I love the holiday season for a number of reasons but one of the main reasons is because I get to witness RVA’s giving spirit. I’ve have been a volunteer at the Giving Heart Thanksgiving dinner from just over half of their 8 years and it’s such a rewarding experience. This year was even more special for me because I was joined by my wonderful wife. Together we took pictures of smiles, laughs, hugs, and pure joy.
The Giving Hearts Thanksgiving dinner is just one of many organizations doing great work during the holiday season. RVA Feed the City fed a record number of people this year in Monroe Park on what had to be one of the coldest days of the year. GiveThanksRVA, led by Prabir Mehta and Travis Tucker, is organizing RVA’s arts and music community to support local non-profits such as HomeAgain. It’s a great time of year to see RVA’s giving spirit and community focus.
This year’s Giving Heart Dinner had some very special guest, Mayor Dwight Jones address the over 800 volunteers in the morning and the VCU Men’s basketball team visited the Convention Center in the afternoon. But I have to say the real stars of the event were the volunteers, the Giving Heart leadership led by the amazing Vicki Neilson and the people that came out to communed together.
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!
Kids and Cameras
No matter the time
No matter the place
There are no language barriers
There are no communication breakdowns
Smiles are universal
Laughs are universal
Love crosses all boundaries
I took the Cheats Movement camera to the heart of the Dominican Republic, the historic city of Santo Domingo. It was there that I found school children wearing Knicks and Red Sox hats . They all stopped, smiled, and stunted for photos. They all ran the streets with happiness – glad to be on a field trip. I couldn’t help myself to break-off from my tour group and join them in the universal language of fun. WE SEE IT!
Thank you for supporting the Cheats Movement Photography! The movement is growing – WE SEE IT!
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!
Family, This weekend was amazing. I married the love of my life and now we are taking a brief break to recover from all the epic activities of the weekend However, have no fear. The Cheats Movement Blog (and family) is growing stronger and upon our return will be even more dedicated to promoting the positive aspects of RVA to the fullest. There is so much epicness ahead. It is my prayer that all of you will continue and share in the crazy ride with us. This blog may be hosted by me but it’s truly a shared activity. Words cannot express how much both Aria and I love RVA – the people that make greatest place for us to be. We Love You! WE SEE IT!
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!
LIGHT OF HUMAN KINDNESS UPDATE: Hamilton Glass is on the scene and started painting today. I took a few photos of his progress. HAM? is really going freestyle with the mural. I asked him earlier today did he have a sketch and he does but he’s really trying to feel out the project; it seems that the end result will be much more organic. Follow the Light of Human Kindness both HERE and on Facebook.
I also have to give a huge S/O and happy birthday to Ed Trask. Ed is the architect of the RVA Street Art Festival and has really moved through a lot of challenges this year to pull the festival off. Happy Birthday Ed!
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.
Big Shout to the homie Jonathan Martin (Love RVA Gallery) for this great video of the Richmond Mural Project. 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!
This is the first mural ETAM CRU (BEZT & SAINER) has done in the U.S. Honestly, this is their first time across the pond to the U.S. but that didn’t stop them from making an impact with one of the best murals of the Richmond Mural Project. Located in the 7-11 parking lot on West Grace right by the Village Cafe (heart of VCU), ETAM CRU’s mural is beautiful and though provoking. WE SEE IT.
Last night, I made two separate trips to Gallery 5 to catch day three of WRIR X Commonwealth of Notions: Volume Three. It was a great time even though I only saw two of the near ten bands that took the stage. I made a special early trip to see my friends Jameson and Laney of Lobo Marino play live. It’s been a long time coming for me to see them perform. I’m a huge fan of another event they do in RVA, The Silent Music Revival and have been looking a chance to see them perform as a band.
All I can tell you about their performance is 1. I loved it and 2. Jameson and Laney are on a different level. It’s hard for me to describe but their music is spiritual and soulful at the same time. I love their use of various instruments – including a accordion and recorder – and how both Jameson and Laney use their voices as instruments. It’s a dope groove and every song takes you to a different place. I loved it and can’t wait to see them again.
After a long break to do family activities – yes, I have to do family activities – I made it back to Gallery 5 to see the final performance of the night, Baby Help Me Forget. The first time I saw Baby Help Me Forget was their final show at the WRIR annual fundraiser nearly two years ago. I remember the band being flat out awesome and wondering aloud – why are they calling it quits. Nonetheless- they were back for a reunion performance and they were again awesome. Baby Help Me Forget is a concert photographer’s dream. They have so much energy it is unreal.
For the second year in a row, B-More s artist Gaia, took the trip down to RVA to bless our city with a fantastic mural. Gaia has been on a grind like no other in the past 12 months, traveling all over the world, and was recently ranked #1 on Complex Magazine’s list of the 50 greatest street artist right now. You can see his mural on the corner of Main and Rowland in the fan.
The Richmond Mural Project is rolling along. EVER finished the first mural at Selba (on Cary St.) and in a very swift two-day mural, EVER’s fellow Argentinean Sonni, went up at Portrait House (2907 W. Cary Street) in Carytown. WE SEE IT!
The creators of last year’s G40 Art Summit are back to work in RVA. Shane Pomajambo, founder and director of Art Whino, and his creative partner Tony Harris of RVA Mag have a goal to bring 20 new murals to RVA in over the next two weeks as a part of The Richmond Mural Project. EVER (Nicolás Romeo) of Buenos Aires, Argentina is the first internationally known artist to visit and complete a mural for this year’s project. EVER’s finished mural can been seen at Selba (2416 W Cary St Richmond, VA). Ever, along with local based collaborator, Ben Larsen are heading down to Harrison street today to start a new wall at 534. Check back on The Cheats Movement Blog and Facebook for new update of the Richmond Mural Project. WE SEE IT
Inspired by the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia, HaBitS (Hawk and Bez is the Smoothest) links up with RVA’s mad genius Ohbliv, the conscience of the city Brother Manifest and creative director Cheats of the Cheats Movement to create Inner Workings. WE SEE IT. Please follow the entire team on twitter: @AllGoodHaBitS, @BrotherManifest, @Ohbliv, @CheatsMWC and share this video on Facebook and twitter. Show love for RVA.
The Cheats Movement Blog (Follow this blog) will be bringing you all-access coverage of Epic Fest 2013. S/O to Octavion X, Cain McCoy, and the entire team Slapdash for having the vision and foresight to host a four day hip hop event featuring local and regional acts. You have to understand, Epic Fest gives love to the underrepresented hip hop community in the Greater Richmond area – that’s love. I hope you check out the imagines on The Cheats Movement over the next four days, S/O to RVA Mag (who I saw in the building), and any of the other outlet shining the light on RVA hip hop (truly it’s not that many).
Epic Fest is so big this year they had to split day one between two venues: Summer Breeze, which featured some of my favorite R&B acts such Lela Biz, Mimi Velez, Erika J, and Anhayla – I “heard” was live! I say heard because I was not there…I know but Epic Fest was so large that I had to make a choice on which event to cover last night and I had to go with my roots – the more hip hop based show Project Wake Up!! at Infuzion.
I’m doing something different for Epic Fest 2013. In honor of one of my favorite photographers Mel D. Cole who often kills events in Black & White, I’m shooting all 4 days in Black & White. I love the medium and want to add an unique spin to what everyone else is doing – so check for the Cheats Movement Logo and the Black & White the next 4 days.
Hawk – HaBitS
The “Real” YFD – S/O Chris Haskins
Doe Boy Tha Dude (YFD)
My friend Jason Lefton has a BIG thing for lasers. And he has manifested his fascination with lasers into a very creative business called BIG SECRET, located at 308 N. Adams Street, in Jackson Ward. I’ve gotten to know Jason over the last year from his improv work at the Coalition Theater. Jason is helping to transform RVA’s creative culture with his unique approach to design, his desire (and willingness) to collaborate with other RVA businesses, and the unlimited potential of his laser. I sat down with Jason last week to talk about his laser-etching business, and the changing creative culture of RVA.
What’s the best thing about BIG SECRET?
I would say the best thing about BIG SECRET is how easy it is to get people excited about what we are doing. As soon as someone sees our work, it clicks that we are using a beam of light to disintegrate material – to etch it, or cut it, or mark it. They are instantly hooked. It makes it very easy to get people excited and I love sharing the excitement of what we are doing. Most people are not exposed to this type of work on a daily basis.
What’s the deal with you and lasers?
I fell in love with lasers about two and a half years ago when I took my own laptop to be lasered. I took it to someone who didn’t normally laser laptops, but had a laser, and I convinced them to let me put my laptop in their laser. And as soon as I saw it start to work, I realized that I had to research lasers. I had to find out how much they cost and what they are capable of doing. And something clicked, as far as being able to use this tool in a creative way. I thought this would be a cool tool to bring to people in the creative industry that might not have access to one or who have never heard of a laser before. After that, I did so research and saved (money) for about 6 months and bought a laser. It was really on a whim.
When you explain to people the capability of lasers, what is the most surprising response that you hear?
The most surprising, or random, response is the objects people ask me have I tried to put in my laser. For example, have you ever tried to put any of your body parts in the laser – have you tried to laser your own flesh? The answer is no, but I have seen youtube videos (don’t try it at home). And that is part of what excites me about lasers, the wide variety of material that you can experiment with. When you screen-print, you are putting ink on paper or ink on fabric. You can put ink on other things but when using a laser you can use such a wide variety of material: wood, paper, glass, metals, plastics, cardboard, and lots of non-traditional materials: leaves, food, grip tape , etc. And it’s in those experimental stages that I really love figuring out what’s next, what else is this machine capable of doing. There is a very short list of things that you cannot laser.
What’s the one thing that you haven’t lasered yet that you are dying to laser?
I’m really excited to laser a cake. I’m doing it this summer for a nearby gallery called Candela (Books and Gallery).
It’s an edible cake?
It’s an edible sheet cake. And lasering food is perfectly safe. People do it a lot: grill lines on a steak or their name in chocolate. I’m excited about it. I’ve never done it before. It’s for a fundraising event they are doing in August called, “Unbound!”
You moved to the Arts District (Jackson Ward) in October of 2012, what is it about being in Richmond, Jackson Ward, and the Arts District, that gets you excited?
Being here gets me excited because change seems to be happening virtually every week. Art 180 just moved in down the street. There is a new restaurant and bar coming directly across the street owned by the owner of Tarrant’s Cafe. The neighborhood has Gallery 5, 1708 Gallery, Quirk Gallery, Candella, ADA, all within walking distance. And we are right in the middle of First Fridays, which we want to be more involved with in the future. Everything is moving so fast and it feels great to be located right in the middle of it. The other major thing is the new Coalition Theater is opening later this month. That is such an awesome project to be a part of, both as someone who does improv and being involved in the new branding. The new Coalition Theater will be a half a block away.
The new Coalition Theater is schedule to open later this month, a block away from BIG SECRET
When you’re not putting things in your laser and running your own business, how do you like to spend your time in RVA?
I use improv as a big extracurricular activity to unwind from a business day. It’s a lot of fun. The Coalition Theater is where I started taking classes. They have taught me everything I know about improv and I love performing with them. Other than that, my wife Bird and I love to go to the movies, in particular the new Criterion Theater to see independent films. We eat out in town a lot. My wife just started a new food website: Block and Bar. It’s a fantastic site and it’s received a great response so far.
What’s the one Richmond restaurant you can’t live without?
If I could only go to one restaurant in Richmond for the rest of my life, I would be content with going to Edo’s Squid (411 N. Harrison Street, RVA). It’s an old standby for me. I love their Italian food, and I’ve been all over Italy. Edo’s Squid does it right.
What about music, what is the one CD you can’t live without?
You’d Prefer An Astronaut by HUM.
Words and Photos by Cheats
So far, Stone Soul 2013 has to be the best RVA music event of the year. It was a lights out show from top to bottom. A Radio One collaboration between iPower, Kiss FM and Praise, the show featured diversity across urban music like no other event this year. And not only diversity we are talking star power to the max. Heavy hitter in hip hop: B.o.B, French Montana, Yo Gotti, and Future.
B.o.B rocked the stage with crazy energy.
R&B took center stage with Raheem DeVaughn, SWV, BBD, and Fantasia. If you thought acts like SWV, BBD or even Fantasia would be rusty…you were mistaken. They brought their A-games from start to finish and showed why so many fans love their work.
Future was a crowd favorite at Stone Soul 2013.
There were so many highs and not many lows, I will mention only a few:
1. I was skeptical about the venue change from Brown’s Island to the RIR amphitheater bu let me just say this change was the single best change of the event. No need for lawn chairs – the food vendors are a much better walk, and the venue is covered. The stage, sound and security were amazing and it really made for a great day. Not to mention some of the best weather of the year.
2. The show was the smoothest that I have seen in a long time. There were very little delays between acts and when there were delays King Tutt jumped in a DJ’ed to keep the crowd moving. The varies radio host keep it fun and the show rolled on with major act after major act.
3. While the no curse word rule may have stiffed Webby and Yo Gotti, it made the show very family friendly. And I’m glad all of the acts did their best to respect the rule. Great work Webby (I know it was tough).
4. The award for most body guards goes to Yo Gotti. The best part of this is if you know anything about Yo Gotti – you would not mess with Yo Gotti. Yo Gotti is no joke. But nevertheless he had his crew with him.
There were a lot of brothers with CMG shirts…but no one would or should ever mess with Yo Gotti
5. Fantasia is the real deal. Say what you will about American Idol and reality shows, Fantasia is the modern day Patti LaBelle and is well worth the price of admission. She looked and sounded amazing. She was a worthy headliner.
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT PHOTOS FROM STONE SOUL 2013!
Thanks to Community Clovia for always show love to the Cheats Movement Blog and RVA. Follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook and Twitter. The most diverse blog in RVA – WE SEE IT.