Rich Swann’s journey from Rosedale to the WWE

“Rich Swann’s first memory of pro wrestling is a vivid one: he was 5 years old and watching “Power Rangers” when his older brother came home from basketball and turned the TV to “Monday Night Raw,” the flagship program of the WWE—then WWF. “There’s Bret Hart with the jacket, the awesome pink lights, the epic music, he gives his sunglasses to the kid,” Swann, who grew up in Rosedale’s Park East Apartments, recalls wistfully. “I was mesmerized.”

Read more in the Baltimore City Paper.

The latest, and strongest, and most soulful JMSN sways into 9:30 Club

“Just because you got a preconceived notion of what I should do,” JMSN sings on his new album “Whatever Makes U Happy,” “don’t mean it’s the truth.” The lyric is a bit of wisdom that JMSN, the Los Angeles-via-Detroit singer-songwriter born Christian Berishaj, has gleaned after more than a decade in the music industry.

Read more in the Washington Post.

The Artful Dissonance of Chino Amobi

“Chino Amobi used to “mess around with music.” When he was in elementary school, the Richmond-based producer and his brother would record songs off the radio, creating “radio shows” with a mix of their own DJ patter and tracks that Amobi wrote on a Casio keyboard. Then, when Amobi was in high school, the brothers started making their own hip-hop: his brother would rap and Chino would make beats on early DAW software. Soon, he figured out how to supplement factory-provided sounds and samples with WAV files from other outlets, like tactical shooter video game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.”

Read more at Bandcamp.

Listen to the Dark Doo-Wop of Cinema Hearts’ Burned and Burnished

“Cinema Hearts frontwoman Caroline Weinroth was a theater major in college, and when it came time to name her band’s second album, she looked to the world of musical theater for inspiration. Burned and Burnished is a riff on a line from The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical. In that show, two fathers fake a feud so that their children will fall in love. They plot a mock abduction, hoping that the boy will save the girl and end up together, which they do, by the end of Act I. But in between acts, as the fathers and their children are frozen in a happy tableau, the narrator explains, “For the story is not ended/ and the play is never done/ Until we’ve all of us been burned a bit/ And burnished by—the sun!” Their happiness doesn’t last, of course: when the ruse is revealed, the couple breaks up and spends the second act learning about heartache and the harsh realities of the real world.”

Read more in the Washington City Paper.

Is Mick Jenkins the next Chance the Rapper?

“For most rappers, “THC” stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. For Mick Jenkins, it also stands for “The Healing Component,” which, as he explains on the album of the same name, is God’s love. That type of wordplay — flipping a rap trope into a lofty idea — is a key part of Jenkins’s verbal alchemy, with lyrics that favor the Christian gospels and reject the gospel of contemporary rap.”

Read more in the Washington Post.

Origin story: D.C. DJ-producer Will Eastman and the creative force that fueled ‘Hilo’

“Editing is the craft of mourning what you need to kill,” says Will Eastman, recalling a lesson he learned when he worked at the Smithsonian. “The more brutal and ruthless you are, the better it will be.” As he was crafting what would become his debut album, the DJ-producer (and owner of U Street Music Hall) recorded 24 songs over a two-year period, rearranging and reconfiguring them as 68 different playlists on his iPhone.

Read more in the Washington Post.

What does rap sound like in 2017? A variety of answers from Boogie, Kemba and Kaiydo

What does rap sound like in 2017? Is it Kendrick Lamar’s visceral, big-picture poetry? Is it the machine-gunned triplet attack of Migos? Is it the synesthetic sound-play of Future and Young Thug? Is it the goody-two-shoes gospel of Chance the Rapper? While hip-hop heads continue this eternal debate, the next generation of rappers is figuring it out for itself. On Tuesday night, a handful of these new voices performed at the Rock & Roll Hotel, following in the wake of Kendrick and Chance with lyric-loaded jams perfect for both the poetry slam and the house party.

Read more in the Washington Post.