Here it is The Cheats Movement 2014 logo! Operating at the intersection of Community X Art X Culture. What do you think of the new logo?
Cheats Movement photos of the final Face Melt Friday of the year are now posted on The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Visit the Cheats Movement Facebook page – Like the page and share the photos with your friends! Also, Sunday December 8th at Gallery 5 is RVA HOT SAUCE. It will feature a live hip hop cypher – if you want to get down buy a ticket – show up – and sign up on December 8th. WE SEE IT!
This week Design Rebels, a socially conscious design class at VCU, is promoting tolerance in the Richmond community by distributing their coffee sleeves at two local coffee shops in RVA: Crossroads by VCU (26 N. Morris Street) and Crossroads on Forest Hill (3600 Forest Hill Ave – AKA Club Crossroads).
The series of sleeves (4 designs total) include a photo and quote from various members of the LGBT community. The goal is to encourage acceptance of and compassion towards the LGBT community. I hope you will visit these locations this week and pick up a sleeve. There is no place for prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. I’m proud to support a more inclusive RVA. For more information visit the Design Rebel website at: http://vcudesignrebels.wordpress.com/.
Coming live from the Southside, Radio B’s new album “Whole Foods” hit the streets yesterday. What started as “bridge the gap” album between “Live Good and Be Great” and the next installment of that series, “Whole Foods” was suppose to be a lower profile album – but in the true form of his click Association of Great Minds (AGM), Radio couldn’t just do “any” album, so Whole Foods organically turned into something much more.
I sat down with Radio at The Shop – in the Manchester section of RVA – earlier this summer – following AGM’s classic performance at Epic Fest – and he told me about the motivation he has to make good music and elevate the city’s hip hop scene.
One of the first things people need to understand is that Radio Blitz is a true fan of hip hop. His knowledge of classic records, beats, rhymes, and culture is something that most people won’t fully comprehend unless you draw it out of him – one on one. Our conversation ran the gambit: from Tribe to Jay to Nas to AZ – but what really struck me about Radio’s approach to Whole Foods was his goal of reaching a particular “classic” feeling, “I want to provide a pure, authentic and organic hip hop experience. Something nostalgic – that reminded you why you fell in love with hip hop and to remind me why I started rapping.”
The most appropriate review I can give of “Whole Foods” is that it’s quality hip hop from top to bottom. Radio really shows his range and diversity as an MC. The track, Live From the Southside – produced by Trac-Qaeda – gives you a real introduction to the record and Radio’s heady rhyme style. I think of Radio – both rhyme style and presence – as the AZ of Richmond. He’s not the most acclaimed feature on a record but it’s often his verse that you find yourself repeating over and over again.
Live From The Southside – Radio B
He gets his swag on talking – what MC’s talk on the Nickelus F produced track “Dixie Normus” and then gets his Nas/Slick Rick story telling on with his brother Nick F on the track, The Cart B4 The Horse.
Whole Foods is the first album that Radio has work with wide range of producers. Don’t worry – AGM super-producer NameBrand still has the title track – but production really comes from Cashby, Trac-Qaeda, and Nickelus F. Radio takes you into a “Public Service Announcement” moment – without the reintroduction – on the Ohbliv produced “Journal Entry.” Radio is clear on, “If you can’t see my motivation/I don’t need to bring you around…”.
When speaking about his peers in RVA hip hop and, particularly those in AGM, Radio was candid, “It’s healthy competition within our group – I see what my brothers are doing and it motivates me to work harder – go further. My brothers in AGM is who I look at and listen to – to really spark that fire within me.” He went on to say, “sometimes we (AGM) can come across as misunderstood a bit – like we are too into our own movements – and that’s not really the case. We really motivate each other and that competition pushes us to the next level. We’re never pulling others down – we’re about elevating our music.” That sentiment comes across in Whole Foods because the real highlight of the album is the Whole Foods cyphers – 3 editions – spread throughout the album that features 17 local spittas. I’ve never seen anything like it on record in RVA hip hop. The cyphers alone is reason enough to support the album but the album itself is the real gem. Radio B delivers a classic for RVA. #WE SEE IT
I’ve never rated an album before – so this is a Cheats Movement first: 4.6 mics out of 5. The best Radio B album to date – and in my 2013 RVA Hip Hop classic albums of the year.
Radio B will be performing at The RETURN OF RVA HOT SAUCE on December 8th at Gallery 5. Tickets are available right now at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-return-of-rva-hot-sauce-tickets-9233715291?aff=eac2
My brother Mikemetic put in serious work on this documentary short featuring his son Meechi – and their trip to Graffiti Mecca 5 Pointz in NYC. Mike has been putting in work all over RVA social media and is making a splash with his newest social media project NATIVES – make sure to visit the site. WE SEE IT!
“About 6 months ago Meech and I took a trip to NYC to visit the international graffiti museum 5 Pointz. The building has been in a legal struggle the past couple of months as developers and the owner of the property want to demolish it and turn it into high rise condos. I put this short vid together in support of 5 pointz and as a preview to a more expansive street art retrospective coming out December 2013. Check it out and visit 5ptz.com to see how you can help.”
To view the entire photo album – visit the Cheats Movement Facebook Page - Share & Follow! WE SEE IT!
History was made last night at the Old Towne Civic Center in Petersburg. The God Emcee Rakim was in the building. Thanks to Soul Logistics Radio – S/O the brothers J.D. Haze – Doug Evans – Rodney “Soul Singer” – and everyone that work so hard to make a historic night happen. In addition to Rakim the night featured performances by Narubi Selah, Rodney “Soul Singer”, J.D. Haze, & Jasmine.
The evening was hosted by Doug Evans. I had a minute to catch up with Doug after the show and asked him why it was so important that this event came to the Burg, “There is a a lot of shooting – a lot of killing – and a lot of wanna be rappers in our community – so I thought if I bring the God Emcee – the best of the best Rakim – he would enlighten the town and give people hope an inspiration.”
J. D. Haze echoed those comments, “Us being emcees and inspiring emcees, Rakim defiantly had an impact on us by having a righteous posture and keeping it funky for the people. With all the negativity that goes on in our community it is important that we can show that we can have fun in hip-hop in the original way it was intended: peace, love, unity, and having fun, and that’s what we did tonight.
Twitter: @CheatsMWC Email via the FB page!
Yesterday I visited with Movement Family at the First Annual Harvest Festival presented by Renew Richmond. The Green Harvest Festival celebrated healthy food, urban agriculture and community health. Despite the unpredictable weather and some outdoor sound issues we gathered at Jerusalem Connection Community Garden on Richmond’s south side to bond and enjoy some good food and music. Any day that I can hear one of my favorite songs “The Call” performed live by my brother JD Haze – it’s a good day. I was able to capture some special family moments on camera. To see all the photos from the event – visit and LIKE the Cheats Movement Facebook page.
There something really special happening in RVA right now surrounding urban gardening and producing healthy food in areas designated as food deserts. One of the people leading these efforts is my brother Duron Chavis (pictured above). Make sure you follow him on Facebook and twitter to learn more about his urban garden efforts in the RVA Community.
JD Haze (above) Any day I can hear The Call performed live it’s a good day
For all the photos visit and Like the Cheats Movement Facebook page. WE SEE IT!
I was not able to spend a lot of time at this year’s Street Art Festival but here are a few photos from my visit Sunday. Let me know which mural you think is the best.
For more photos check out and follow: The Cheats Movement on FB. #WESEEIT
I know that it has been a minute but I have so many photos from Fall Line Fest, I can’t drop them all on the blog. I will have them up on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Like the Cheats Movement FB Page and check out all the photos. Fall Line Fest was a huge success for RVA. I can’t wait until next year. Thanks to all that performed and supported. #WE SEE IT. This is exactly what RVA needs. Lovin my city right now!
The entire Cheats Movement X Fall Line Fest photo album will be on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page!
Why I Love RVA Today: The Horn RVA’s video on this weekend’s Fall Line Fest. There will be more recap and photos to come this week on The Cheats Movement and The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. WE SEE IT.
Right in time for Fall Line Fest – Brand New Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand (Produced by Ohbliv). Ms. Proper will be performing on Saturday September 7 at 6 PM at the legendary Hippodrome. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the track.
Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand
On Sept 6 & Sept 7, the first ever Fall Line Fest invades in downtown Richmond. The festival features 5 venues: The Hippodrome Theater, The Camel, Strange Matter, Love RVA (Friday only), Gallery 5 (Saturday only) and over 40 bands. The Cheats Movement Blog is excited to play a small part of this inaugural festival. In the spirit of SXSW – one wrist band gets you into every venue – that’s right – one wrist band and you can get a band for $20 right now: http://falllinefest.com/2013/#tickets.
I’m excited that several members of the family – extended family – and bands that I’m just a fan of are playing. Here the first in a series of FLF previews that I’m hype about:
Ms. Proper – Saturday September 7th – Hippodrome Theater – 6 PM
Ms. Proper (shown above): has been one of the my favorite MCs since I started the Cheats Movement Blog in 2011. Always laying down for RVA (though she has recently relocated to the ATL), Ms. Proper has consistently carried the torch for female MCs and RVA as a whole. Her show always brings a level of energy and excitement that is worth the price of admission. GET THERE EARLY on Saturday September 7th. I guarantee if you miss Proper’s set you will regret it.
Ohbliv – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 7:30 PM
I don’t know what I can say about Ohbliv that really hasn’t been said. He is getting to legend status in the game right now. The most truthful thing I can say is that Obliv is RVA’s most popular best kept secret. Hard to explain, I know, but this brother has been on Hot 97.com, he’s doing shows all over the country, released a record in Iceland and yet RVA – I’m not sure you realize what you have right here. If you’ve seen an Ohbliv set – I don’t have to tell you but if you’ve never seen this brother live – be there at 7:30 PM at the historic Hippodrome. Ohbliv will make you move.
DOE the Paperboy – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 6:45 PM
I’ve been so impressed with DOE the Paperboy over the last two years. He reps Petersburg to the fullest. DOE is constantly pushing the boundary of what Central VA hip hop can do. He is a artist and mogul – representing the DOE brand everywhere he goes. His rhyme style puts him in the upper levels of the game and his visuals and production have been off the chain. DOE has really extended his live shows, recently headlining The National with his friends Against Grace. Most Def a great addition to FLF.
Photosynthesizers – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 8:15 PM
One of my favorite bands (period). Photosynthesizers has it all: great music – a great live set – personality – talent – they are just a complete band. One of my favorite bands to be around and I’m excited that they are working on new material to get out to the world. Versitilty is the word that comes to mind when I think of Photos. You can’t put them in a box – you want to go lyrics? Bar Codez got you. You want to go Soul or even Rock? Sam Reed can handle that – DJ’s? New addition Billy Nguyen is on it. And that’s not even mention J. Bryant, Data and Chelsea. Photos is ready to break out.
Finishing the night at the Hippodrome are the amazing NO BS! Brass Band and New Orleans’ Big Freedia. September 7th will be an amazing night at the Hippodrome – don’t wait – buy your ticket to the entire Fall Line Fest right now!
NO BS! Brass Band Plays the Hippodrome at 9:30 PM (Photo taken from NO BS! Brass FB page)
No BS! Brass and Big Freedia photos taken from their Facebook fan pages. All other photos shot by Cheats
I have to give full credit where credit is due, my good friend Matt Newman from the Coalition Theater tipped me to an amazing online comic strip that reviews the lineage of hip hop. He sent me the link to Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree and I was hooked. I have to admit – Hip Hop Family Tree is the best comic strip I have read since the run of The Boondocks. Not just the for the history lessons (and there are several), Ed Piskor is an amazing artist. He visually captures the grittiness of NYC in the late 70s and early 80s. He has worked with giants in the industry and has an impressive run of projects himself. Hip Hop Family Tree is solid on so many levels and I set out to find out some background and details about the comic. Lucky for us, Ed is not hard to track down and was willing to be interviewed for The Cheats Movement. Huge shout to Ed for taking the time. WE SEE IT!
Cheats: Hip Hop Family Tree is amazing. As a hip hop fan, I can’t stop reading it. How did it all come about?
Ed Piskor: It started by accident really. I’ve wanted to do a comic where old school Hip Hop would be an aesthetic backdrop for years. Even as far back as high school. I couldn’t figure out what the story would be. A crime story? A Love and Rockets slice of life tale? Ultimately just doing a straight-up narrative about the history of Hip Hop was the way to go.
When were you introduced to hip hop and how has hip hop culture made an impression on your life?
Ed Piskor: I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 80s and Hip Hop was everywhere I looked. My house was nestled in between 3 major parks in my neighborhood and at any given time you would see breakdancing or you’d see guys in a circle rapping while they waited their turn to play basketball. The fliest drug dealers looked like Eric B and Rakim. There were old-ass pimps who still dressed the part and talked with that rap patter.
Hip Hop Family Tree serves as a true history lesson. How do you determine the stories you want to tell and in what order?
I literally don’t know exactly how the strips will flow from week to week. I have to keep it fun for myself. I have a basic structure of things thanks to the release of the records so that’s how I keep my linearity. Other than that, each Sunday and/or Monday I sit around reading everything I can to unearth some really cool, hopefully visually interesting anecdotes. It is best when dealing with a situation that involves a group because you can find interviews with sometimes five people recalling events in different ways and I almost have to go by consensus at times.
Have you worked directly with any hip hop pioneers in making the comic?
Not really, though many people have reached out to express appreciation. Lots of rappers have tweeted and retweeted strips, etc. I’ll get wild phone calls every now and again.
What is the strangest response/reaction you have received regarding the comic?
There was one lame-o who didn’t like the comic and had a million reasons for it. He is one of those computer science professors from Carnegie Mellon University who also happens to be white. I told him that I would sacrifice every one of him as a reader if it continues to mean that DMC, Chuck D, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Biz Markie, MC Shan, The Furious Five, etc continue to promote the work by sharing it on their Facebook accounts and twitter pages.
You do a great job at capturing the vibrancy and grittiness of NYC during the birth of hip hop. Is there any part of you that wishes that time could come back?
Not really. We should constantly move forward but it doesn’t hurt to look back and learn from history.
What is next for you and Hip Hop Family Tree?
I’ve really been thinking a lot about doing another Wizzywig comic. This is the computer hacker comic I did before HHFT. There’s so much insane shit going on with Whistleblowers, Wikileaks, Snowden, Manning, etc. That’s years away though. I’m doing the HHFT comics as at least a 5 book series. Book 1 will be available in October/November. Book 2 is almost done and will be out next Summer. Then the rest of the books will stabilize and be released annually or so.
How can we keep up with your work moving forward?
All the Hip Hop comics are online starting with strip 1 here: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/brain-rot-hip-hop-family-tree.html
Twitter.com/edpiskor would probably be a good place to keep updated. Edpiskor on tumblr too.
Thanks Ed. Please support his work!
Those in the know are in the know…..I don’t know any details. I just know how Joe Threat treated me… he was always unbelievably kind to me personally and a huge fan of The Cheats Movement Blog. I’ve definitely got a heavy heart…this one is for Joe Threat, his RVA hip hop family, and the culture. Gone too soon.
I’m sure by now you have heard about and seen the signs about Fall Line Fest. The Cheats Movement Blog is pleased to be a small part of this “new” effort and hope that everyone will take advantage of this inaugural event. So what is in store? What do you need to know? In short:
The first annual Fall Line Fest will be taking place in Richmond, Virginia on September 6th and 7th, 2013. Featuring 42 bands across four venues on two nights, as well as various events at nationally recognized restaurants and art galleries, Fall Line Fest plans to bring attention to the increasingly impressive cultural offerings of Richmond.
Born out of a shared love of their city, the organizers of Fall Line Fest first and foremost set out to showcase many of the aspects that make Richmond great. With a focus on music, art, and food, the event will balance national / regional talent alongside the best and brightest hometown favorites, all presented within a walkable portion of the downtown area.
· September 6 and 7
· 4 Venues (Hippodrome, The Camel, Gallery 5, Strange Matter, Love RVA)
· 42 Bands
· 8 Art Galleries – in partnership with First Fridays
· 5 Restaurants
· $20 Weekend Pass
There is a considerable amount of local flair brought to this year’s festival: Photosynthesizers, No BS! Brass Band, Ohbliv, Black Liquid, Ms. Proper, DOE the Paperboy, Mikemetic, Dead Fame, White Laces and more.
Come out right now (& this weekend) to help with the Light of Human Kindness Mural Project…The Light of Human Kindness is an interactive mural in RVA that explores what happens when art, technology and kindness come together to illuminate the power of human connection. At the kindness wall at the old GRTC Depot on Cary Street across from Selba.
Fans poured into RVA from all over the east coast this weekend to attend the 2013 Richmond Jazz Festival. This year’s festival featured several Grammy award winning musicians, headlined by an electric performance from Jill Scott and a soulful performance given by Michael McDonald to close out the weekend at Maymont Park.
Thanks to the great team at Johnson Inc. S/O to Ken Johnson, Torrence Hampton, Jasmine Roberts – and my girl (who had me dying with laughter all weekend) Maressa Dawn – for the opportunity to attend and photograph what is clearly a growing enterprise of success.
Despite a Saturday afternoon thunderstorm that temporarily cleared the park, the organizers kept the music lovers safe and festival operating smooth. It’s important to note that the Jazz Festival is not just about the amazing music, it is a festival operating at the highest level in retail and food. Homegrown eatery Croaker’s Spot is always a fan favorite with their fried fish dinners but there was variety of different types of food and beer and wine vendors operating at the festival. The combinations of activities really made the festival special on all levels.
Another great aspect about the Richmond Jazz Fest is the access fans have to their favorite musicians. Just about every artist at this year’s festival visited the media tent,met with fans, signed autographs and took pictures.
Who were my favorite performances of the festival? Of course, I’m not just going to name one – here is my list of the best of the best: Jill Scott is amazing and can do no wrong. A very fitting headliner, she did an amazing job. Jill looked and sounded amazing. The Wailers headlined Sunday night on the Dominion Stage and they were fantastic. Keeping reggae music alive and holding down the spirit of the late Bob Marley, they had the massive crowd skanking to classic Wailers music. Michael McDonald has a ton of hits and he played them with spirit and bravado. He was fantastic. I honestly forgot how many great songs McDonald has in his catalog, from his time with the Doobie Brothers to the Motown remakes – his was great.
The surprise of the festival was the three-time Grammy nominated band from Cuba Tiempo Libre. Wow! They had the Virginia is for Lovers stage on fire Sunday. Their performance was so high energy that the crowd even broke out into a conga line. It was one of my favorite performances of the festival.
There were so many more memorable performances: Dr. John, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Robert Glasper, Dee Dee Bridgewater – I honestly can’t name them all – but I do have photos. For all of my photos from the 2013 Richmond Jazz Festival – click HERE and follow The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook. I will be uploading more photos only on my The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. WE SEE IT
No doubt about it – this year’s 2013 Richmond Mural Project brought a new level of attention to RVA’s art scene. The media coverage was elevated and the murals seemed to take on a more inviting style to the general public. Popular artist like Angry Woebots, Stormie Mills, Etam Cru, Greg Mike, & Gaia brought art enthusiast from afar and gave instant credibility to the vision. I was able to catch up with the man behind the Richmond Mural Project Shane Pomajambo of Art Whino to chat with him about this year’s success, lessons learned, and his plan of the future. WE SEE IT!
This year’s Richmond Mural Project seemed to explode in regards to media coverage and overall reception. What is your take on RVA’s interest in enthusiasm regarding public art and the mural project?
The coverage has been overwhelming. Everyone around the world is buzzing about the Richmond Mural Project mostly because of the star line-up of artists painting in the city and their big following both in fans and press. As we go into the second year more and more people are aware of what we are doing and the mission of the Richmond Mural project. I am looking forward to those same people telling their friends and quadrupling the support next year.
Compare this year’s Richmond Mural Project to last year’s G40 and tell me what lessons did you learn from last year and how they were able to assist you this year.
A lot of lessons were definitely learned last year - from organizing and getting muralist up in the morning up at the same time in the morning to organization of the smaller items which have to fall into place. This year was a slam dunk in all aspects and we have definitely had smooth sailings.
What was the final total on artist and murals?
This year we had 13 muralist in town with a total of 22 Mural implemented for a grand total of 45 so far.
What has been the major challenge in ensuring live art projects –like the Richmond Mural Project – succeed in places like Richmond?
If I understand your question correctly you are asking what is the major challenge in producing the Richmond Mural project? Funny enough there really has been a major challenge which is why the project is so successful. From day one the Mayors office has been quick to adopt the project as a official Arts District project. The business owners have been overwhelming supportive such as Alan and Todd from Selba and Meeshell, Ernst and Johnny from business such as Sidewalk Cafe and Kitchen 64. Of course the people have been super supportive as well. People such as you Marc who help spread the word!
What is your long-term vision for the Richmond Mural Project?
My long term vision for the Richmond Mural project is to have the largest collection of murals from the greatest Muralists in the world right here in good ole Richmond. This will attract visitors from all over the world for years on end to come to Richmond and enjoy its amazing multidimensional offerings it has.
Do you have a favorite mural in Richmond?
I don’t because for me my favorite thing about the murals is the process. When you place the perfect muralist in the perfect spot and they create a piece that is his or her reaction to their experience in Richmond for me is my favorite part. So with that said they are all my favorite!
ATL’s Greg Mike destroyed my book of tags earlier this week. He went out of his way to hook it up while he was in town for the Richmond Mural Project. Check out his work at: http://gregmike.com/ Follow The Cheats Movement for more Richmond Mural Project work drops. Greg Mike is the TRUTH! WE SEE IT!
Thanks to Michael Jordan and all the Nike Basketball ads that followed during that era – it is safe to say I grew up in the golden age of Nike basketball commercials from the MJ X Spike Lee classic collaborations of “It’s gotta be the shoes” to Charles Barkley’s “I’m not a role model” to David Robinson’s Neighborhood to my all-time favorite Penny Hardaway X Lil Penny, played by Chris Rock. These commercials were great because while they were shoe commercials, they had little to do with the actual shoes. The next day all my friends were talking about were the characters, imagery, celebrity cameos, just about everything but the shoe (which were dope by the way).
As a basketball fan, I do feel we are finally moving into a new golden age of hoops. Thanks to King James and more importantly because of time. The younger generation of basketball fans are finally getting to the age where the don’t remember MJ with the Bulls – I know right – we are getting that old. And so they don’t realize that MJ was the greatest player ever to lace up the sneakers (don’t get me started on MJ vs. Kobe vs. Lebron). They don’t understand that MJ (in his prime) was better than Lebron, Kobe, Magic, Bird, Wilt or any other person that could name. Okay – I’ve lost focus BUT my point. While we have moved into a new golden age of hoops – the shoe commercials have not been as plentiful or as awesome as back in the Jordan era.
Lebron had a good run with The Lebrons a few years ago. But there really hasn’t been a commercial that keeps people talking like back when Lil Penny was hitting on Tyra Banks. However, there is hope. Earlier this week I was introduced to Drain – Blake Griffin’s sidekick who is always ready for a run, talks trash, dresses like Mars Blackmon, and never misses a jumper. Blake and Drain are a throwback for Nike and I loved it. Check it out and let me know what had been your favorite Nike Hoops commercial over the years. WE SEE IT – The Cheats Movement Blog.
The homie, RVA emcee, activist, teacher, and all around good dude Isaac Ramsey AKA Swordplay hit me with the new video for the track “No T.S. Eliot.” It’s the lead video from his new album Tap Water – a collaboration with Pierre the Motionless. Filmed by Dave O’Dell at the familiar Helen’s Restaurant in the Fan District, Swordplay uses his classic intellectual style with a dope RVA imagery.
The album Tap Water was released on July 20th and is available at: http://doradorovitch.bandcamp.com/
The very dope Aniekan Udofia is leaving his mark on the Harlem of the South – Jackson Ward. He has completed one mural on the side of Thai Cabin on 2nd street and working on the side of the legendary Hippodrome. I caught up with Aniekan earlier this week and got a shot of his dope sketches and the final Thai Cabin wall. WE SEE IT!
Udofia sketch in front of the final product – Classic
“Look at where we at….we here,” DOE said to no one in particular. It was minutes before he took the stage at the National. He was in front of a hometown crowd and for a brief second, he was standing alone. His high school classmate and friend Wes Tatum had just led Against Grace through a energizing performance and after about 4 hours of rock bands – the only artist left to perform was the hip hop musician/mogul representing the Burg.
I didn’t confused his self-talk for nerves. It was clear to me that DOE was not nervous. He was humbled. He was taking it all in. If you’ve ever seen him perform before you’d know that he is a seasoned performer. His performances are high-energy and he carries a strong stage presence. But this night was different. His name was outside on the marquee – DJ Foot was on duty – and there were a lot (a lot) of D.O.E. shirts in the audience. They had come out specifically to see him. This show was different – it is exactly where DOE The Paperboy wanted to be. It’s what he has been working for – it wasn’t nerves it was just a realization that he was where he wanted to be. And he was about to rip the stage.
The show itself was a bit of a blur..DOE pulled out all the stops and spared no expense to make his performance one of the best of his career. I had several favorite moments but none better than DOE pulling a dedicated young fan/and fellow emcee out of the crowd to go toe to toe performing one of DOE’s tracks. It was an amazing moment during a hip hop show – you just don’t see that type of support for a so-called” local” artist…that moment is what superstars do. It was unique and really cool.
DOE also brought out one of my favorite artist, Ms. Proper, to rock with him on stage. Ms. Proper holds it down not only for RVA (though she has recently relocated) but she holds it down for female emcees. I was glad to see her rock the stage with DOE -and get ready because it is set to happen again this year at the Fall Line Fest in September (more on that in the coming weeks).
To wrap up the evening, I will finish by highlighting what I think the key to DOE’s success is – it’s his motto: Drive Over Everything. It’s well documented that he has been through some challenges but it’s his drive that pushes him forward and keeps him focused. The ability to create your own path is a rare trait. DOE has that trait and has been using it forge a new way not only in hop hop but in everything he does. There was a moment at the end of the show where it looked like DOE was just going to break down – like he wasn’t going to be able to continue – the emotion of the evening had gotten to him but then he held his head high – pounded his chest and pushed through. Stay tuned – DOE is still pushing and there is much more to come.