Our love of DC’s unique blend of EDM and Hip-Hop at the annual Trillectro festival is well documented. In years past, the hip-hop side of the event’s lineup has included a mix of big names (Wale, A$AP Ferg), acts on the verge that went on to become big names (ScHoolboy Q,Travis Scott), artists still bubbling on the underground but primed to leap into the next level of stardom (Shy Glizzy), and regional acts still in the process of turning their respective cult followings into real fan bases.
This year’s edition is bigger than ever with Big Sean, Migos, Fat Trel, and newbie hitmakers Rae Sremmurd all taking the stage, but there are some lesser known acts who may use this opportunity to propel themselves into the rarefied air currently occupied by the headliners. Here’s a brief primer on some of the lesser known hip-hop artists who will perform at Trillectro 2014.
1. Ras Nebyu
The self-proclaimed “point guard of the Washington Slizzards” is one of the most unique emcees on the bill this year. Blending Ab-Soul’s shamanistic approach, influences from his African-American and Ethiopian heritage, and a sensibility rooted in the streets of Northwest D.C., this 22-year-old will stand out even among his more famous peers.
Listen — Ras Nebyu – Ras Griffin III
On the other end of the spectrum in terms of content and physical location is Lightshow. The Southeast DC native caught some shine on “Georgetown Press” from Wale’s Folarin mixtape, and has continued grinding on DC’s underground scene. His energetic delivery and nimble lyricism along with his unique voice make him worth a listen, and a potential scene stealer on the Trillectro stage.
Forte has been on his grind diligently for a while now, but he’s worth highlighting for those who are still in need of late passes. The Atlanta-based singer, emcee, and producer first began to make waves in 2011 with his first project, UberEargasms: The Life & Times Of David Ruffin Jr. and the under appreciated Something About #Bowie. Since then, his thoughtful lyricism, etheral production, and heartfelt vocals have been providing inspiration for the ride to the club and the ride home in a lane all to himself.
Listen — ForteBowie – Vice Haus (Deluxe)
4. Rome Fortune
Early collaborations with big name producers Childish Major and Dun Deal on his first project Beautiful Pimp show Rome Fortune’s always ahead of the curve. Beautiful Pimp II solidified him as one of the most talented and unique voices coming out of an underground Atlanta scene that seems to churn out stars like Gucci Mane churns out mixtapes. With features from Young Thug and Peewee Longway, his latest six track EP, Drive, Thighs, & Lies, introduces the mainstream to the future
First: Maybe you shouldn’t play that video if your boss is nearby. Everyone talked about Nicki’s snake-charming clip, but Goldlink’s “Ay Ay” is rawer–and a much better song. That seems to be the DC-area rapper’s modus operandi: a rawer, more stripped down approach than everybody else. His production is sparse. His songs are brief and intense. His 26 minute “future bounce” through the cosmos is the most interesting release coming out of the DMV (a term I loathe, but accurate as he’s spent significant time in DC, Maryland, and Virginia) in years, and he may well be the next star to emerge from the earlier time slots on the Trillectro stage.
Listen — Goldlink – The God Complex
Visit Trillectro’s official site for any and all info including tickets, lineups, directions and more.