Today, really the only major successful artist from D.C. isn't a rock band, but a rapper: Wale. As far as mainstream rap/hip-hop goes, he's a breath of fresh air, drawing on his D.C. go-go influences for the backbeat of some excellent lyricism. I'm not into a ton of rap music, but Wale is effectively the flagbearer for our city's music today, so I had to take a listen. His full-length album Attention Deficit is a great mix of creative beats and hooks that make Wale appeal to a wider audience while still retaining his artistic integrity. His most famous song is undoubtedly "Chillin," his collaboration with Lady Gaga (huh?) which is basically a District of Columbia anthem.
Oh, and Wale played the tailgate party before D.C. United's home opener this season. That always makes me like someone more. Did I mention he's rapped about Ovechkin, Eric Lindros, and the throat-slashing of Richard Zednick? And that he released two Seinfeld-themed concept mix tapes?
Hopefully the success of Wale will lead to a re-energized District music scene. He's no Ian MacKaye, but Wale shows the rest of the country that "Hey, there's something here besides a bunch of government buildings."