they

can face their struggles and encourage

the people around them to do the same."


One Track Mind: Leftist, ‘As Long As The Police Don’t Get Me’ (Washington City Paper, 02-15-17)

Rockin' With The Left (The Diamondback)


Amir Mohamed Elkhalifa is a Sudanese-American

rapper who observes Islam, a fact he lists

as a source of strength (The National).

Oddisee embodies what it means to embrace yourself

though your identities have been

politicized and misunderstood.

"Things like the disenfranchised and lower class

and their blaming of socialism and immigration

as to the reasons for their trials and

tribulations within their own home countries

—whether that be Sweden, England, France or America." (WBUR)

"Father’s side of the family chastised and pointed the finger at black America.

Black America pointed the finger at immigrant America

and Africans who immigrate to this country."

And so Oddisee exists within and beyond

the U.S. race matrix entirely, "stuck

between two different worlds" (Paste).

Oddisee carries the restrained fury of a frustrated radical.

He criticizes D.C. politics and global

hegemony when making music.

Sudan's fierce resistance through dictatorship

dramatically imprints his artistic perspective.

"Life in Sudan … they're dealing with

overthrowing a 30-year-old dictatorship,

installing a civilian government,

throwing off rebel militias fighting.

On top of that, a pandemic comes."

Every aspect makes it into Oddisee's music.

"We started off locally and now it’s changed globally
That’s the way it’s supposed to be
Single seeds only grow to trees if left alone to breathe"

"So I chose to dedicate this record to talking

about social injustices based around the pandemic

as the most effective way for me to express protest."


Rapper Oddisee On Protesting Via Music... (KCRW, 10-19-20)

Rapper Oddisee Gets Political But Still Wants To Make You Dance (WBUR, 05-24-17)

I See Who I Am As A Point of Strength, Says Sudanese-American Rapper Oddisee (The National, 06-19-16)

Oddisee's Hip-Hop Connects Through People, Not Politics (Paste Magazine, 05-18-15)

Philippe Prosper

He invokes memories of Wu-Tang Clan, shadowboxing

and days where martial arts calmed the mind.

"I have always been amazed by the divinely created

world around me- that inspires me to create." (RawArtists)

"I see art as our collective opportunity to

challenge one another's worldviews

by inviting each other to experience new perspectives."

He descends from well-known Haitian military

generals who won a supposedly impossible war

against France, a war that indebted them forever.

"My words are my sword and words can start revolutions.

Rap and martial arts are similar in so many ways - but to me, they are one."


Rap Is A Martial Art Is Breaking All Barriers in the Industry (PR Newswire, 01-28-21)


Terence Nicholson is a D.C.-born musician, social

justice activist and community builder.

His alias Sub-Z was formerly 1/4

of hip-hop collective Opus Akoben.

They had been a spiritual group decades ahead of their time!

"My goal as an artist is to be a dot on

the eternal timeline of artists that have

contributed to society." (DC Artists East).

Nicholson is now frontman for the funk-rock band Thaylo Bleu.

Terence Nicholson is a hopeful revolutionary, but a realistic one.

"...Get your mind right, and understand

the times that we’re living in.

Because it’s going to get worse before it gets better." (WAMU)



Hip-Hop and Social Commentary

Public Enemy