Broccoli City Presents: Broccoli City Week
BROCCOLI CITY FESTIVAL V HEADLINED BY RAE SREMMURD & SOLANGE
21 Savage, Alunageorge, Lil Yachty, Kevin Abstract, Rapsody, Smino, Chaz French, Nick Grant, Rejjie Snow, Sir the Baptist, NAO
1100 Alabama Ave SE
Washington, DC, 20032
Doors 12:00 PM (event ends at 10:00 PM)
Watch & Listen
Rae Sremmurd - pronounced "Ray-Shrim-er," consisting of real life brothers Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee, and newly signed to multi-platinum producer Mike WiLL Made-It's Eardruma Records - is out to change that.
Slim Jimmy, 20, and Swae Lee, 19, were born in California, but moved to Tupelo at an early age, where they were raised in the notorious Ida Street housing projects, some of the worst, most crime-ridden in the state. Making matters worse, Sremmurd's parents split while the brothers were still young, a devastating turn of events that found the brothers multiple stretches, seeking shelter in abandoned homes scattered throughout the area. For a city with little history outside of its musical heritage, and in a state where two young kids short on role models could look up to the growing star power of in-state hero David Banner, music, from a young age, became a way for Slim and Swae to escape the desperation of their surroundings. "When we were growing up, it was just about perseverance," says Slim Jimmy, before flipping a quote made famous by Stark Trek character Richard Wakinyan. "Regardless of the situation, we couldn't let the haters win."
The movement started locally, with the brothers throwing parties and shows around town, often in the same abandoned buildings where they once stayed. The pair always had larger ambitions, though, and so the brothers, natural performers since elementary school, taught themselves how to record, make beats, and DJ, building enough buzz to earn an appearance on the popular "Wild Out Wednesdays" segment during BET's music video countdown show, 106th & Park. Back home, Swae and Slim earned the attention of fellow Tupelo native P-Nasty, who also happens to be a producer signed to super producer Mike WiLL Made-It's Eardruma production team. P-Nasty introduced Rae Sremmurd to Mike WiLL, and the multi-platinum producer (Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Future, Juicy J) was instantly impressed by the brothers' energy and the quality of their music, signing the duo as one of the first acts to his new, Interscope-backed label, Eardruma Records. "When I met them," recalls WiLL, "they just had a real young dope energy about them. So me and the Eardruma team locked in the studio like we normally do, had a lot of fun, and cooked up some amazing music. This is just the beginning of our working relationship, and they've got a bright future. I believe in them."
"A Seat at the Table" Digital Album Available Now!
In June 2016, 21 Savage was named as one of the "Freshman Class" of 2016 by XXL. On July 15, 2016, 21 Savage released his joint EP Savage Mode with Atlanta-based record producer Metro Boomin. The EP gained international success and peaked at number 44 on the Billboard 200, becoming their highest charting EP to date. He was on the cover of Fader. His single "X" featuring Future on the EP was confirmed by Billboard as going platinum, being 21's 1st platinum record.
In the two years since pop alchemists AlunaGeorge – aka singer and lyricist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid – released their critically lauded debut album, Body Music, they've barely stopped. From world tours to festivals to Katy Perry support slots to collaborations (2015's frenetic "To Ü" with Skrillex & Diplo) to chart-slaying remixes (DJ Snake's version of "You Know You Like It", i.e. one of the most streamed songs of all time), their world has expanded immeasurably from the tiny London studio they started working in back in 2010. Somehow, in amongst the madness, they've managed to find the time to write and record a follow-up album that confidently maintains their unique sonic palette – a soulful, pop-leaning take on downtempo dance and experimental R&B – but also takes it forward into bolder territories. Lead by the dancehall-tinged, ludicrously catchy banger "I'm In Control", featuring Jamaican rapper Popcaan, it's an album that channels their experiences into a delicious melange of pop styles. "We were going for that holy grail of songwriting," explains Aluna of the record. "It was an attitude of 'let's see what else we can do'," adds George.
Formed after George remixed a song by Aluna's first band, My Toy's Like Me, there's always been a strange sense of happenstance and spontaneity about AlunaGeorge and their music. A handful of the songs that appeared on Body Music were written and recorded after the pair had only known each other for a month, this sense of sudden excitement and naivety filtering through into the songs themselves. Working together every day in a small studio in Ravenscourt Park in London – where they still write and record now – helped quickly fuse the duo together, which in turn resulted in that rare thing; a cohesive, fully-formed debut album that came with its own unique sonic world. From the singles "Your Drums, Your Love", "Attracting Flies" (the latter a UK top 20 hit) and their massive collaboration with Disclosure on "White Noise", to the softer, more tactile album tracks, Body Music not only announced the arrival of a new take on pop music at the time – one that wasn't exactly dance, but that you wanted to dance to nevertheless – but also helped confirm their trust in their own instincts. "I'm really glad we did things the way we did for that album."
In fact, this new idea of other people venturing into the studio with AlunaGeorge for their forthcoming album is a result of their debut's success, and their own desire to keep things moving forward. After a short period of creative uncertainty, the success of DJ Snake's remix – which essentially kept the original's tempo and song structure but added different production – also re-confirmed their faith that there was a market for slightly downtempo, groove-based dance music. "Often George and I will come in the studio and writers that are with us will stand back a bit because they think we've got everything we need," explains Aluna. "But they'll step in at any point we need help." To clarify, this isn't a case of calling up the biggest names in pop to help cover over the cracks, but rather to cherry-pick the best people to help make the songs as good as they can be. To open up the creative process a little more.
While the core axis of AlunaGeorge remains the same – "I'm always at the head of the lyrical department and George is always at the head of the production side of things," is how Aluna describes it – songwriters such as John Hill (Santigold, Charli XCX), Rick Nowels (Madonna, Lykke Li), Evan Bogart (Rihanna, Beyoncé) and Rock Mafia (Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus) were keen to help out however they could. "All of these stories are my stories," reiterates Aluna. "When I work with a lyricist they're someone to bounce ideas off. It's about that last 10%. It started to feel a bit like we had all these friends in music that we liked hanging out with but we haven't shared AlunaGeorge with anyone else and at some point we were like 'why not?'. Let's open it up a bit more. We wanted to let people in a bit more now that we're more confident in our sound.". For George it was about having options: "The wonderful thing is that we had all these amazing people we could work with this time round and if we felt like X would be great fun, and work for the tune, then we'd do it. If not, there was no pressure to do that either."
Written and recorded in focused bursts of creativity in LA, London and Henley, it's an album that ventures outside of the normal tropes of pop songwriting and production. So "I'm In Control" is about a women taking charge of getting more than a basic sexual encounter, and seeking something that will really keep her busy intellectually, psychologically and physically by just stating what she wants. Musically too, the pair avoided the current trend for frantic EDM and slowed down the song's original tempo, giving it a much more laid-back feel. "There's a naivety to it where you just see what can happen," George says of the song's production. "If I'm having some fun making it then I'll just run with it." It also marks a sonic leap forward, while still retaining that AlunaGeorge sound, especially in the sleek, soulful verses. "It's definitely a bigger sound," says Aluna. "We have always been capable of that but it takes however long it takes to develop the ability to make a song like that. We would have loved to have done that before but we just didn't know how to."
Elsewhere the squelchy, deliciously undulating "In My Head" – about one of Aluna's close friends – is a slow-burn masterpiece that steadily builds into an eerie dance behemoth complete with big synth strings ("the 50 Cent strings" as George calls them), while the John Hill collaboration, "Temporary Magic", is vintage AlunaGeorge, all cascading synths, chopped up vocals and a lilting central melody. "Full Swing", meanwhile, is about "a woman who, in my head is maybe a sports woman, and it's an imaginary scenario where the man in that relationship is fully supportive of that person putting all their efforts into achieving what they can achieve." It also represents one of the lyrical themes that permeates the album as a whole. "There's an element lyrically about me trying to embrace some real confidence as a woman and applying it rather than just having it in my head as a concept," Aluna says. "A situation happened where I really really forgot that I had any power and it scared me so much because I realised there was still a lot of work to do to really know that in a tricky moment all you have to do is stand up for yourself." Keen to keep the songs universally accessible, most of them are observations from real scenarios. "My thing with writing by yourself is that it can become so self-indulgent, and we're a duo not a solo act so I'll always want those songs to have the space created for some perspective. I'm not going to get up on stage and sing these tales of woe that no one else can relate to because they're trapped in my own perspective. That's not what I'm about."
Perhaps the album's biggest surprise is "Mediator", which does away with the electronics in favour of live drums, bass, guitar and a low-slung groove more akin to vintage 70s soul. "George just had this need to do a song like this and he obviously had some sort of vision for it," laughs Aluna. "I struggled with it for a while because it's quite uncompromising. It was one of those moments where it was really George's baby and he's done it so well so now I love it." For George, as ever, it was about experimenting and keeping things fresh: "That song had a completely different production to it at first but I wanted to try something new with it." In many ways, Mediator – about helping out a heartbroken friend you're secretly in love with – is a microcosm for the album; bolder, more instinctively experimental, but still retaining that core songwriting brilliance to make it all work. "Me and George just love a classic song," Aluna states. Luckily, they've made a whole album's worth.
American hip-hop artist from Atlanta, Georgia.
At the young age of 17 after high school, Kevin Abstract made the bold decision to run away to Texas in search of hope & friendship. Brockhampton was born thereafter. Kevin Abstract is the de facto leader of the hip-hop boyband Brockhampton. He recently left his home state of Texas, moving to Los Angeles along with his Brockhampton compatriots. At the young age of 20, he has already developed a concrete image both on stage and online and is commanding attention due to his progressive music as well as his carefully curated visual presentation. Befriending The Neighbourhood shipped him across the pond to join them in the UK before being asked to join the US dates. Leading up to the release, Kevin shared a cinematic visual for his single "Empty" that spread rapidly online and gained the attention of fans and critics alike. Earlier last month, Kevin shared his deeply personal song "Miserable America" which earned him praise from The New York Times. A week before the album, Kevin performed new songs at Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival with an intricate stage set up including cheerleaders in uniform and kids sitting on bleachers reminiscent of a high school gym. Leading up to the album's release, Kevin recently spoke with The Fader for a Gen F feature. After releasing his acclaimed mixtape MTV1987 in 2014 with right hand man & producer Romil, he set out to make his followup - working tediously on many versions of what turned into his debut album. Citing influences like Kid Cudi & Tyler, The Creator, Abstract's ability to champion and relate to those whom have been fortunate enough to discover him through his unique approach of transparency and honesty with fans will continue to allow himself to propel his impactful & progressive album to audiences and news fans alike in 2017.
Rapsody, (also know by the stage name Rapdiddy) is the new female force in hip hop, and she's about to blaze the trail for the new generation of women who rely on their skills to make marks in the music world. She is the first lady of North Carolina super crew Kooley High, and Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder's protégé and first artist signed to It's A Wonderful World Music Group / Jamla, the brainchild of his true school resurgence, setting the bar high for all succeeding label mates, male or female. Paying homage to her hip hop godmothers MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Lauryn Hill, this Snow Hill, North Carolina native doesn't just represent the female side of hip hop- the b-girl, the rapper, and the deejay who rocks the party just as well as any man. She is an emcee who represents hip hop beyond lines of gender, proving that anything "the boys" can do, she can do too. Her skills as an emcee are the highlight of her presentation, while her inherent feminine twist proves to be the icing on the cake.
She has been featured on Dream Merchant 2, 9th Wonder's first solo venture since signing with Atlantic, in addition to Brooklyn emcee Skyzoo's release, The Power of Words, hosted by super deejay, DJ Drama. She has also been featured on numerous Kooley High releases, and is scheduled to make an appearance on 9th Wonder's long awaited release, The Wonder Years. "I want to make good music and be a role model to little girls, especially little black girls," she confirms.
Rapsody has also shared the studio and soundbooth with Pete Rock, and Von Pea of Tanya Morgan. Her ability to captivate audiences with explosively dynamic performance spread across the industry, leading her to share the stage with hip hop general Big Daddy Kane, as well as Geechie, Suede of Camp Lo, Blu and Exhile, Tanya Morgan, Wale, J. Cole, Colin Monroe, The Clipse, and Yahzarah.
Currently, she is working on her first solo release, The Return of the B-Girl. This defining EP will feature her Jamla label mates Skyzoo, Tyler Woods and Big Remo, and other industry heavy hitters. She is also slated to release two EPs with North Carolina producers E. Jones and Ka$h, entitled "Kenny's Got a Crush!" and 'Sugawater", respectively. In addition, she is working on a mixtape and full-length studio album with friend and label head, 9th Wonder.
Rapsody's intelligent wordplay and unparalleled flow will remind fans of the woman's reign of hip hop- when it was always ultra sexy to be cool, and less often the other way around. With a roster of features this heavy only 5 years in the game, Rapsody's blinding light promises to shine brighter as this young star's career continues to blossom.
Rapper Smino was raised in St. Louis but has been making a name for himself in Chicago's blistering hot rap scene. Born into a musical family, with a blues bass legend for a Grandfather, Smino's parents taught him the drums at age 7 and shortly after he began rapping, emulating an older cousin who was an MC. As a teenager he began producing and then headed off to college in Chicago. After a few years of shuttling between the two cities, Smino returned to Chicago, hooked up with 20 year old producer Monte Booker and saw his vision snap into focus. Together with Booker they created the Zero Fatigue crew - a collective of artists, singers and rappers who are pushing boundaries while favoring a more organic and melodic sound. Booker and Smino are currently hard at work on Simno's debut album.
"Everybody and anybody willing to listen – the World," rapper Chaz French states when asked who he speaks to through his music.
The name Chaz is defined as a man in the Germanic language and is a role he learned the meaning of early in life. Born in the Nation's Capital and raised in Maryland, those who know Chaz best would describe him as a survivor, having lived through a near-death car accident and homelessness. He credits these experiences, along with many other extreme growing pains, to his continued perseverance as a performing artist in the music industry. His work is also inspired by the life of his daughter, the support of both his mother and brother, fellow hip hop artist, (Eddie Vanz), and the camaraderie of his team known as The Gallery Family. Despite the struggles, Chaz French developed a level of individualistic creativity that has helped him to stand out amongst other artists in the DMV hip hop scene that is always conveyed through his music and style. Listeners will hear transparent, unapologetic lyrics that
"The early twenty-something is never not working on his craft"
paint a vivid picture of pride, love, fun, and pain; messages similar to those shared by his artistic inspirations, Jean-Mi- chel Basquiat and Kanye West.
The early twenty-something is never not working on his craft - be it recording in a studio, writing while on daddy duty, or promoting his music to the masses. Touring and Grammy aspirations matched with million-dollar dreams underline Chaz French's endeavors, with recent perfor- mances at noteworthy music events such as SXSW in Austin, TX, opening for Waka Flocka at the historic Howard Theatre, and Broccoli City Festival in Washington, DC. With the help of 368 Music Group (CCCLXVII), a colorful past, and sharp focus on the future, Chaz French plans to leave a mark that impacts not only the music industry but the world!
Walterboro, South Carolina, it didn't take much for Nick to stick out in the town with a population of approximately 5,000 people. While he was firstly known as a gifted athlete, he discovered that Hip Hop was an equally, if not more, competitive sport. He wrote his first rhyme when a group of friends dared him to write one better than theirs. After winning them over on that bet, the rest of the town followed suit as he battled neighbors and classmates one by one, defeating them all. Though he was usually the youngest in the battles, he always rhymed with complexity and maturity beyond his years, a direct result of hearing the music of his grandparents and older siblings. Gravitating towards the sounds of Nas, Biggie, Pac, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Outkast, Scarface, Snoop, 2Pac, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, Nick felt he might have been raised in the wrong era. That, coupled with neighborhood OG's taking him under their wings; he inherited gems that most kids his age weren't exposed to. As fate would have it, Nick and his family relocated to Atlanta, GA, the epicenter of rap music, which was a more suitable environment to foster his intrinsic talent. Upon his arrival entering 9th grade at Washington High School, he immediately threw himself in the rap ring by ditching school and going to nearby Clark Atlanta University to battle college students. The lyrical combats sharpened his tongue to the point that one of his teachers suggested he discontinue his education and pursue music fulltime. Much like his character, Nick didn't quit and finished what he started by graduating however he did continue his studies albeit in the School of Hard Knocks. The ambitious rhymer experienced several failed deals, which caused him to grow frustrated but he never lost hope. A chance encounter with entertainment business mogul Jason Geter restored Nick's faith in an industry he had wanted to be a part of since childhood. Signed to Geter's Culture Republic imprint, which includes partners Chaka Zulu (Ludacris) and Bernard Parks, Jr. (Cee-Lo, Goodie Mob), Nick's star quality has been illuminated. Under the leadership of the Culture Republic team, Nick released "Royalty," featuring CyHi The Prynce who he met on the open mic circuit. The track was followed by a video that put the MC's name in the right conversations. Nick went on to appear on Sway In The Morning and fired off a succession of epic freestyles that galvanized the listening public, which were followed up by introspective records like "Gold Chains," "Dead Poet Society" and "The Jungle." Nick formally introduced himself on his debut mixtape, '88, which has been labeled a classic. Though the project includes minimal features, the names speak volumes of the respect Nick has garnered. Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., Young Dro, BJ The Chicago Kid and Stacy Barthe, all bless the musical masterpiece. With help from an in-house production team consisting of Dominic Gordon, '88, brings a new level of conceptual sophistication to Hip Hop. Praised for his clever bars well documented by multiple media outlets, tastemakers and fans, Nick's rapid rise has been earned over time. Understanding the importance of individuality, storytelling, diverse subject matter and musical experimentation, Nick's possession of these qualities have put him on the trajectory of becoming one of the game's most authoritative voices.
Rejjie Snow has been rhyming since he was just a kid in Dublin. After moving to Georgia at 17 on a soccer scholarship, he decided to pursue music instead and dropped his experimental first mixtape, Rejovich. The EP introduced the world to his surreal style and villainous eloquence, amassing over 6.4 million plays. Two
years later, Rejjie Snow made his proper international debut with "All Around the World" via Honeymoon, the Brooklyn-based imprint of Lyor Cohen's 300. Rejjie's next single, "Blakkst Skn" - produced by Kaytranada and featuring Rae Morris - is out now on Honeymoon (US) / Hometown (UK).
Sir the Baptist
The Preacher's Kid
It is often said religious families birth the worst rebels. This cross-cultured fact has become the creative fingerprint for Sir the Baptist, and the inescapable thought of religion worldwide explains why he is an emerging artist with a universal market. Sir the Baptist, the son of a preacher, is an indie American renaissance artist noted as "one of the chosen ones" by Universal Music. If 2Pac was our first urban Prophet, he's our first glimpse at an urban hymnist with that same ghetto gospel. He is a religion rebel. In the 1950's, Ray Charles was rebuked by the church for bringing gospel music to the secular/pop world with his hit song "I Got a Woman". Sir is the second coming of that twisted faith. "Thank God real performers still exist", says Sean Dale of Power 92.3fm. He's a game-changing fusion of secular and sacred – with a message that is refreshingly progressive, delightfully innovative, and unapologetically necessary for today's socio-political climate. He has hip-hop's aggressiveness with a crooner's charm that paints the provoking imagery of a sinner who juggles desire for salvation and plotted bad habits.
The centuries spent branding religion makes his target easy, limitless… sometimes reminiscent of the world renowned Broadway musical "Book of Mormon" with his church stylistic comedy, while other times referencing the serious and thought provoking fire and brimstone teachings from his upbringings. Jeff Vaughn, of Warner Music Group, says "Sir blurs the line between Saturday night at the club and Sunday morning at church. Simply incredible." Sir's willingness to invoke both humanity's longing for redemption, and its lust for worldly practices is a surprisingly relatable exhibition of the human condition.
Sir the Baptist was born William James Stokes at the "Gateway of Jazz Heaven" also known as Chicago's historically artistic Bronzeville neighborhood, to Christian Apologist Dr. James Benton and Mission Ambassador Patricia Ann. The mystique of Sir's artistry is connected to the memories of his father's sermons and Chicago crime and drug infested ghettos. Dr. Benton had the great fortune of not only seeing the foundation of Bronzeville's rich musical community, but also was a part of its economic engine that pushed Bronzeville to keep giving back to its community, even after his death. His neighbors' residue was his inspiration. Ella Fitzgerald played at Bronzeville's Sunset Café, which today is where Ace Hardware resides. Lena Horne, Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole along with countless others also were regular performers at Sunset Cafe. In addition, their Bronzeville homes have been deemed historical landmarks. Being a part of the same community as those greats before him made Sir the Baptist the genius he is today. Brandra Ringo, of Universal Music, proclaims "Amen! One of the chosen has arrived. Save music!" .
The world, although it may not always seem so, is ready for new points of view. "This is It", says Rex Rideout of Motown Records. Tunji Bungalow, of Interscope, simply states "Thank you for making good music". When asked what genre his music is, Sir says "It's Art Tatum boogie woogin' on an old upright piano in a small tavern with a choir and Andre 3000 or Pac at the mic," or simply put "church pub rap". Although this isn't remotely innovative, he has recorded with towering Steinway Composer Lee Musiker; who produced for the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra Jr. This type of diversity has him leaving the studio with a Sinatra to recording "Familiar" with Chance the Rapper on Surf alongside King Louie and Quavo. From finales with Joffery Ballet to taking that same 8-piece horn section to RAGE venues with Travis Scott at Chicago's renowned venue "The Metro", Sir the Baptist a new voice in music to be reckoned with. From Pitchfork features for his trap production with his collective StokFord, to composing the theme for Dysfunctional Friends, a major motion picture, now featured on Redbox, Netflix, and international film outlets Sir the Baptist is an accomplished and versatile artist. An extended version of the film's theme also made it to Sir the Baptist's "PK" album. Rated as "one of the most diverse records of the year, welcome to church" by Grammy Governor and multi-platinum artists representative Daryl Jones.
Neo Jessica Joshua, better known as Nao, is a British singer-songwriter and record producer from East London. Her sound has been described as soul combined with electronic music, funk and R&B.