Summer in Washington, D.C. is always a special time of year. The city comes alive with bright sunshine, street festivals and swarms of tourists. As Mayor Bowser aims for a full reopening in late May and early June, District residents can prepare to reemerge like the pesky cicadas. For DMV music fans, this means the return of the jazz festival, indoor concerts and plenty of rooftop dancing. 

To honor the hot days ahead, we’ve collected the hottest hip-hop talent from around the Washington, D.C. area. The list has superstars, silent underground performers and artists on the brink of breaking out. We’ve also attached a playlist of our favorite songs so you can enjoy each and every humid hour. As the temperature steadily rises, put on your shorts, dream of statehood and celebrate the city with these sweet District Delights.


Cordae - DMV Hip-Hop Artist

Cordae

If he isn’t already, Cordae will be one of the best artists in the game by the end of 2021. The Suitland, Maryland native is known for his crafty lyrics and woke flows, tying important topics into his outstanding songs. He started his career with the group YBN but left in 2020 due to creative differences. His debut album, The Lost Boy, received high critical praise and placed the 23-year-old on every hip-hop head’s map. After releasing a four-song EP, Just Until.…, in late April, he teased a new project on social media. Everyone is patiently awaiting his Album-of-the-Year candidate, knowing he has the talent and creativity to take the trophy home. So keep an eye out for Cordae this summer, anything he drops will be a gift to the District. 

Goldlink - DMV Hip-Hop Artists

Goldlink 

Goldlink combines D.C. go-go funk, modern pop rap, and electronic dance beats, and the result is, well, pure gold. The DMV born-and-raised artist has an immaculate flow that speeds, slows, twists, and winds around smooth trap production. His most recent albums, At What Cost and Diaspora, saw incredible success, but Goldlink has been attracting critical praise since his first mixtape, The God Complex, in 2014. His extraordinary talent and versatility earned him a spot in the 2015 XXL Freshman class, where he teamed up with fellow District rapper Shy Glizzy. Glizzy would later help Goldlink make the song “Crew,” one of the best songs of 2017 which eventually went 3x Platinum. Goldlink has been relatively quiet except for a handful of singles in 2020. With this tease of new music, one can only hope this District Delight is preparing for a big drop. Keep your eyes on Goldlink throughout 2021 and you might just stumble of a nugget of outstanding talent. 

Rico Nasty - DMV Hip Hop Artist

Rico Nasty

The self-crowned “pop-punk princess,” Rico Nasty brings both sugar and spice to the DMV. Nasty has a signature rowdy style that energizes and elevates her music. Nasty describes her music as “sugar trap,” a dynamic, upbeat flair that pervades every song she makes. Growing up in Palmer Park, Maryland, she represents the best of the D.C. Metropolis and embodies the funky and feisty energy of the DMV. Her 2020 album, Nightmare Vacation, is a testament to her unique persona and saw considerable fame on both streaming services and TikTok. Unafraid, unapologetic, and unbelievably skilled on all types of beats, Rico’s numerous and Nasty hits should blow out your speaker all summer long. 

 

Shy Glizzy - DMV Hip Hop Artists

 

Shy Glizzy

Born and raised in Southeast D.C., Shy Glizzy is a tried and true District Delight. He’s been around the DMV hip-hop scene since 2012 and featured in the 2015 XXL Freshman Class alongside Goldlink. Glizzy champions a melodic trap flow, rolling along beats with a commendable balance of harsh bars and honest lyrics. There is no musical moment where the 28-year-old “Glizzy Gang” leader is not comfortable, adapting his delivery to match each drum, sample, and drop. His most recent project, Young Jefe 3, is a star-studded mixtape, featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, Ty Dolla $ign, and more. Its versatile tracklist is a testament to Shy Glizzy’s talent, bringing both fast and slow, sweet and sorrow, and everything in between. As the D.C. native continues to put the whole capitol on, make sure to pay respect to the homegrown king. 

 

Ari Lennox

Sweet, soulful, and absolutely spectacular, Ari Lennox is the R&B queen of the District. Her soft, delicate voice will make you want to both dream and dance as she elevates over each beat. Lennox has rhythm, blues, and even a little funk to ensure all listeners feel the vibe. She has been releasing music since 2009, though her hit debut album, Shea Butter Baby, came in 2018. Ari has a handful of EPs and Mixtapes, namely Pho and Ariography, that provide endless listening potential. As a member of Dreamville Records, she often works with other artists such as J. Cole, JID, and more. Ari Lennox has also made appearances on the “Revenge of the Dreamers” albums, sharing her angelic voice with her labelmates. So, if you need a break from heavy beats and bars but still want to rep D.C., immerse yourself in the beauty of Ari Lennox’s discography. 

 

Mavi 

Mavi is the modern archetype for all lo-fi legends. With twisting lyrics and intricate rhyme schemes, he sails over samples and soft drums. Mavi exudes a casual confidence while rapping, as if he was born for each and every beat. His collaboration with Earl Sweatshirt on “EL TORO COMBO MEAL” from Sweatshirt’s FEET OF CLAY first put his name on the map. Although he is technically from Charlotte, North Carolina, Mavi has lived and worked in the District while attending Howard University. He praises the HBCU for its budding art scene in a Fader magazine interview and admits the student-artist balance is certainly a challenge. However, even with a smaller discography, Mavi shows much promise. His recent EP, END OF THE EARTH, and only album, Let the Sun Talk, are impressive displays of talent, insight, and a bright future. Though only a temporary District Delight, his involvement in the D.C. music scene is one to embrace. 

 

IDK - DMV Hip Hop Artist

IDK

If you don’t know IDK, it’s time to get familiar. The Bowie, Maryland, trapstar has an unmatchable spirit when spitting, and most songs sound perfect for a mosh pit. Originally known as JayIDK, the 28-year-old has repped the DMV since 2014 with electric performances and an impressive set of mixtapes. His most recent, IDK and Friends 2, released in 2020 following his debut studio album, Is He Real?. Both projects received critical acclaim, and IDK has been compared to Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, and Isaiah Rashad since early in his career. Despite this high praise, IDK defines his own path, thriving over trap beats with his polished flow. His bars are both clever and creative, and he certainly knows how to bring the hype. As IDK breaks into the big leagues far past the DMV, be sure to catch him while he’s hot.  

 

Odissee DMV Hip Hop Artists

Oddisee

Oddisee is the old head of the District. With twelve studio albums, ten mixtapes, and collaborations all over the map, Oddisee is a well-respected voice in DMV hip-hop. He originally hails from Prince George County in Maryland, though lived and worked in D.C. throughout the 2000s. This inspiration is evident in his mixtape, Rock Creek Park, and throughout his go-go-esque production style. When he does rap, Oddisee’s flow has an underground, old school, and East coast feeling to his music, claiming inspiration from De La Soul, Eric B. & Rakim, and A Tribe Called Quest on an NPR interview. He shies away from violent topics but remains true to himself, rapping about realness and the rebellions that uplifted early hip-hop. Oddisee is still making music for all DMV fans, releasing the album, Odd Cure, in 2020. While it may take a few days to surf his discography, check out Oddisee, where the past comes to play. 

 

Sa Roc - DMV Hip Hop Artists

Sa Roc

From Southeast to serendipity, Sa Roc elevates her game with every song. She’s been releasing music since 2012, yet her best came this past year with The Sharecropper’s Daughter. The album, a beautiful and honest representation of conscious hip-hop, was in the running for the top of the year. At 39-years-old, it’s impressive that Sa-Roc continues to improve, yet her sound, style, and advocacy seem to endlessly refine. The former Howard University student often voices activism and justice through her grounded discography, drawing comparisons to other woke artists such as Che Noir and Black Thought. Sa Roc, in fact, has been involved in the D.C. community since her high school years, and never fails to uplift the District through her music career. Sa Roc ages like the finest D.C. wine, and she’s always worth a listen. 

 

Abe The Kid - DMV Hip Hop Artists

Abe the Kid

Abe is the new kid on the block. He might not have the streams to stun anyone, but Abe the Kid definitely has the artistry. His two projects, Dirty Skin and Princess, are driven by a calm and courageous voice that seamlessly flows between singing and rap. With powerful production and emotional language, some of Abe’s best songs sound as if Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator are trading bars over their electronic melodies and modulations. Abe, like Mavi, is a nomadic District Delight. Originally from New York City, he attends Georgetown University and is an active member of the college music scene where he is known as an impactful performer and down-to-earth artist. Though you may have to survey some smaller clubs to see Abe the Kid, his creativity, style, and energy is sure to draw a crowd.