First off, I would like to say that I hate categorizing music as DMV music but this is the only way I can accurately describe music from the area. Secondly, this post is in no way discrediting the work that artists do, but my own view about what an artist is.
As a lover of music, I have grown to appreciate everything that goes into making a good musical project. From the artistic process to the end product you hear in your headphones, there is a lot in between that needs to be done in order for it to sound great.
Something that I have noticed about the DMV, is that the majority of music, specifically hip-hop, coming from the area is terrible. It is so unappealing that many people make the mistake of not listening to anything made from anyone in this area in fear of wasting their time on garbage. I have wondered why this is the case and I believe I have come up with a conclusion: most of these rappers are not artists. I have realized that there is a difference between someone who wants to make his or her artistic vision into something concrete and someone who decides, “maybe I’ll try this rapping thing.”
There are people who wholeheartedly want to create something great. They spend months, even years, trying to perfect a musical project that they believe is great. I know some of these people, I’ve seen the time and energy spent doing this. From missed family vacations to no time for their significant other, these artists sacrifice so much to fulfill their vision. This contributes to their quality because they have passion, they have drive. This isn’t simply a hobby, this is their life.
On the other hand, we have these rappers. Or should I say “rappers” [insert Michael Jackson ‘Allegedly’ meme here]. These are the people who ruin it for talented upcoming artists in the area. They oversaturate the scene with, for lack of a better word, garbage. These are the people who see how easy it is for other, *ehem* trash “rappers” to get on and want a piece of the prize. These are people who see rapping as a get rich scheme. This “if he can do it, I can do it” mentality that many people have in this area, overshadows the talent radiating from the DMV. If all you do are covers of songs and call it a “remix” or "freestyle", you need to find a new hobby. If you cannot rap on beat to save your life, you need to find a new hobby. If making music doesn’t give you an indescribable joy and doesn’t bring you any type of fulfillment, you need to find a new hobby.
Obviously, I can’t tell people to stop making Grade A Oscar the Grouch music, but what I can do is promote good music and encourage those making less than acceptable for human ears music to either get better or stop. There is too much talent in this area for horrendous music to cast a shadow over it. From Matt McGhee getting recognized by Diddy to Goldlink and D.R.A.M working with Rick Rubin, there is clearly a path being made for DMV artists. However, if people don’t want to listen to them because of the terrible reputation rappers from this area have created for amazing artists, a change needs to be made. We as consumers, listeners, and music lovers, cannot continue to allow music with no heart, no passion, and dammit, not even good production, to be the mark of DMV music. We are better than that.