DISTRIKT — The Underground

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Bryan Sona Age: 24 Jungle Fever feature photographer A piece of the puzzle that makes the bigger picture. Currently working on the “sonasty” photography project. @gofresco

Ari Melenciano Age: 21 Head Videographer (online content) I just want to make art. A lot of it, all the time. @ciazajira

Morgan Hungerford-West Age: 33 Guest Editor Hands-on visual artist in Washington, DC, creating content across various platforms for brands and businesses in the food, fashion, and lifestyle realms. @pandaheadmorgan

Kevin Wilson Age: 22 Photographer of Tough Love look book Just a film photographer that loves streetwear & the simple things in life. Nothing else really to me. @versacejesus

Ayana Zaire Age: 21 Editor, Stylist, Art/Creative Director Forever dissecting the philosophy of Parliament Funkadelic. If I could live off sushi and expensive cocktails, I would. @ayanazaire

Chimdi Ego Age: 22 Poet - Author of HN2BTABG “I figured out a while ago that if you follow your passions, life becomes easier. After that everything’s pretty simple”. Or some corny shit like that. @trshbgpoet

Tam-anh Nguyen Age: 19 Model Aspiring filmmaker and writer with a focus in surrealism and critical race theory. Music and art appreciator at the core. I’m blue baby, blue. @yungtumaine

Franklin Thompson Age: 20 Art Director for Tough Love look book It’s a lot of artist niggas out here who are up and coming. But me, I’m just down and leaving. @apt_50

Charli Bradley-Banish Age: 19 Writer - Author of DC2BJ Aspiring UN translator who still schemes on her parents for “grocery” money. Addicted to watching ASMR YouTube videos and loves to make Japanese bento. kosherdespair.tumblr.com


Samson Binutu Age: 22 Head Photographer Photography is my visual language. It’s how I communicate. @sambitionphotos


you ever notice how the funniest jokes always have a little bit of reality in them? in my free time, i watched a viral video on a prank about a white man and a black man trying to break into a silver mazda. since i imagine you haven’t been under a rock for the past five hundred years,

you probably know where this is going.

the police casually drove past the white guy and nobody really seemed alarmed, but the black guy got arrested in two minutes. literally – two minutes; by a cop who already had his gun in his hand before he even asked a question. they put it on youtube and i laughed cause that shit was kinda funny. at least until i stumbled upon a comment from my fellow american citizen from the state of who-gives-a-fuck. youtube name: waywardremnant; thirty-one up-votes, i shit you not. and i quote maybe if black people stopped committing such a disproportionately high amount of crime, people would stop viewing them as thugs. spacebar, enter, enter, food for thought. hmm… waywardremnant, may i retort? I don’t want to seem like the angry black guy or anything but you sure did get me to think, while simultaneously putting the fear of God in my soul that thirty-one other idiots 4

really think your ignorant, self-righteous comment is really the one to cosign; fuck that’s frightening. calm down, its just youtube, its just youtube, its just youtube; except its not. somewhere along the line the joke became more reality than joke, and at that moment everything didn’t seem so funny anymore. i stopped trying to make strides in evening the playing field around the same time i realized they would rather kill us than understand our culture. feel free to criticize my pessimism, by all means


but i thought we were at least seeing progress in shedding light on the process of how we’re systematically packaged like sardines. three-fifths of all these sardines look black. but its not really like sardines, cause those get sold for $2.50 a pack and if you had them tell it


cause we’re all just thugs. but, let’s be frank wayward you wanted to say nigga but didn’t, not cause you’re smart, cause your keyboard didn’t have that much courage. but, i’ll do you one better, so savor this favor. if we killed all these niggas your dumbass really thinks that crime would drop by 60%? waywardremnant and entourage of thirty-one, did you motherfuckers ever even

bother to read the fine print? that thug, dangling from your bureau of justice statistics journal, shot that man cause if not his brother would be in a pine box. sold that rock cause obama and every other politician couldn’t provide him nor his family jobs. and if he wasn’t in jail, he’d probably do it all over again.

but, i guess i can see where you’re coming from: even if we didn’t commit any crimes we still look like them niggas; wait, i mean, we still look too much different; wait, i mean, really i’m not racist, i have a bunch of black friends! see, i get you waywardremnant! but, let’s be real. even then, if i sagged my pants just two inches below my ass, you’d call the cops if i even took half a step on the blades of grass on your front lawn. when the mouth you use to justify racial profiling, is the same one you use to complain about outsourcing and how not all middle class whites are rich; how is your family going to survive without that extra check? you have to understand why i’m not all too sympathetic, not all too convinced with your hypocrisy. boo-hoo, fuck you. okay, i’m sorry. i’m trying to learn how to not sound so condescending and opinionated and negative towards people i don’t see in a positive light, but sometimes i come off way too aggressive; and for that, i’m sorry waywardremnant. maybe things would go a bit better if i fashioned my argument how you did.

N2BTABG we’re NOT going to starve just so you can feel comfortable. the deck is and always has been stacked, we were never meant to win. but at the very least, we’re going to eat. so please, enlighten me, why do your people commit crimes? why are pedophiles and rapists seen in the highest numbers in caucasians? why do y’all shoot up high schools?

am i making YOU uncomfortable? am i being too abrasive? i hope not cause that seems like a reoccurring theme. when a black man gets a lil’ agitated, other races seem to tune out of whatever the fuck he’s saying: true or not. so, i’ll try to calm down. let’s say a change came where black people stopped committing crimes ‘disproportionately’ and let’s say that change came right now. and we got your holy, sacred, flawless perception to change. even then, you’d only sprinkle ephemeral crumbs at our feet seen in the fact you started your sentence with the word maybe. and ever since i didn’t get my forty acres and my mule, i’ve had a hard time trusting you and yours on conditional promises.

BY: cDp

let me try it out: spacebar, enter, enter food for fucking thought.



Right before interviewing 7th floor villains at the Llamadon cypher, Ayana took some snapshots of some beautiful individuals.











AZ: What is/who is apt_50? Franklin Thompson: I am apt 50. Franklin Carl Thompson. AZ: What is it? FT: Okay so after I finished high school my mother started churchin’ and shit. She was like churchin’, perppin’ and doing all the most. She told me that she was gonna have to charge me rent for me to stay in my room and I was like, are you serious? Like Chris Rock used to say…Nah, it wasn’t Chris Rock it was Chris Tucker. He was like there’s a time when you’re not your mothers son, you just a nigga laying around the house so I was like…I became the nigga laying around the house. Like it was cheap. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but if you smoke enough weed as I do it is a big deal and you really don’t do shit. The rent was $50 and I really couldn’t afford that shit. It was just real stupid so everything I did in my room that shit just became apt 50. So like painting, researching, all that. AZ: So the actual apartment you lived in…Wait, did you live in an apartment? FT: Nah, it was my house. My room is just apt 50 because my mother wanted me to pay and she was acting like a landlord so… AZ: OH AND THE RENT WAS 50 DOLLARS FT: Yeahhhhh


AZ: Tell us about tough love FT: Tough love? Aw man. That is the latest collection from apt 50 and uh it just came about one night and I just got the working, yeah. AZ: Where did the inspiration come from? I know you were the art director and you styled the shoot. FT: So I do like a lot of research before I start anything. As far as the entire look. It was real 80’s inspired, it came from the 80’s punk scene in DC that niggas ain’t really hip to… AZ: Whattttt? DC had a punk scene? FT: Are you serious? You know what Bad Brains is? Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat... AZ: I mean I know the Riot Grrrl movement and Bikini Kill did stuff here but I didn’t know there was a scene FT:...Yeah, Government Issue, like the shit gets deep. And the only reason I said that and really wanted to make it a focus point of the entire look book was because when gogo hit, like when chuck brown came out, junkyard all the older gogo bands, the punk bands was who niggas was looking at. But when you think about it gogo and punk are very similar. Like the whole call and response. Punk has a mosh pit…gogo, you know, niggas choppin and shit…losing their damn mind. They’re very much alike. And actually when they would have the punk bands play, they would have the gogo bands play afterwards so it was real tight and I felt like I wanted to highlight that. AZ: What’s the story really about? FT: So Ty went OC with the shit but that’s my nigga and I love him. It was just two dudes. There’s Smoking Joe and T.O and they were both dumped by a young female, Yung Fumes, like one after the other. And they figure out a plan to get her back and shit. It’s really about manliness. And the whole mind state of a young teenager living in the 80s. Like I had my fathers old Tram TI6 in the shoot.



AZ: What made you start outlet therapy? Tyrous Morris: To be honest with you, I just wanted to make a portfolio for myself. It was just going to be for me then I realized that there wasn’t really anything for my peers. We started last September and it was just well received. It became a platform for different people in different states and countries, just people I considered my peers. It grew organically. AZ: Tell us about the collective’s affiliation with Durkl TM: I take no credit for our affiliation with Durkl. That completely goes to my brother and the person who’s been beside me since high school...Since before outlet therapy, Kevin Wilson. He’s my right hand man. At times, he’s the reason Outlet Therapy is still up. Durkl said that they need photographers on Twitter and Kevin reached out. AZ: What’s Tough Love really about? Tyrous, I know you wrote the story. FT: HE OVER EXAGGERATED TM: Over exaggerated? I just spiced the story. Frank came up with the story. He just wanted me to write it FT: It’s like the paprika cap wasn’t tight enough and it just said DAMN AZ: *laughs* And it just poured all out? FT: But I liked it. I was like damn, this is really real. AZ: What gets you out of bed every morning? TM: For like a month Samera was what got me out of bed because she used to bug me about shit. *we laugh* For real when I was working on her artist write up she was fucking… Samera Paz: YEAH, it takes two weeks to do a artist spread? No. I’m going to call you every single day. At least 7 times a day to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. FT: ANNOYING SP: You’re just mad because I don’t call you. TM: But she gets shit done SP: And that’s why I think they need a girl on the team because I’m really organized but also not organized at the same time, but I keep people on track. They can be boys and be slobs and slacks and I’m just like no we’re going to get shit done. TM: Hey, I’m with it. I ain’t mad. AZ: So what gets you out of bed every morning? (Talking to Samera) SP: The opportunity to find inspiration somewhere. That’s it. AZ: What about you? (Talking to Frank) FT: My wardrobe gets me out the bed every morning. AZ: Deciding what to wear? FT: Nah, it’s not deciding what to wear it’s how the fuck imma kill the game each and every day. Right now I’m in school so unfortunately my class schedule gets me out of bed. 2nd to that I gotta be draped in some fly shit just to step outside. Mannnn, I be fly as shit in the house. Like I don’t even gotta go no where I just be pressed as shit to wake up and put on some Champion…with the Hanes socks TM: You got Hanes socks? FT: Yeah, I got Hanes socks. @naimnames, @versacejesus, @sameraaaaa, @apt_50 10




In this column we talk to some friends about why they left DC and what our creative community back at home needs.







This issue we link up with Daniel Cruz also known as “Ling” and Banna Gembremichael, affectionately known as “Bonez” to talk why they left, what they’re up to, and their sentiments about home. AZ: Why did you leave? Daniel Cruz: It wasn’t nothing for me back home. AZ: Why you say that? DC: It ain’t shit to do back home but be a hood nigga. AZ: You really think that? DC: Yeah like what else was I going to do? Get a job? I mean, I could’ve been creative back home but how far would that have really gotten me? I still would’ve been back home. I don’t want to down play or shit on anybodies work it’s just that people at home just really complacent. And that’s true about anywhere. Wherever you from, if you don’t ever get out you’ll never know what’s out there. AZ: Do you think DC has potential? DC: YES. I think DC has a lot of potential. I agree with you on what you were saying earlier about how people don’t need to leave DC to make it. Like it shouldn’t be like that…but that’s just DC. Niggas don’t fuck with each other. Niggas wanna be on top of each other. Niggas just want to be the shit. And I don’t know, I think that’s like fucked up of course. Niggas just don’t like working together. AZ: Do you think there’s a way to change that and what would be a good way? DC: Yeah, somebody would need to be a martyr. In the sense that they would do everything that nobody else would. And that’s gonna be ME.


Z: Future plans? DC: To get rich and get all my niggas rich. And free slaves. Are we talking long term goals or short term? DC: 10 years? I wanna end world hunger. And I want world peace. Shit like that. That’s what I’m after. I don’t give a fuck about this music shit or fashion shit or whatever. It gets my rocks off but uh, you know, I’m just doing that to get this money. Cause sadly money is what you need to you know…get what you want. But I’m just trying to help people forreal. AZ: What gets you out of bed every morning? DC: *lights blunt* ummm…*long ass pause* trying to be a better person. AZ: What is love? DC: Love is uh, *long pause* I don’t know. *pause* Love doesn’t exist. AZ: Final answer? DC: I don’t know what love is. Love is…what the fuck is love? @thraxxbaby

WHY DID YOU LEAVE? AZ: Why did you leave? Banna Gembremichael: I left Virginia when I was 17. Like right out of high school because I just knew that...I loved where I grew up don’t get me wrong, it was great. But, I felt like coming to a city like New York would be stimulating for my creativity and just you know help me to better understand my purpose. AZ: Where are you from? BG: My parents are immigrants from Eritrea in East Africa and I was born and raised in the DC area. Northern Virginia. So, you know, I was raised with two different cultures so it was difficult growing up. I was not really sure what I should do. Do I do the American thing? Do I do the Eritrean thing? But I think it definitely helps make me a more well rounded person. AZ: So what is it that you want to do? BG: I’ve very recently come to a very clear vision of what I want. So what I want to do is eventually have a gallery. I want to have a gallery that is centered around the youth in New York because of this crazy youth-quake that’s going on right now in pretty much all outlets of the art world. In music, in photography, in fashion, everything. Young people are just killing it right now and I want to have a place…I feel like there isn’t a place here that can be kind of a platform for artists to meet each other. Get their name out there and really just be supported by other young people. You know have it be more about support and not really about tearing each other down. AZ: Do you think DC has potential? BG: You know what I definitely do. I’m actually way more proud now to say that I’m from DC than I was when I first moved here. Which was about 3 years ago. There’s a lot of talent coming out of DC in terms of art. But I think right now it’s hard to make DC a creative epicenter because of the underlying political seriousness of the city. There’s always been some flavor there so I feel like if people are consistent, if people are really passionate like you are and really…. AZ: CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER! BG: Yes connect with each other and try to centralize the creativity and spread it as well. You know what I mean? Like have a really strong mission and have people really excited about it. I want to go home and feel like I’m connecting with all these other creative people. AZ: What gets you out of bed every morning? BG: *laughs* What gets me out of bed every morning is that I’m not really satisfied with my life right now. You know what I mean? And I feel like a lot of people feel like that and it can be more of a reason to stay in bed. I’m just chasing happiness right now. I’m chasing happiness and fulfillment and hopefully one day reaching enlightenment in terms of, you know, being a more spiritual person. Like I’m trying to evolve and change and mold into the person. AZ: What is love? BG: *laughs* What is love…You lucky you caught me cause I’m in love right now! No but, AZ: Awwwwwweeeee BG: *both laughs* And this is the first time I’ve been in love. Honestly I can say, to me love is when you’re away from someone and your mind just can’t seem to escape them. And it’s not just in a way that’s like oh, I wonder what he’s doing or like I wonder blah, blah, blah, but its more like me thinking about our future together and it’s like about me including him…Love is when you include someone in your future. @glazedb0nez 15






AZ: How did the beard and the fro become the beard and the fro? Mane Squeeze: Well of course it’s our hair. His beard. My fro. Selecta actually came up with the name. AZ: So how did you guys meet? How did this all start? I know it started here. (The Warehouse, now Union Arts) MAS: I was actually throwing parties here…throwing the raves and a mutual friend connected us. He (Selecta) was DJ-ing at the time and yeah I loved his steez. I invited him out to DJ at one of the raves and he killed it so our relationship pretty much grew from there. AZ: How has the journey been coming up in the DC area? MAS: *both shyly smiles* We’ve had our ups and downs for sure. The ups...We’ve thrown successful events here in DC and we’ve been recognized for the things we’ve done here, especially here at the Warehouse Loft. And then the downs like losing the Warehouse Loft that was a major downer for us. BUT then we moved to Tropicalia where we branched off and threw our Jungle Fever parties which have been very successful. We’re just getting a lot of love and support. AZ: What would you recommend to others trying to do the same thing? MAS: Just DO IT. I mean it’s hard now with access to venues and all that, it’s a difficult process but whatever. If you’re into it. Do it. If you have a following, do it. If you have a dope, creative idea... Do it. MIS: Have fun with it MAS: Right, I mean we were young at the time but it didn’t stop us. AZ: How old were you? MAS: I was like 22 and you were like... MIS: I was like 20 16




MAS: So we were super young…being wild and free *laughs* AZ: Did your age hurt you or have a negative impact when you approached businesses? MIS: Sometimes it did. It’s funny we used to go to certain places and try to get them to let us DJ, they wouldn’t even look twice. Now those same spots have started to hit us up. Now they’re calling us, emailing us trying to get us to come through. AZ: That has to be the best feeling MAS: *laughs* It is…it’s like wait. Where were y’all like 3 years ago? AZ: What do you think is next for the creative community in DC? Do you feel something shifting? MIS: I don’t know, we’re kinda focused on what we’re doing. It’s gotten to a point where you see people just focusing on what they’re doing but still supported and getting the support from other people. That’s why everybody is like progressing together versus everybody being like let’s hold hands. It’s like I’m on my shit. You’re on your shit. Let’s rise. So that’s what’s kinda happening now. I don’t know, you don’t necessarily gotta pay attention to people, you just see stuff happening. I mean, I think people around here are going to continue to progress. AZ: How was it performing at Afropunk and Trillectro? MIS: Sex. Sex. Sex. MAS: You said sex? *everyone laughs* MAS: Afropunk was wild. Trillectro was a great experience. We had a earlier set so not as many people were there as we expected but we still turned up, high energy performance. But Afropunk was crazyyyyy. *Selecta nods in a agreement* MAS: It’s just so great when people are just like vibing with you. Afropunk was AMAZING. I don’t know. Hands down, like crazy. MIS: I’d say Afropunk was like top 3 DJ-ing experiences ever.


It’s funny we used to go to certain places and try to get them to let us DJ, they wouldn’t even look twice. Now those same spots have started to hit us up. Now they’re calling us, emailing us trying to get us to come through. -MISTA SELECTA



MAS: We got there, and no one was really there then as soon as we get on you start seeing people start dancing over to our area. Then all of a sudden it’s like 200, 300 people in front of us just wilding out. And it was just like WOW. You’re here rocking with us right now. The Beard and the Fro. You know? I was on the mic like “Heyyy”. Electric Punanny was like dapping us up afterwards. They were showing us mad love. It was just great. Great experience. MIS: They had us up in New York like two days before Afropunk at House Party at Webster Hall too. AZ: So you talked about your top 3 DJ experiences. I’d be interested in knowing the count down. MAS: I think Afropunk may have been number 1 for me. Ah, I don’t know. MIS: Number one for me was when I threw a house party. Back when I was up top. It was like the party that pretty much changed the way I DJ’d. It was for my man Toine’s birthday…this is probably 2010/2011. And I was just like I’m going to play everything tonight…everything I always wanted to play. I don’t care what nobody wants to hear and it ended up being the greatest shit ever. Everybody just kept coming up to me every song like “Oh my god” “Oh my god” “Oh my god”. It got shut down but people still talk about that party. It was super packed and just changed the whole way I DJ’d. So that’s number one for me. 20

AZ: We talked a little bit about Jungle Fever earlier but talk a little more about that MAS: I just liked that we could play off of it cause, you know, he’s a white guy and I’m a black girl. *laughs* Nah, but then also the tropic effect. Like with it being at Tropicalia it blended super well. And people come out and party. DJ Underdog started the parties there, he’s held us down for sometime. Now we have it on Saturdays so check us out! AZ: What are your dreams? MAS: Travel, make music, teach. Photograph and capture all those moments…document it. That’s my dream. MIS: Uh, I don’t know. *long pause* I would say I have to re-evaluate my dreams, you know. I gotta think higher. A lot of what I dreamed about has already happened. So I gotta think bigger. AZ: What gets you up every morning? MAS: My alarm clock and the fact that I’m changing lives everyday. Because I teach. MIS: I usually wake up when my stomach starts growling. Wait. Are these metaphorical questions? @manesqueeze, @mistaselecta












I brought Everyday People to DC because there’s a similar aesthetic. Same type of people. Same type of

vibe. People in DC like to dance, have a good time. Chocolate city! Know what I mean? And I started it because I wanted to do a daytime party and the daytime brunch parties that were in New York were normally white and a very specific demographic. I had not seen a par- ty where people were dancing…having a good time. So I contacted DJ Moma…actually contacted a bunch of DJs and Moma was the only one who was like let’s do it. Then Roble (chef) joined in terms of food and it happened! It was very small at first. We were at Rivington and then it grew from like 200 to 300 people to like 900 people. I just really wanted it to be a non pretentious environment where people could feel comfortable and network. You know, for us to connect as black people, and do work.






Linking arms with my two model friends, we stumble into the club already drunk on two-dollar whiskey cokes from the bar down on the corner. We’re offered free cover charge, of course, and I’m pulled more than waved through giant a metal detector as strobe lights and lasers obscure my surroundings. The bouncer searching my bag has no idea what my hand sanitizer is so I implore him not to confiscate it using broken Chinese and hand motions. Five minutes later, after this small hiccup, I’m in the DJ booth chugging Moët and grinding with a Belgian guy wearing a dinosaur onesie. Never mind that I can’t even legally drink yet back home in the states. This is Beijing.

When it comes to the bar and club scene in BJ, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with options. You’ve got your tourist trap bars in Sanlitun and Houhai, your hip Shanghai and Taiwanese import clubs spinning underground hip-hop, your expat dive bars, and packed multi-story gay clubs. All of which are scattered about on streets of noodle restaurants, counterfeit markets, and electronics shops with the occasional stray Pekingese limping by.

It seems I most often find myself at the aforementioned type of Top-40 club with chandeliers, light shows, and go-go dancers pouring liquor into my mouth. But that’s only because I’m a shameless binge drinker and I like the simple comforts of a predictable playlist and western toilets. If you ever come here, though, you should probably seek out a somewhat more meaningful cultural experience. A lot of twenty-somethings who come here want to go full immersion and seek out bars only locals go to. But actually, I recommend the grimy and cheap expat spots. Before I arrived, I imagined this type of bar’s patrons to be circle-jerking middle aged white guys in academia, talking about their latest published research and drinking imported beer. But it’s not like that. Actually, an ex-pat bar is like the world’s most interesting high school cafeteria. West African coke dealers and their cliques are always dominating the big corner booths with tons of drink and snacks. They come early and stay late. The French businessmen tend to gravitate toward more central tables and are always bringing their briefcases to the bar to prove that they’re in business. The Scandinavians tend to keep to themselves and are always dressed like they’re about to go snowboarding, while the Persian bachelors like to dress up and socialize. Go for


京婊 the people watching, stay for the crazy shit that happens when these folks get drunk together. Plus, at an expat bar, you’ll also be less likely to consume fake alcohol. What does that even mean, right? Apparently, the capital city of Beijing is not only the cultural center of China, it is also the capital of fake alcohol sales. Meaning that if you go barhopping in BJ, it’s likely that at least one of the mixed drinks you consume will contain antifreeze, methanol, or rubbing alcohol. Most of the time these ingredients are poured into real bottles, but you definitely shouldn’t drink out of the bottle labeled “Johnnie Worker”. Another word of advice: When it’s time to head home, don’t expect to just step out onto the street and hail a cab. There will be tons of cabs passing by, but none of them is going to stop for your foreign ass. You need to download Didi, Chinese Uber, if you want to get home. Don’t expect and Uber experience though. With Didi you’re getting a city cab, and no one’s going to open the passenger side door for you. You’ll also need to bribe the cabbie with a tip if you want to actually get picked up. Without Didi you’re left with a few options: You could take an illegal cab, but you’ll have to listen to your driver sing along to Chinese pop ballads the whole ride home and he’ll drive like a drag racer (in the bike lane). Best case scenario you will suffer minor neck injury and pay twice as much as the ride was actually worth, worst case scenario you’ll be murdered. If that seems too risky, you can drunkenly try to convince a rickshaw driver to take you all the way the way across town. If he accepts though, he will most likely bike five blocks before stopping, kicking you out, and stealing your wallet.

My Chinese friends are always asking me, aren’t you tired of going out to bars? How can you Americans stand to go out every single weekend? To my dear Chinese friends, I drink to forget. To forget that I can be blacklisted at Chinese customs for being a casual pot smoker, that there’s a four-inch long cockroach living in my shower drain, that the violent spin cycle of my Chinese washing machine has ripped a hole in the armpit of every t-shirt I own. To forget that I probably already have lung cancer, that I can’t flush my toilet paper, and that a block of cheese costs ten dollars here. Being with people from all corners of the world, all suffering the same injustices helps me renew my hope for the possibilities that lie ahead of me. We’re all here to open up our worlds, starting at the bar.








AZ: What made you start rapping? Ryan P: I can start, well back in like 5th grade I was playing this game called “Get on the Mic” with Jadakiss on the front and I used to freestyle on the mic in the house. At first I was hooping, I was playing basketball and shit, but after a while I just said fuck it and just kept going with rapping. Had a passion for it. Butch Dawson: Um, I’m Butch! *everyone laughs* BUTCH DAWSON to be exact. I always grew up around music. My dad was a popular, local known rapper and also I just loved hip hop from day one when I started listening to the local radio station in Baltimore, so that always caught my eye. Then I just stuck with it Black Zheep: Um, I started rapping because, kinda like the same thing as Butch…my family members, you know, was all into it. They had studios. My cousin had a studio and I just went over there and kinda adapted and stuck with it. My brother in law was also a local pioneer. You know, like a popping artist. He influenced me to keep going so I stuck with it. AZ: How has it been being an artist in Baltimore? BD: I mean it’s pretty challenging and I’ll just say that because there’s a lot of people in Baltimore who tell you, like, they can give you some type of input but it’s specifically for their own hustle. Like everybody got a different hustle, every type of advice is not for every person. You know? And it can be challenging because, you know, it’s a kinda crabs in the bucket city. But we’re progressing to be that unified city. Everythings been real positive now and it’s turning out to be great but that’s what I would say. It’s a little challenging. *everyone nods in agreement* AZ: Summed it up!? BZ: Yeah that pretty much summed it up AZ: Do you have plans to move? BZ: I feel like I got plans to move, but I don’t think I could just permanently move away from where I started. Cause it’s kinda like being from here is like an influence. You know? It’s been an influence. The bad energy. The good energy. The good things. The people. It’s all an influence. You know, it’s like it forces you to write about something…write about struggle. Write about good things, good experiences. It’s what makes me, me. BD: I wouldn’t want to move for the reason of helping out my rap career but I would love to move out of Baltimore one day. Um, I feel like you know the way we plan things and the way we strategize…I mean it’s always easy to move out of state just to get on. But like we’re doing this shit right now. You feel me? So I would love to move when I’m like 50 or 60 or like 40 or whatever. You know, not now. AZ: What’s the best thing about rapping? BD: The best thing about rapping is that you can basically conduct your own fantasy. Basically like put together your own story, you know? It’s almost like it translates into a movie or a story so it’s good to like just straight up conduct one of those things and make it your thing. Make it your world. 26


The best thing about rapping is that you can basically conduct your own . Basically like put together your own story, you know?


AZ: What is LLAMADON? BD: Llamadon is an art and entertainment collective. It was originally formed by our friend Dylan. He’s our booking agent and our DJ. We set up a bunch of shows around Baltimore and we also set up a monthly show called Llamadon where it’s like a pizza party with a diverse sound. With like hip hop and rock. So we do a lot of shows. We do cook outs. We do small events like this cypher (Beet trip) every first and third Thursdays and yeah we just been grinding since last year. AZ: Fav thing about DC? BD: My favorite thing about DC is how everybody is kinda like unified. When we first discovered the music scene in DC, it was already like a movement going on. A lot of those guys like Bombay Knox showed love so that’s what I really liked about DC. And also I like the mumbo sauce. *everyone laughs* I don’t know if that was invented there or whatever but that shit is delicious. AZ: What gets you out of bed every morning? BD: WORK. What gets me out of bed every morning is probably work or something. Or just um, dreaming about music or whatever but mostly it’s about work. BZ: What gets me out of bed every morning is just the thought of making a better living. You know? I mean I ain’t saying I’m poor or I’m waking up on the street but it’s never enough. You long for more and want to progress. I think about that every night before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up. RP: What gets me up? Yeah work. The alarm clock. Grinding. That’s pretty much it. AZ: Future plans? BD: Wait, wait, wait this is Butch Dawson and the world just gonna have to wait and see. *everyone busts out laughing*. BD: The world will just never know….hit them with some slick shit like that. *laughs* BZ: So what you mean like goals? AZ: I know you just put out a song. So is that a song that gonna be on a larger project? BZ: Yup that’s part of a larger project dropping October 14th. The future plans are when my project comes out we gonna be doing tours, shows, October, November, and then we going to Europe in December. Doing a European tour. So that’s the future plans. AZ: And y’all just gonna keep yours a secret? BD: Nah, I’ll let you know. Basically what Zheep said I mean we got some nice cinematic films coming out. I’m pretty excited for that. Um, I basically already dropped my project but we just gonna keep coming with a lot of hot shit RP: In 2015 I plan on dropping a project called “Cursive Earth”. I plan on working with all my comrades. I’m dropping a new video for Ninja Tech and if you never heard of me I’m the youngest member of 7th Floor Villains. Only 19. Yeah, I’m dropping a video soon. @butchdawson, @zheeplife, @ryanproficient 29

THERE IS OPPORTUNITY IN THE BORING Sam casted Tam-anh in their “Film as art; Film as dream” class. We took the 19 year old, University of Maryland student, on a journey into the boring. Join us as we explore the spaces of mannequin dealers, the backyard of warehouses, and the exterior of an abandoned building to showcase the opportunity in the overlooked. We often walk, drive, and exist within spaces we take for granted - sometimes even ignore. We urge you to stop every now and then and imagine the opportunities that may lie right beneath the surface of what at first glance may seem boring and void of inspiration. See full story at distriktdc.com. PHOTO: SAMSON BINUTU - MODEL: TAM-ANH NGUYEN - FASHION: AYANA ZAIRE - CREATIVE DIRECTION: AYANA ZAIRE - VIDEOGRAPHY: ARI MELENCIANO PHOTO 1 - DRESS: AYANA ZAIRE, SHOES: NIKE PHOTO 2 - JEANS: JONES NEW YORK SPORT, SHOES: BRIAN ATWOOD PHOTO 3 - DRESS: AYANA ZAIRE, TRENCH: STYLIST OWN, SHOES: NIKE










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