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Editorial: The Undeniable Rap Renaissance In Virginia

Virginia has always been a hip-hop and R&B music hub. Whether people know about the commonwealth state through Something In The Water via Pharrell, the soulful tunes of D’Angelo, or the upbeat melodies of Kali Uchis who is from Alexandria, Virginia, the state always played a varied role in hip-hop. Even on the producing end with Nottz, Timbaland, and Binks.

To paraphrase one of Pharrell's lines from T.I.'s Here Ye, Here Ye, [we're] from the commonwealth where wealth ain't common. Virginia was always given this stereotype of where artists do not support each other and everyone thinks in the crab in a bucket mentality. In a state that has the slogan "Virginia Is For Lovers", it definitely has a dark history of hate and claims of being very overlooked. You know the phrase made famous by Frank Sinatra "If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere; it’s up to you, New York, New York"? I think that statement is more applicable to Virginia and its music scene because there is less mainstream notoriety compared to one of the top media markets in the United States outside of Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Virginia is in prime condition to be the next state to manufacture the new face of Hip Hop. From Fake Uzumi going gold from production with Mac Miller or Kino Beats and Curren$y dropping their collab project Matching Rolexes. Andrew Hypes produced the entire Spittin Image project for Jay Pharoah. Producers have been known to dominate on Virginia Scene.

Lately, we've seen artists like Al-Doms appear on Fox TV shows, Fresh Porter with features from the likes of Trey Songz. Traptize Ky, Rio, and G Sambo. Young Crazy who we've covered numerous times because he continues to outdo himself. We watch young artists like Smyth, Sneeze, and Jayduhhh continue to build steam in Richmond. Then we witness Shaolin, Blake G, and more takeover different regions of Virginia. Even artists like Chi Chi The Eternal who has joined the likes Lil Nas X camp "The House Of Montero". It's become our passion to document indie hip hop and continue to invest in raising the value of the indie artist. We here at TheMSQShop have interviewed Black Liq on our podcast, had Peter $un and TrapHouse Koda perform in our office space (those three guys I mentioned you'll read more about in this article), and utilized our platform to promote indie tours and projects.

These indie artists are from Virginia, where ain't shit to do but cook... up records and secure bags in fifty-two hundred different ways and went from being indie to signing major deals in 2021.

FNF Chop

Follow FNF Chop on Instagram @fnf.chop

Talk about a come-up! FNF Chop was in jail when he caught his major buzz. After his song "Walk Down" went viral multiples on Tik Tok and Instagram it wasn't long before he landed himself a record deal. After the first music video hit one million views, FNF Chop's camp shot him another video where the city showed out.

Oh, what is he doing now? Since his house arrest, FNF Chop has taken his career more seriously than ever. Shooting music videos right in his front yard and still bringing the city out! He has received some major co-signs from Pharrell and features from DaBaby, Stunna 4 Vegas, and Yung Nudy.

Fly Anakin

Photo credits: @timsaccenti

Fly Anakin scraped his way through Southside Richmond to be the newest member of LexRecords. This London-based record label is known to have the likes of Pink Siifu which Anakin has worked with, the late great MF DOOM, and Kaleida. Ever since 2017, Fly Anakin has worked with the likes of Freddie Gibbs on the Promise remix, performed on HOT 97 with fellow Mutant Academy members Henny L.O. and Big Kahuna OG, along with gracing the Top Shelf Premium cypher platform which has alum like Dave East and Benny the Butcher. Fly Anakin even rapped on Madlib and Statik Selektah beats. Fly recently dropped a visual for his song Sean Price paying tribute to the late rapper. The song was produced by evidence and the visual was shot and directed by DuctTapeJesus. You can find Fly everywhere on social media @flyanakin and get more info about his European tour!

TrapHouse Koda

Follow Traphouse on Instagram @Traphousekoda

We didn't know Virginia Beach had these roots. Traphouse Koda has shown a whole new level of artistry from the 757 region. His ability to blend country melodies and rap beats with the catchiness of a pop record is the direct result of pioneers like Post Malone or Lil Nas X with even more authenticity. Old Silverado has hit well over one million views and has taken off with no PR or true publicity. Sometimes, a good song does it thing.

And his ability to follow up with his latest single Dirt Road Lullaby which is a unique flip on The Rascal Flatts song Life Is A Highway. This year has been full of wins with co-signs from Pusha T, FNF Chop, and even headlining TheMSQShop's Kanye's Monster Ball. Recently, Koda landed himself a deal with Mako Music Group and we plan to see even more from him this year.