On the highway returning from Atlanta, I was able to interview rap artist DMVP. We both had traveled with DMV’s regional chapter of the World Famous Coalition DJs. The trip was made to both honor the born day of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrate Coalition’s own 13th Anniversary. Artists, celebrities, executives, and DJs came from all over the country to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the festivities of the music industry’s Black-owned best-kept secret. It turns out that DMVP was attending the event as an honorary guest of the Coalitions DJs DMV Chapter, and was able to relax and enjoy the show from the VIP area with the rest of the DJ crew. Where he enjoyed performances by Rick Ross, Erica Banks, WakaFlocka, and many more.
DMVP is not at all what the average music listener thinks of when they think “Rapper”. In many ways, he is a bit of a walking paradox. His demeanor is reserved, and almost deliberately subdued. However, in conversation, he is intensely sincere and passionate about his stances. Turns out he is a multi-lingual educator with a psychology degree and a deep theological understanding of religious scriptures. This can be heard in the depth of his music, and his dialogue. Pierre AKA “P”, possesses the uncanny ability to autonomously code-switch. Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland boast a dense population of richly diverse cultures and sub-cultures, code-switching is a hallmark of DMV natives. His talents and gift make P Uniquely qualified for the mantle of “MVP”.
DMVP has definitely solidified his position as worthy of unifying the DMV as both the avatar and spokesperson for our region. This is why he is the first rap artist ever to grace the pages of DC Life Magazine and the Life Diverse Network. He is the creator of a genre he has dubbed “Conscious Trap”. This genre is another paradoxical extraction from the essence of his upbringing. He shared enough of his past with me to see the invisible lines that exist all around us, even in the DMV. I hope you enjoy this brief Q&A, and I hope you add more artists like DMVP to your playlist to add some balance to your algorithm and support your local urban intellectuals.
DC Life Magazine Interview With Artist DMVP
DC Life: Tell us about your love of hip-hop, and the bloodline….pedigree.
DMV P: “I am 2nd generation hip hop. My mother was a rapper. My uncles, and cousins were b-boys and writers. My mother was the freestyle Queen. She never messed up, so growing up I used to try to keep up with her. I grew up tagging, dancing, rapping at school talent shows, even once or twice in church environments. I’ve also bombed in almost all of the worst situations, I’ve lost battles, I’ve forgot my words in live shows, I’ve literally lived my worst fear time and time again back when I was a minor. We used to drive to New York on the weekends to perform at the open mics up there because we thought the talent level was higher. I was rapping in the DMV when no one was even concerned with rap; everybody was listening to Gogo. Now that the DMV’s burgeoning rap scene is becoming more integrated into the mainstream DMV outsiders will see that I hold myself to a totally different standard. I’m like a hip hop mad scientist, no bullshit.”
DC Life: Your album was scheduled to be released on February 22nd, 2020. It was postponed until February 22nd, 2021; why is that?
DMV P: Yes, that’s correct. 222 was supposed to be released on 02-22-2020, however, due to her battle with cancer, I lost my mother 8 days before releasing the project. Between bereavement and grief, there were a series of newfound complications that we needed to address; not to mention the months leading up to that point, it was just a struggle. It wasn’t just hard on me, but OG Cannoe too. I didn’t just lose my Mom, but OG lost his sister as well. We needed time to get back in the right space.
DC Life: Talk about the state of “Black music” in 2021, and the challenges that it poses to artists like you serving US fans.
DMV P: “It’s hard for me to identify “Black Music,” it’s such a broad query. It’s like, Blacks invented Jazz, Gospel, R&B, and rhythm and poetry but I’m not sure the world acknowledges any American genre as Black music. It would have to be from the heart of the Blackest West African village with dark-skinned scantily clad people beating on drums for the West to define it as African. All music genres in the U.S. assimilate to the American culture thus they’re considered by the majority, American.
If you’re asking me about the current state of music I consider Black music, I would say between all of the music of the culture has seemingly crossed over to the mainstream. We all know Big Business kills culture, so with Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, and Gospel being major genres, they also have lost cultural relevance due to commercial appeal. Gogo, our local music, with the exception of Chuck Brown, SugarBear/EU, Rare Essence, DJ Kool, etc., Gogo as a collective has, for the most part, avoided the mainstream therefore it still possesses cultural relevance, it still channels the pure unscathed energy of the DMV community.
In conclusion, I don’t think Black music presents many challenges for me, but it serves as an eclectic aid to my creativity and a constant motivation. Although some acts may need a little guidance or counsel (monetarily, mentally, creatively) I support all acts that contribute for the inspiration, motivation, and upbuilding of the hip hop community.”
DC Life: Give us your 5 favorite rappers, and the top 5 albums of all time?
DMV P- “Jay Z- Reasonable Doubt
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid Maad City
50 Cent- Get Rich or Die Trying
2pac- All Eyes on me
Kanye West – Every Album
NAS – Illmatic
Jeezy – TM 101
Lil Wayne- Carter 1,2,3
Ab Soul- Control System
DC Life: How did you become the face of the genre “Conscious Trap”, and what does it mean?
DMV P: “I don’t know I think it’s just because I was first to use it and wear it on my sleeve. Every hood I ever lived in people always gravitated towards me likes I was “Furious styles” or something, as early as 9-10 years old. I was a kid mentoring kids, it Forreal-Forreal’ just came natural. I always represented the conscious and positive charge in the hood, like Trey (Boyz N Da Hood), or Caine (Menace to society), or Q (from Juice), or even Craig from Friday, a protagonist except in real life though.”
DC Life: Is today’s music consumer affected by the industry’s reliance on singles as opposed to albums? Also, how has it affected your artistry?
DMV P: “Well people are complex, albums give an artist the broad platform they need to articulate a relatable message to the audience. This has had various positive effects on the community. However, a single-focused market narrows the trajectory of the artist’s message making it easier for artists to make music driven by sales and the economy, Therefore, less driven by content integrity and making a more meaningful and fruitful product for the consuming communities and populations. Long story short, to paraphrase Prodigy (Mobb Deep), the singles is fast food (microwave songs), but the people need something more nurturing and prepared with love. It don’t matter where you’re from, if you prepare it with love it’ll be received the same way.”
What's Your Reaction?
Author Eugene Smith is the creative director of several online publications and a cultural-diversity author. He designs media and branding strategies to make an impact on the global community. Eugene uses his diverse background and upbringing to showcase cultural diversity through art, cuisine, music, and fashion with a passion for people and life.