My grandmother always says, “If they are talking about you – you must be doing something right.” Well grandma, in the new issue of Greater Richmond Grid, they’re not just talking about The Cheats Movement Blog - they are talking about the Family…deep. Before I go any further I need to fill you in a little bit about what’s been happening this year and how I’ve been processing everything. I hope you’ve been following on the blog and on Facebook but in case you haven’t, this year has been amazing so far: new job, bigger shows, new projects, and I’m getting married in October. It’s definitely been a new level of stress. All of this was happening before Greater Richmond GRID, TEDxRVA, and the Meaning of Community Project.
Then everything centering around RVA and Community just started taking off. Greater Richmond Grid and TEDxRVA played a major role in bringing this discussion to the forefront. Basically overnight everything went into overdrive regarding RVA’s community and I found myself and virtually the entire family right in the middle of it. There were weeks – after working full days - I would then attend a dinner, meeting, or gathering every night – go home, kiss the fiancee, and then sit at the computer for hours working on editing or posting. It is not an ideal plan for work, blogging, or life.
My saving grace has been my family – both my blood family & my Cheats Movement Family. The fact that I know I’m not riding alone gives me energy – too much energy and motivation to keep everything going. And then there are days like yesterday. While at TEDxRVA, a wonderful lady, that I met once while doing a community project with my boss at Trinity Baptist Church, walked up to me and gave me a Greater Richmond Grid and said, “I’m so proud of you.” I open the magazine and not only did I see The Cheats Movement, I saw Brother Manifest, Hamilton Glass, and Tony Harris. I feel like a brother to those dudes (a little brother – they’ve been putting in work for years)…we are always working together – bouncing ideas -and trying to move this city forward. The fact that Greater Richmond Grid put us in their issue about “Makers” motivates me to no end. S/O Paul Spicer for putting this level of detail about Community in your magazine – you didn’t have to.
I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that I’m still trying to process the growth of the blog. And I’m tying to “process” it while the blog is growing – and I’m encouraging it go grow. That sounds crazy right? I’m “processing” the blog’s current growth – while hoping that you will share it to everyone you know and it continues to grow bigger….I know right. Here is the thing - I know The Cheats Movement Family has what it takes to play a part in positive change in RVA. None of us are going to sit it out. None of us are gong to miss out on the energy that buzzing around the city right now. We are moving forward. Go get that Greater Richmond Grid and see what we see it! #WESEEIT
It has become very clear that the goal of The Cheats Movement Blog in 2013 is to do something bigger for the RVA community. What do I mean by, “bigger?” I mean the blog, myself, the entire Cheats Movement Family will deliberately take on the task of creating and presenting the type of Richmond community that we want see spread throughout this city. I think that has always been the underling goal of the blog, to present RVA as the positive, diverse, creative community that I see daily but is not reported in the RVA media. With the growth of the blog it has become clear, or should I say even more real, that this blog (with the help of a lot of amazing friends and supporters) can be a driving force to bring Richmond’s community together. If you were not there last month at Gallery 5 when Photosythesizers, JPS, and Glows in the Dark performed on the same stage, you missed the very best of what I’m talking about. The most diverse audenice in the city coming together to enjoy Cheats Movement Family, The Richmond Comedy Coalition and these bands, that may not have been billed together if it wasn’t for a platform like the one we created together.
It happened again last night at WRIR’s Party for the Rest of Us. Seeing such a diverse crowd, in a small room, grooving to the music of Ohbliv, and then turning it up with YFD and The New Juice Crew gives me a feeling that I can’t explain but I know I want to duplicate over and over again. Immediately following the showcase last night, as well as the Richmond Famous show at Gallery 5, and even follow the RVA HOT SAUCE show nearly 2 years ago, strangers come up to me wondering when are we going to do “that” again. How can we get that vibe again. I feel the same way.
HEAR IS THE POINT – I can’t do it – WE can’t do it without everyone playing their part. Step 1 – if you are not following the Cheats Movement Facebook Page – Click HERE and follow, share it with your friends. We need to spread what is happening in the city. Step 2 – If you see that The Cheats Movement Blog is hosting/supporting a event or cause – rest assured that it will be one that is worth attending or supporting. I am very clear that this blog is about positivity, creativity, diversity, and anything that lift up RVA. Feel comfortable knowing that while you may not feel every blog post, it all serves a goal. Step 3 – if you see something that this blog “should” be supporting, send me an email (CheatsMWC@gmail.com) and let me know. If it is positive and good for the RVA community, you have a friend in me.
I strongly believe that celebrating Richmond’s creative diversity will go a long way in healing some of the lasting bitterness of the past. It’s not the only answer but I can’t solve every problem with a blog post or event. I can take action to create a better city. We can together. I need you to be a part – will you help?
The results are already in….this is one of the best compilations of RVA area hip hop artist ever! Download the mixtape for free and see why. And make sure you support the most diverse blog in RVA – The Cheats Movement Blog. WE SEE IT!
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEATS OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT BLOG
Words by Roger Tyler (RT) and Marc Cheatham (CHEATS)
ALL PHOTOS BY CHEATS (WITH THAT CHEATS MOVEMENT LOGO)
2012 appeared to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Richmond area hip hop scene. While Street Art made unprecedented moves in our city’s mainstream with the G40 Street Art Festival and RVA Street Art Festival, RVA hip hop struggled to grab widespread public attention, while also dealing with the tragic loss of one of its own, super-producer Kleph Dollaz. “This year hasn’t had the media hype I expected following a groundbreaking 2011 but overall it has been a solid year for a lot of Richmond area hip hop artist,” said Marc Cheatham AKA Cheats of the ever-expanding Cheats Movement Blog. I sat down with Cheats in his living room, in a quiet neighborhood on the West End of Henrico, to discuss his new mixtape project with RVA Mag, the influence of his blog, and his views on the year that was in RVA hip hop.
Cheats just recently completed his first RVA focused hip hop mixtape titled, “RVA HOT SAUCE THE MIXTAPE, Vol. 1.” It features 11 songs from Richmond-area hip hop artists such as, Artik Phreeze, Noah-O, Michael Millions, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, Black Liquid and more, it also has Cheats’ own voice on the intro, interlude, and outro yelling, his blog’s catch phrase, “We See It.”
Black Liquid, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, and Artik Phreeze are all on the HOT SAUCE mixtape.
In just over a year of covering the Richmond’s hip hop scene, Cheats has become one of its most trusted writers, bloggers, and photographers. You know you’re in the right spot if you see the short guy with a backwards cap and camera strapped around his neck. Or just look at your Facebook newsfeed the day after he covers a live event – photos with the Cheats Movement Logo are everywhere. This year it even stretched to the mainstream – North Carolina rapper Phonte (who Cheats interviewed for RVA Mag) used a Cheats Movement concert photo for his twitter profile photo. And while his blog highlights RVA’s diversity – RVA hip hop has embraced his blog as one of its go to sites for reports on the best local shows in town.
Phonte (Little Brother & Foreign Exchange) used this photo as his twitter profile pic following the Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses Concert
Being a hip hop artist myself, attempting to interview Cheats is a challenge because before you know it – he’s asking the questions and I’m giving the answers but we had a fun and free-flowing discussion and below are some of the highlights:
ON THE RVA HOT SAUCE MIXTAPE (Cheats in his own words):
“This is just my opinion but the mixtape represents what I see as the best elements of RVA hip hop. I say that knowing full well that I don’t cover every live show or listen to every album or mixtape (though I promise to listen to every song or mixtape that is sent to me directly via email or Facebook). I don’t know it all and that’s why this is just Volume 1, there will be a Volume 2 and probably 3, until I feel like I’ve captured the culture.”
ON HOW THE IDEA FOR THE MIXTAPE STARTED (Cheats in his own words):
“RVA Magazine’s owner Tony Harris told me that he was doing a series of mixtapes with different bloggers and asked me about doing a mixtape collaboration between The Cheats Movement Blog and RVA Mag. I have a lot of respect for Tony and RVA Mag so working on a mixtape seemed natural. I never felt that I was in the position to do a Hip Hop 101 introduction article because I haven’t seen all the hip hop RVA has to offer but the way RVA Mag presented the opportunity – it gave me the opportunity to highlight what I have seen and highlight who I go out and cover regularly.”
ON HOW THE ARTIST AND TRACKS WERE SELECTED (Cheats in his own words):
“Most of the tracks on the mixtape are not new tracks but a compilation of songs that have been in my rotation throughout 2012. I picked 11 songs for volume 1 and reached out to everyone to see if it was cool that I use their work. Black Liquid, Sleaze, Michael Millions, Doe The Paperboy, Ms. Proper, Arktik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, Suburban District, Drano, Noah-O, are all on the tape. The late Kleph Dollaz has an influence on the tape through Noah-O and Chance Fischer. Though I didn’t know Kleph personally, you can’t cover RVA hip hop and not be aware of the difficulty the community is still going through with the losses of Kleph and another friend of mine Mr. Mason Jones.
The RVA community is still struggling with the loss of Kleph Dollaz and Mr. Mason Jones ( in color)
ON WHO MADE AN IMPACT ON THE RVA HIP HOP SCENE IN 2012 (Cheats in his own words):
“This is tricky because I’m going to leave people out but understanding that I can’t name everyone (I can’t name everyone) I will say, Suburban District as a group should be proud of the year they’ve had and individually, Octavion Xcellence. Tim Porter, and Fair, should be proud of what they did as solo artist as well. They headlined Epic Fest, released “Beer for Breakfast”, killed features and mixtapes, and performed at SXSW, it was a huge year for the Smooth Dirty Camp. Doe The Paperboy killed it this year and not just with his music, DoeNation 2 was released in 2012, he was everywhere, making an impact with his live performances, his videos are great (S/O Soul Live Media) and his merch game is crazy. My JPS brothers Sleaze and Drano should be really happy with the feedback on their albums – both, “Heavenly Devilish” by Sleaze and “City of God” by Drano are being slept on by RVA — come on now! WE SEE IT! They are both great albums. I think Big League and their crew should be real proud of what they did…I don’t know them well but T-Mac and Bravo, that whole crew, put in some major work. RT, I know you really like what Memph 10, So!lla, and Ms. Proper did this year, I agree. And Black Liquid’s album, “The Black Experience” was his best studio album to date, not to mention opening for a ton of big acts including DMX. I could go on and on but I won’t.
It’s hard to think of a camp that had a better year than Smooth Dirty…Suburban District (Octavion X, Tim Porter, and Fair) were everywhere…. Kleos and Phreeze – the entire camp did it big in 2012.
Doe The Paperboy had a huge year and not just in music, videos and merch game is crazy.
Just Plain Sounds and a great year but still underrated…Sleaze (pictured with James Dangle and Ohbliv) and Drano had great records this year.
Cheats and I sat down and talked the year in review – here is what we came up with – before the hate starts – this is just a list of what we came up with – we know we left some folks out….tell us who – make us notice.
Favorite shows of 2012:
- Epic Fest (2-Day Event) at The Kingdom presented by SlapDash
- Phonte (From Little Brother) Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses at The Canal Club
- The Klubhouse Krew Presents: The Kleph Dollaz! Music Charity Show at Canal Club
Epic Fest brought a great crowd to Kingdom for 2 night -despite the weather trouble – one of the best events of the year.
Must listen to Album(s) Of 2012:
- Sleaze- Heavenly Devilish
- Suburban District- Beer For Breakfast
- Black Liquid – The Black Experience
The Black Experience by Black Liquid is his best album to date.
Artist we are checking for in 2013:
- Chi Chi The Kidd
- Chance Fischer
- Bravo (The Big League)
- Dr. Millionaire
- Yung Yankee
Chance Fischer is one to watch in 2013
Must See Videos:
- -Bravo- “Harlot”
- -Doe The PaperBoy- “If I Had It”
- -Young Rell- “Letter to God”
Videographers on top of the RVA game:
- Aura HD and Imagery (Jay Aura)
- Soul Live Media (Robert Roby)
- No Name No Brain (Arya “Pat” Rossman)
Best RVA Blog covering local hip hop:
- Well….WE SEE IT – Cheats Movement Blog!
This article was written by Cheats and RT. If you disagree – don’t hate – email me and tell me why: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com
RT is a hip hop contributor to RVA MAG and a hip hop artist. Check his work and see him with The New Juice Crew and UCubed. Click here for RT’s DatPiff profile.
The cover art was done by Hamilton Glass. There will be a special article coming out by Roger Tyler and yours truly about the mixtape and the year that was in RVA hip hop.
Final artist list: Micheal Millions, Noah-O & Kleph Dollaz, Chance Fischer, Artik Phreeze, Ms. Proper, Doe The Paperboy, Black Liquid, The Honorable Sleaze, Drano, Nickelus F, & Suburban District. Intro by Cheats and outro by James Dangle.
The mixtape is unique opportunity to get a sample of some of the best local hip hop artist, done let this tape pass you by. WE SEE IT!
RVA HOT SAUCE MIXTAPE INTRO by Cheats [Produced by The Honorable Sleaze]
My brother Ohbliv is putting in work! He blessed me a few weeks back with his HW&W debut “Up.” I held on to it for a few weeks because I wanted the RVA Mag article that we linked up on to drop in stores (click here to read). Also, I didn’t want him to get into any issues with his label for hitting me with up. Now that everything is clear, I just have to say that Brad O outdid himself. 16 tracks of soul, groove, everything that makes Ohbliv great. Go get the album! Check out the RVA Mag article and see below for some unreleased photos of Ohbliv from the RVA Mag photo shoot. The photos were done at The Shop by yours truly. WE SEE IT !
Last week, I was able to interview the Grammy nominated rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer Phonte of Foreign Exchange and formally of Little Brother. We chopped it up for RVA Mag in support of Phonte’s show this Saturday [August 25] at the 10th Annual Happily Natural Day. The show is at the Canal Club! I hope everyone comes out to support real hip hop. S/O to Brother Manifest, Aimee Flint and RVA Mag for their parts in hooking this up. CLICK HERE to visit RVAMag.com for the full interview. Similar to my interview with Ice-T, I was able to get some cool audio from Phonte – check out part 1 of my interview. WE SEE IT – For real – click HERE and LIKE The Cheats Movement on Facebook It’s the only way we can keep this blog going!
Thanks to the good folks at RVA Mag, I was able to spend time with a true art legend last night. Futura 2000 was in RVA on his limited edition Hennessy bottle tour. He did a few events during the day and last night RVA Mag put on a dope party for the artist. I was briefly introduced by my dude Reinhold (good lookin out) and Futura could not have been nicer. He took a look at all the tags in my book and went in for about 5 minutes on his tag. I was pretty much in shock the whole time. At the end, he took out his lighter and burned off three corners of my book. Afterwards, he gave the book back to me and say, “Hey, you have some great artist in this book. I wasn’t trying to burn them but looking at your book, I had to put my stamp on it.” It was really cool. Check out Futura’s tag.
I told you a while back when I covered my dudes Skywalker and Eli Cash from Electronica Weekly that I know nothing about EDM but I’m always willing to learn. Those cats told me that Gents & Jawns are pretty much a good place to start in the RVA scene. I ran across this video on RVAMag.com and saw some of my friends in it (particularly Cash, Skywalker, and Bree El) and gave it a look. It’s a really cool video. Check it out.
Some very cool news coming from the street art world. I was able to spend a good amount of time with Gaia during his time in RVA. If you remember, Gaia was the very first artist to put work for RVA’s G40 Art Summit. He was great and produced an amazing wall on West Grace. A few weeks ago Complex Mag named Gaia the greatest street artist out right now. Check out the entire list of 50 which includes a ton of artist that were in RVA during the G40 Art Summit and RVA Street Art Fest (Aryz, Roa, Pixel, Mark Jenkins Jaz and more). Congrats Gaia!
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.
TO KEEP THIS BLOG GOING, CLICK HERE TO LIKE THE CHEATS MOVEMENT ON FACEBOOK
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.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of Whino Mag…make sure that you do it soon! It was truly an honor to be a part of this project. Issue 1 is a part of history. And to top it all off, my story on ROA not only made the cover but the photos were taken by the one and only Martha Cooper! Sick!!! Issues 1 is on sale at West Coast Kix! Make sure you swing by and get one. The Cheats Movement is FOCUSED…click here to follow on Facebook!
Photos by the legendary Martha Cooper!
It is only May 3rd and 2012 has already been one of the best years ever for music, art, and culture in RVA. In my opinion, the main reason has been the: G40 Art Summit and the RVA Street Art Festival. Though both events were organized independently – combined they have already transformed Richmond into a major destination for street art in 2012.
I covered both events intensively on The Cheats Movement Blog and was granted amazing access by the organizers of the festivals: Tony Harris and Shane Pomajambo (G40) and Ed Trask and Jon Baliles (RVA Street Art Festival). I am so proud of these men for what they have done for this city. EVERYONE WINS because of these two great events.
With that said, I believe I’m in a unique position to write some of my thoughts about both festivals. I would love to hear your opinions as well. The first two areas that I will write about in these review post are: Star Power and Location. I plan to write more on different categories as well – in due time.
STAR POWER: No doubt, G40 brought the international star power. ROA is basically the Lil Wayne of Street Art. He is at the top of the game and considered one of the best street artist in the world. You can’t talk murals right now without talking ROA. Aryz is also right there as well – he is a international power house. Both ROA and Aryz completed two walls for G40 before heading out of the country. In addition, the legendary photographer Martha Cooper was in town to check out the G40 murals. Cooper is a legend and gave G40 event more credibility. Angry Woebots, Jaz, Lelo, 2501, Pixel Pancho…and more were all in RVA for G40. There is no way around it, Art Whino and RVA Mag brought major international star power to RVA – it was a great look for the city!
The RVA Street Art Festival brought some MAJOR – MAJOR players as well: POSE is the man – and has earned an amazing reputation in the art world. HENSE, VIZIE, Mark Jenkins and of course, Ed Trask himself are stars in the art community as well. I was very excited to meet Dalek - he was mad cool – but I was slightly disappointed that he wasn’t in town long enough to really get down on the festival wall. The absolute best part of the RVA Street Art Festival was seeing the merging of RVA artist with the national group: Art 180, Hamilton Glass, Chris Milk Hulburt, El Kamino, Mike Broth, Heide Trepanier, and all of the local volunteers gave the Fest a real community feel.
Amazing group photo from the last day of the RVA Street Art Festival. Ed’s arms up in victory – like Ali, he shook up the world!
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
Here is the thing – it all depends on what you prefer. G40 is throughout the entire city…let’s be real – Pixel’s amazing mural on 12th and Hull is not close to his first mural on 1 Grace BUT with G40 you can plan 2 or 3 hours, get a map, grab a camera, grab some friends, and have a great time visiting all the murals in the city. Trust me – I’ve done it and it’s a rad day. Being spread out doesn’t really solidify an “Art District” but traveling to visit the murals is a fun experience. G40 will take you from the Fan, to VCU, to Shockoe Bottom…etc.
On the other hand, the RVA Street Art Festival is pretty much all in one spot: The Power Plant – Flood Wall (right by BlackFinn). The visual is stunning, VIZIE’s piece right beside POSE – Jeff Soto’s piece is right beside HAM? – it’s awesome. You can walk the area in about 5 minutes if you want. It’s a fairly small piece of real estate all things considered. What made it work so well is that it allowed for spectators (like me) to post up and watch all of the work being done in one place. I’ve never seen anything like it before in RVA. Along with the food, beer, and music, it was a real festival vibe.
Having the Festival close together allowed for huge crowds and a real festival feel. (photo courtesy of Jeff Soto’s Blog)
Honestly, I really don’t have preference – location is key but there are positives in both festivals. What do you think?
I am very interested to learn how we can keep great events like G40 and the Street Arts Festival in RVA. Are there suggestion that would make these events even better? You tell me.
This concludes part 1 of Everyone Wins.
True hip hop was on deck Saturday night at the Art Whino Gallery (115 West Broad Street). Everyone that knows hip hop knows that the rap battle is a core element of being an emcee. Man v. Man – my skills are better than your skills – off the top – no written rhymes - THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES THE REAL. The G40 rap battle was a fun time had by all – Flex Matthews (D.C.) did his thing as the host. DJ MadOne held down the beats. And a combination of emcees (mostly from D.C. and RVA) represented well. Eito, the traveling man (based in NOVA), edged out RVA’s own James Dangle in the finals to claim the battle crown. Just Plain Sounds represented well with Dangle making it to the finals and Damaged Andy battling hard against the eventual champ Eito. Others emcees representing: Chungo Rock, Profit, Tesla, and Spike Mouth aka Ray aka he saved the battle. The photos really show the love in the room. The event was small but well done – all love for G40 and the emcees on this one. S/O Mr. Harden — I see you homie on the coin flip.
Not even going to front – I basically lost my S*$T on this one. Oh those shy global art legends. In this toast: Cheats, Shane (Art Whino), Tony (RVA Mag), and of course covered ROA, Pixel Pancho, Jaz, Lelo, and Aryz. All here for the amazing G40! (Photo by my dude BCMusic1st on the quick help out). #WESEEIT
I’m all over RVA covering the G40 Art Summit. The city of Richmond is turning into a major art gallery. We are so proud of our friends at RVA Mag for bringing this event to RVA. Pixel Pancho, Aryz, Jaz, Lelo and ROA are world known global muralist and they are here in RVA – check out the latest updates.
Check out the final photos of Pixel Pancho’s first mural titled, “Kiss From The Space,” as a part of the G40 Art Summit. This mural is on 7th W. Grace Street. I’ve heard that Pixel is doing at least 1 maybe 2 more murals.
If the arrival of Gaia to kick things off didn’t get you interested in the G40 Art Summit, I’m not sure what will. But here is another attempt. The amazing Pixel Pancho is killing his robots on Grace Street this weekend as a part of G40. The Italian artist does all types of work but told me yesterday that murals are where his heart is…check it out. Again, S/O to RVAMag and Art Whino for bringing this project to RVA.
It’s still a bit unreal to me but I did my first print article for RVA Mag and it is on the streets of RVA RIGHT NOW! I sat down with my man Black Liquid and we went it on The State of the [Richmond Hip-Hop] Union. When Black and I first got together with this opportunity I told him that I wanted to do something different – something that people would want to read from start to finish — and as always Black Liq said, “Bet! Let’s go in.” And go in we did — I hope you pick up the article around RVA and let me know what you think. Side Note: I’m also really proud of the photos Black and I shot for this article — more photos from the session coming this week.
Check this out – I caught up with the man behind RVA Mag and RVA Music Fest Tony Harris at the end of night 1. It was about 2:00 AM and he was wrapping up a great night and moving into day 2. Check out his perspective on RVA Hip-Hop and why RVA Music Fest is important. Cheats Movement X RVA Mag at it finest. S/O to everyone standing up for the River City. WE R-VA.