Artists often take us on trips with each full length release. We download their latest body of work from our prefer streaming service and are subsequently enthralled in whatever soundscape they choose to present. A certain tier of artists with the likes of Dave East, Meek Mill, and G Herbo serve as benchmarks for Hip-Hop aficionados who have taken their “street” perspective to the highest level.
Translating their pain, lessons, and lifestyle across booming 808’s in a way that continues to appeal and spread to the masses while subsequently transporting listeners into their mind and hometown.
From this we gain insight and first hand experiences that shaped our favorite artists into who they are, making each listen more personable and enjoyable than the last. We can see the stark contrast of those hailing from the same area and blending lines of those with similar stories yet stand worlds apart.
July 20th served as a prime example of this phenomenon as Norfolk frontrunner Young Crazy and Alexandria veteran Young Moe each deliver standout EP’s that provide not only a view into their hustle to rise out the gutter, but an intriguing look at the cultural shift and similarities between two of Virginia’s premiere areas.
Young Crazy has been known for years around the 757 for his standout cadence and unabashedly blunt lines in the booth. Delivering resounding hooks and holding no punches, his witty quips and often hilariously honest bars make him an artist who commands your attention as well as respect.
With the help of producer/rapper Era Hardaway, from his viewpoint Young Crazy gives real criticisms on societal flaws and street taboos that make for an unequivocally standout project, “This Is A Crazy Era“.
Crazy and Era’s release was highly anticipated, with a short announcement for the release date that had much of VA’s creative circles buzzing. Though when it comes to unpredictability, they were contested by Alexandria’s Young Moe and his unceremonious drop of “LIFE TWO“.
Moe set the table again as he returned to feed the streets with a follow up to his recent projects: Street Scars 3 & preceding LIFE.
Taking a step back and look at Moe’s extensive discography, you can see “LIFE” stands as his most heartfelt, pain-induced, and complete body of work. It left Alexandria and much of the 703 hungry for more and excited to see an artist who’s faced public setbacks, comfortable and really producing some of his best work to date.
“…feel like I’m finding peace. Feel like I’m finding ME!”
With the follow up, LIFE TWO Moe gets straight to the point, delivering 8 tracks that speak to his unashamed relay of life events, good and bad that stand as benchmarks in his life as well as lessons he’s learned on the road.
Moe’s arsenal is deep, as his unique voice, melodic choruses,and prowess he holds in the booth and in the street’s of Alexandria make for a unique dynamic that’s enveloped and propelled him to a status which garners respect across the DMV area.
The similarities are apparent between these two, local legends who continue to strive and inspire many around them. Proving to those young and old that one can manifest a future for themselves with grind and resilience through life’s pitfalls. Yet let us take a harder look, and contrast of these two artists. Not only in the projects alone, nor them as individuals, but more so a look at the areas from which they reside and the impact that had on their development.
The 703 (nova) and the 757 ( the 75) many postulate are polar opposites. Different sides of the commonwealth separated by a 3 hour drive and exuding auras of entirely different states. The wealthier, more diverse 703 area code lacks the strength of solidarity in culture that the 757 holds and takes much of it’s influence from the cultural hubs that are DC and Maryland.
Somehow through it all, areas like Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Richmond Highway hold an undeniable flavor about them. We continue to see artists and creatives alike rise from these breeding points of creativity, sprouting their wings and shaking off the shackles that continue to limit those in their hometowns.
In the case of the 75, the area stands so rich in creatives that one can seemingly find a new artist every day of the year. But many scream of the lack of support, failure of OG’s, and “crab in a bucket mentality” that holds back the region from reaching a potential deserving of a place where creativity literally rains from one side of the water to the other.
Despite it all we’ve just seen events such as EDL Fest, hosted by Niyah Nel and accompanying family over at Everyday Dope Life, put together a literal creative festival with just about every major name intermingling in one space. 2 years in a row!
We look at Young Moe and see his undeniable originality, standing solid despite what any may say about the “easy street/soft” area that is Northern Virginia.
We marvel at Young Crazy and his rise over the past year, doing feature after feature, on tour, and proudly proclaiming Virginia everywhere he goes.
Perhaps areas of Virginia aren’t so different after all.
Perhaps things are changing, for the better.
It’s time for the culture shift.
LIFE TWO – Young Moe
This Is A Crazy Era – Young Crazy (prod. Era Hardaway)