The 2nd Annual Epic Fest kicked off last night at Kingdom. Epic Fest is the creation of Slapdash Promotion’s Octavion Xcellence and Cain McCoy. They’ve teamed up with a handful of RVA based sponsors, including my family at West Coast Kix to bring RVA a two day music festival of the best hip hop in the region. With over 40 acts scheduled to perform over 2 nights, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the event. It’s common place these days that with high anticipation comes a high level of questions and skepticism.
Most of the questions centered around if RVA was really ready to support a local hip hop festival in a big way. Team Slapdash put their promotion in overdrive but the fact remained that local hip hop has traditionally struggled to bring out massive crowds. However, when I arrived at Kingdom last night I was pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased by the strong attendance of fans. The schedule was running on time and a feeling of real community was present. At points, there was as much action outside of the Kingdom than on stage. Day 1 of Epic Fest felt like part family reunion, part concert, and all hip hop culture.
As far as the performances, it was clear last night that every act was taking advantage of the Epic Fest showcase. Every performer last night brought their A game. Unfortunately, I did not see everyone tear down the stage. The Cheats Movement was all over the place getting footage at all time but here is a review of the acts I did see:
Dr. Millionaire: Formally Isaiah & Hovey were on stage when I got in the building. I’ve seen them perform several times before and is always impressed with Isaiah Clements’ rhyme flow and stage presence. His on-stage swag gives me the feel that rhyming comes easy (a little too easy) for him. He controls the crowd with a laid back steez that is unique. He is comfortable with his skills and always seems to deliver over Hovey Benjamin’s beats. “Born N Raised” is a track off of Octavion’s No Cool Points for Dying…Isaiah killed that 16 – I’ve been checking his work even more closely since that feature.
Young Richmond Outkast: Though their heart is clearly in music, YRO is a movement. Those young brothers do it all from music, to fashion, to graphics, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chichi came out with a cookbook in 2013 – that’s how hard they grind. And feel me on this – they bring it on stage too. This is just my opinion BUT if RVA has a crew that I would compare to: Odd Future, ASAP, or Pro Era, YRO is the closest I’ve seen in this town to a similar movement. I say that because they are just being themselves, they are working hard and unique with their style and flow. I would love to see them shoot a live video for “Hardbodi Schoolboi.” The song translates really strong live and you see why those cats know everybody.
Doe The Paperboy: Mo Money Mo Problems or as I say, “If they mad, you’re problem doing something right.” I have said on this blog before and I will say again soon when I come out with my 2012 mid year report, Doe has killed the last 6 months. With the release of DoeNation2, killing live shows, and teaming up with Robert Roby AKA Smoothmatic AKA Soul Live Media, for two of the best local videos out: “If I had it” and “Picasso.” Doe has elevated himself to a new level. With all this going on, Doe was telling me last night it bring a new level of exposure and a new level of haters. As I always say, if you’re grinding and it’s legit and positive – Do You. I’m looking forward to getting Doe on the blog soon.
So Proper Showcase: Truth be told, Ms. Proper is one favorites. I would put her in the hip hop ring against anybody and she’ll come out standing tall. She’s a artist and a boss – grind on 1 hundred thousand trillion. I didn’t see much of the So Proper Showcase last night and outside of the homie So Illa, who’s video “Run RVA” is killing it. I’m not yet familiar with the team. I do know if there was an award for the camp that spends the most time in the gym…So Proper Camp wins. Think Ruff Ryders Anthem video straight up (lol).
Star Krew (D. Carduh, Young Fam, Peter Maher, Flatline): I didn’t see much of Star Krew’s set and I had never seen them live before so I can’t say much. They did bring energy – a lot of it and the response was good. I wish I had seen more.
Just Plan Sounds: Of course, JPS is family to me. I’m proud of the work I’ve done with James Dangle in the past and really proud of the new video, The Passion of The Sleaze (released yesterday) with the Honorable Sleaze and Ohbliv. It was Sleaze’s night – the video is getting good feedback- but more so Sleaze was getting that RVA appreciation that seemed to be long overdue. James Dangle, Just Plain Ant, Nyce, Damaged Andy, Ankh Trinity, and even Ohbliv were in the building. Due to the the freak storm last night – the power cut off right in the middle of JPS’s set and the show was shut down for the rest of the night.
Too bad for all of us hip hop fans because Epic Fest Day 1 was living up the hype and more! Stick with the Cheats Movement Blog- check out the Slapdash website – all the bloggers writing about this support them all. #WESEEIT I’m created a photo page now…it’s all coming.
It’s been a long time coming but I finally decided to direct, shoot and edit my first full length music video. I could not work with better more dedicated artists than The Honorable Sleaze and Ohbliv. I hope that you find the video quality and unique for the RVA hip hop music scene. HUGE S/O to The Shop – I’m so happy to be a part of the creative community down there – luv that place. HUGE S/O to Just Plain Sounds – JPS is the click. This is video number 1 – trust me – it’s only going to get better from here. #WESEEIT If you like this video – hit me up with a like on The Cheats Movement Facebook Page.
Track: The Passion of The Sleaze Artist: The Honorable Sleaze Producer: Ohbliv Video: The Cheats Movement
Sometimes you just have to get away and hit the reset button. It seems like everyone’s2012 has been filled with really hard work. Make sure you take a day or two to enjoy life. S/O to Brian and Juju for help me avoid the “chockablocks” yesterday!
“Don’t get me wrong, Team Awesome is awesome.” — Juju
“What do you think…460?” — Brian
“Don’t worry, no one will eat your face on my watch.” — Cheats
Thanks to Stephen and the great people at Venture Richmond, I was able to cover one of the most anticipated Friday Cheers of the year. The Alabama Shakes battled the elements last night and rocked Brown’s Island.
I had never seen them play live before but I was hearing the hype for weeks. Well, the hype is real! They were amazing! Lead singer Brittany Howard is the real deal.
The few that didn’t became instant fans. I found myself dancing to every song and really captivated by their sound. It was a great show. I am now a new loyal fan. Check out the Alabama Shakes Facebook page here. And Check out the Friday Cheers Facebook page here….like them both!
Ice T has been associated with hip hop culture since his debut album, Rhyme Pays, was released 25 years ago. The rapper, once known for gritty rhymes about L.A. gang culture, has matured into a groundbreaking actor, business mogul, and even reality star. It was only a matter of time before he took on filmmaking. In his directorial debut, Ice decided to give back to the culture that gave him his start. For his film, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, Ice hooked up with some of hip hop’s greatest rappers to talk about the craft of rhyming. The movie doesn’t have any talk about the flashy cars, the groupies, or the bling – not at all. It is about the love of hip hop and understanding the process of how the great emcees, both past and present, create those classic flows that stand the test of time. Ice is currently on a worldwide media tour to promote the self-financed film. I spoke with him earlier this week about the film, the current state of hip hop, and the recent passing of Rodney King.
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Congrats to Kaliey Raymond and Geoff Weathersby on winning the 1st i. e. start-up competition. Their company InLieu provides a socially conscious alternative to gift giving. Their company provides a platform for people to direct monetary gifts to good causes in need of support InLieu of a regular gift.
RVA Mini Mag Street Heat is here! You can get it at West Coast Kix and all over Richmond. Go out and get that free mini mag asap. It will go fast and it is a collectors item. Yes, I said collectors item. It documents the transformational Style Wars Summer happening in this city. It’s a dope mag – more on that tomorrow. Today, I have a special treat for RVA Street Art fans. Inspired by the kids I saw at the G40 Art Summit and RVA Street Arts Festival with their own tag books. I decided to buy my own book and get it tagged up. Here are some of the photos in my personal Street Art Festival – The Cheats Movement Book of Tags.
The Just Plain Sounds, MF Doom inspired mixtape is shaping up to be a must have for the summer (FYI Fellas: I really hope you finish this summer). Every track I’ve heard from, “Weekends in Latveria” has been solid. I have two more exclusives from the upcoming mixtape. Black Liq gets down over a Doom groove for Mr. Liquid and Mike Kemetic remixes the sound for Ain’t Nuttin Like, but leave Doom rhyme flow. Let me know what you think of these two tracks. #WESEEIT
Mr. Liquid – Black Liquid
Ain’t Nuttin’ Like - Mikemetix Tronic Soulschool Refix
This week has been great for RVA comedy. It started on Wednesday with Midnight Suggestion featuring my friend The Checkout Girl, Jeff (Jeph) Kelly and Kenny Wingle. The show was already going well and then it got even better when they announced that Sara Schaefer had just showed up and was going to tell a few jokes. I’d never met Sara before but growing up here in RVA, I had heard of her success working in NYC and of course, being the Head Blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She took the mic and told some really funny, detailed, and explicit jokes. Not only was I pointed out for having a camera – I was also the only black person in the room (of about 14 people) – so Sara’s bit about ending racism went over great with this guy . I loved every minute of it. So much in fact, that she won a fan for her tour Stop at Gallery 5 Thursday night. My good friends from the RCC Katie Holcomb and David Pijor AKA Middle Management opened for Scott Moran and Sara at Gallery 5. They were great! The show had great energy because earlier in the day it was made public that Sara and her comedy partner Nikki Glaser would host a new late night show on MTV! I’m so happy for Sara!
The great comedy continues tonight as the Richmond Comedy Coalition is presenting their 3 year anniversary show at Gallery 5. Trust me…they are not the best comedy group in RVA for nothing. Make sure you check it out.
Sara Schaefer crashed Midnight Suggestion at Steady Sounds.
Jeff Kelly, The Check Out Girl, Kenny Wingle, and Sara at Midnight Suggestion.
The ARTisan Cafe is a unique shopping and social experience that happens seasonally in RVA. Created by Melody Joy Short and Adrienne Cole, their goal is to fill a noticeable void in the city by presenting a diverse range of independent artist and vendors offering one of kind goods and services. Featured in the March issue of Essence Magazine, and just recently announced as a finalist in the i.e. start-up competition, Melody and Adrienne are looking to build on their strong momentum and growing support in RVA. The next Artisan Cafe is Saturday, June 16 at Plant Zero Art Center. It starts at 6:00 PM.
Leave it up to the cats from the suburbs to take over the summer. Beer for Breakfast, the highly anticipated summer release from Suburban District is available today. It took some work but I got to hear some of the tracks last night. The District hooked up with producer Conrizzle for a large part of the album and the team hits on all levels. The majority of the new record keeps the classic District sound, up tempo party records that keep your head nodding, if not completely wildin out. You can tell that The District is taking their music to another level with this album. The record is more polished than their previous work. And as a guy that really appreciates and analyzes music videos, their new videos (which have always been strong) seem to be on par with the quality of this record. Both the videos for Candy Flip and Hands Up are very strong. Tim Porter, Octavion, and Fair have moved up a level with this record. I’m really looking forward to seeing them shut down Epic Fest and how they handle the rest of the summer.
Hello X Goodbye [Produced by Conrizzle]
Slow Down ft. Patch Carr [Produced by Conrizzle]
Album cover art work by Nicky Chulo.
I was hit up by my man Duron Chavis AKA Brother Manifest to check out his RVA Feast award winning project: The McDonough Community Garden. This is a community based garden located at 3300 McDonough Street on the Southside of RVA. The garden is being built in an area designated by the USDA as a food dessert – which means the area has limited access to fresh grown fruits and vegetables. The visuals speak for themselves but the scene Saturday was a diverse group of Richmonders coming together for a common good. It was great to see. S/O to all those that helped out. Make sure the visit the McDonough Community Garden Facebook page for more information. #WESEEIT
Recently I have been thinking a lot about understanding my value – knowing my place – and playing my position. Weather it be with The Cheats Movement Blog in RVA, at work, or even within my family. There is no doubt that I have a lot of self confidence. But I’ve been trying to dig deeper into the root of that confidence and the source of that foundation. Mos Def once said on a record (I think it’s the intro to Black on Both Sides) that every person must understand that they are valuable – and that they are valuable for the simple reason that they are created by GOD. I truly believe that. I also believe that knowledge of self – understanding who you are and where you come from is one of the most important lessons a young person can be taught. A few days ago, I sat down with one of may favorite people, RVA’s musical genius Ohbliv. We sat down for a must read interview (S/O RVA Mag) and we got into a few deep topics. I asked him, what is the most important lesson that he can to teach his young son. Without hesitation, Brad O said, “to always be yourself,” he would teach him his worth. That answer blew me away. I think if a young person is taught that important lesson early in their life – the fact that they are valuable – it has a significant impact on that person’s entire life. I know that lesson was taught to me by my mother and it’s a lesson that has stuck with me.
While at the same time, it’s true that I openly struggle with some new challenges closely associated with understand my worth and carving out my place. I don’t have a hidden agenda – I want The Cheats Movement Blog to be an important part of RVA’s creative community. It doesn’t have to be the best blog in Richmond (though if it was consider that – I wouldn’t bet mad lol). I just want it to have it’s place…I don’t know how to measure that…I won’t pretend to know how. I do know that thanks to my foundation – and the lesson that were taught to me – I know that my existence has value and is worth something. And I hope that anyone who cares to take the time to read this blog (or post) knows that too. It’s never too late to gain more knowledge of self – never to late to understand your value – and know that your position is yours…play it to the best of your ability. We’re going to keep going. S/O to my man Brad O…your clip is a great lesson for everyone. #WE SEE IT
The best thing about The Cheats Movement blog is that it allows me to meet new people and learn about new things in RVA. I met my dude Sheb AKA Skywalk3R at the Shadrock Music Fest and he told me about his weekly radio show Electronica Weekly. I told him that I didn’t know much about electronica music beside the amazing photos that I have seen of his live shows (Skywalk3R does his thing with the trio Nint3ndo). He invited me down to the U of R radio station to check out his show in person. It was a really cool trip. His studio partner Justin AKA E!i Cash was in the mix, djing some on-air sets. I was able to talk Cheats Movement but mostly learn about the EDM music scene in RVA . I had now idea what was going on right here in this city. I can’t wait to shoot one of these crazy shows. Make sure you stay up one Tuesday night and check out the show: The Electronica Weekly Radio Show airs every Tuesday Night from 11pm-1am on WCDE’s 90.1 – Richmond, VA! For live listening, please go to www.wdce.org.
SKYWALK3R AND E!i CASH – The host of Electronica Weekly
E!i CASH: Lil Wayne vs. Minnesota – Babylon Stuntin (Dubstep Mashup 320 DL)
SKYWALK3r: NINT3NDO (SKYWALK3R Glitchfvk) – X1
S/O to Seven Hills - No Name No Brain Productions – Mix Breed family and extended camp. I love the grind fellas. I’m looking forward to finally checking out Jo Casino live a Epic Fest and seeing what the future holds for my dude Charles Diamond and the rest of the Mix Breed team. Always love to Tom and Arya for killing the game with their work. Enjoy this collection of hip hop from the Seven Hill family. Check out all of the their collective work.
What a blessing it was to cover the Stone Soul Music Festival on Saturday at Brown’s Island. I have to again thank Community Clovia for her help allowing me to cover the amazing day. Stone Soul was fantastic! Great weather, live performances, and friendly people made for a spectacular event. I know a lot of photographers covered the festival but I was able to really get some strong work done backstage (mostly stalking the new love of my life Melanie Fiona). Parliament killed it and George Clinton is just a great dude. Tank is wonderful guy. And my man Special Ed…true hip hop history. Boyz II Men were very friendly and professional.Travis Porter and V.I.C were great backstage. I really didn’t see Fabolous backstage because of his bodygaurd …that all I will say about that. Always good to see my sista Mimi and Black RVA…luv to them for all they do.
I will say that all the on air personalities at Radio One were great to me. I was humbled to be there and hope I can do more to cover these types of events in the future. No one is doing it quite like The Cheats Movement Blog – and I need your continued support. I’m not saying that I’m doing it better by any means…just a different look. A look that relates directly to the city that I love. #WE SEE IT! and it’s all for RVA! PLEASE KEEP SUPPORTING THE CHEATS MOVEMENT ON FACEBOOK
Melanie Fiona and George Clinton Backstage at Stone Soul.
My path first intersected with the lovely Sara Gossett the weekend of the Shadrock Music Festival. After battling horrible weather and ultimately shooting De La Soul at Brown’s Island, a group of us danced the night away at Balliceaux. Sara, aka Sister Goldenhaze, was spinning old school dance tunes with her friend DJ Mixie. I was blown away. So blown away that the following week I reached out to Sara and DJ Mixie to get them both on the blog.
I was delighted to learn that Sara also paints and draws. I stopped by her first solo show last night at Steady Sounds to officially introduce myself and check out her show.
Sara was great to meet in person. I look forward to showcasing more of her talent on The Cheats Movement. If you can, swing by Steady Sounds to check out her showing and also click here to buy her work online.