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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.

Peter $un

Via @redbullrecords on Instagram

Another one of Richmond's Own, Peter $un, is known for his storytelling music sharing his journey of happiness while facing some of life's perils. In the past, Peter has gotten recognition from the likes of Zane Lowe, Ebro, and DJ Mike Street from 106.5 The Beat. Peter is now the newest member of Red Bull Records. Ever since 2017, Peter has had a deep catalog where he worked with the likes of Blue Rondo (producing credits: IDK and Sabrina Claudio) on a collaborative EP Don't Forget To Smile, an array of singles, and the album Scumbaby along with the deluxe edition of that dropped on October 29th, the same day the official announcement was made from Red Bull Records.

Peter just finished a tour with Al-Doms and Smyth Knight and one of the tour stops was at our office space in Richmond, Virginia as it was a sold-out show. The other stops were in Brooklyn and in Norfolk. You can check out the deluxe edition of Scumbaby on Spotify and all platforms and follow Peter on all social media @scummysunny . Check out the creative video for Work which was the leading single from the album.

Black Liq

Via @blackliq on Instagram

Black Liq is a Richmond staple. He is a man of many different professions. Rapper. Teacher. Ted Talk Presenter. Radio host for two radio stations in Richmond 97.3 WRIR and 90.1 WDCE radio. Former event host for Facemelt Fridays that lasted almost a decade in Richmond. His music can be described in the way that it's a blend of brutal honesty meets an unapologetic delivery over gritty hip-hop beats. With all that Black Liq has accomplished in his life, he finally got signed to Strange Famous Records which is a label that caters strictly to indie artists. Some of the artists on the label include the Epic Beard Men and Prolyphic. Liq officially released an LP with Mopes Time Is The Price which makes it his first project with the label. You can watch the video to one of the songs from that project, Endtro, below and find Black Liq on all social media @BlackLiq


Follow WhynotDuce on Instagram @whynotduce

This kid is interesting. He was signed to Pusha T's Heir Wave label and we haven't heard too much of him but his name is constantly generating buzz. For us, we are blessed to work with these artists directly and we've seen WhynotDuce in person. These kids have the talent. He has the ear. He has the look and most importantly he has the ATTITUDE. Just last week he dropped his latest visual Lord Save Me and you can really he's not your average artist. His vision is crystal clear even if you cant see it.

Written by Jay Guevara (@justinhisprime) + OG ILLA (@hlgnlife)


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