On Saturday, October 24, 2015 I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Fall music festival held in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Yes, I am aware most music festivals are held in the summer, usually on a day with temperatures rivaling hell and the sun aggressively beating on your head like a set of drums with no shade in sight. However, Omar Kasif, founder of AlleyHouse Entertainment teamed up with Desmond “Dez the Prez” Walker, founder of SuiteLife Management to bless the District of Columbia with “the dopest fall festival” of the year, Charged Up DC. The festival took over Stoney Park in the NOMA junction district of DC for an all day festival that went from noon until 9pm. The pair wanted to create an event that fully celebrated their city and their culture, their way. The festival was packed with tons of amazing local talent, featured attractions, and great vibes.
Charged Up DC featured premium vendors including Nail Glam by Jovee Co, offering luxury lacquer for your nails. Bobby Juice and their brand of all natural juices, my favorite being strawberry lime watermelon. One Love Massive was out spreading a lil love and selling shirts. It also gave some of the area’s top rappers the opportunity to compete for a $5000 cash prize at the Jack Daniels Jackin’ for Beats rap and producer beat battle.
There was also a white tent located in the back corner of the park that was the scene of the Pop Up Party Wars, where endless DJs went off! Two sets that really stood out amongst the others were Jah Sonic and Dope Since 88. Jah Sonic spun house music that had the crowd swaying to his tribal beats. Dope Since 88 had rappers Stef is Dope and Nate G Ski joined by the lovely DJ Ayes Cold to take over the tent with a super dope set. Even with the spectacular art on exhibit at Storey Park, Charged Up DC added two very talented local painters to the mix. Asha Santee of Note 2 Self Inc was on hand selling her wares and showing off her steady hands. Lex showcased her talents by serving up her own rendition of a faceless Snow White.
Yes, even with all that listed above there was still much more talent to be held. The lineup of artists was extraordinary. But before I get to the lineup let me speak briefly on the crowd, or lack thereof. Surprisingly, the crowd was not nearly as large as I expected, yet I must point out the crowd that was in attendance was filled with the Who’s Who of the DMV music scene. In attendance was lead fashion writer for Haute Chicago, Jayne Kenndi, fashion stylist Earl’s Closet, Earl Peoples, painter Demont Pinder, founder of DC Top 20, DJ Anonymous, X Factor season 2 and 2009 MTV VMA nominee RatheMC; and local rappers Slim Jenkiz and Snypa B just to name a few. Now on to the main stage!
Kerim The DJ kicked off the festivities on the main stage promptly at noon with a solid set which included a mix of Drake, Chedda da Connect, and Snopp Dogg. Once he got going I forgot about the lackluster attendance and found myself partying…hard might I add. I never was one to arrive to an event on time. I mean I am from DC where time sometimes gets lost. Yet he proved it is worth it to arrive early, if not on time. His set proved to not be one to miss.
Atlanta rapper Tommy Swisher performed three songs off of his latest album “It’s About Time.” Of the
three, all of which I liked and lead me to download his album, “VSNARY” resonated most with me because of the line “I just had a vision that I just made a difference for the fam.” I mean, that’s the driving force for most seeking to fulfill a purpose; making a difference for your family may it be blood or not. For this to be his first time performing in DC, he had great command of the stage and a good level of comfort. Hugo Joe followed his fellow Atlanta rapper and was joined onstage by DMV rapper Thraxxx to do “Little Red Margiella Hoodie” off his ep, “Fashion Week.”
V Bozeman of the hit FOX sitcom Empire introduced DC’s four-piece genre bending band whose music has been featured on BET’s Being Mary Jane, Redline Graffiti. The band, whose members consist of Ajene Harley- guitar, Dante Pope-drums, Donald “Donnie” Martin – producer/vocalist, and Drew Moten- bassist/lead vocalist took the attendees on a magical music ride that included many of their hits as well as one of my favorite songs, "Appetites" off their ep “End The World.” If you have never seen or heard this band please pretty please do yourself a favor and check them out. I have seen them live twice, this being the second time, and each time I have been thoroughly satisfied with their show.
P.G. County, Maryland native, Kelow took the stage next. Still high off Redline Graffiti I eagerly waited as she stepped up to get her mic stand set to hear if her offerings would meet the bar set by Redline Graffitti. She performed a few songs off her album "Amethyst Stoner" including fan favorite “Finna.” She kicked off her flip flops, threw her hat off, and took off her jacket, all while connecting with attendees as if we were all guests in her living room. It was my first time seeing her live and I am certain it won’t be the last! I really enjoyed her set and strongly encourage you to download her current album.
DC three man fusion band, Legendary Cloud 9 Guitarist, Adam Lee; the drummer, Jonathan "Footz" Livas and lead vocalist / multi-instrumentalist TK, wearing white from head to toe with his face concealed by an oversized white hood that Little Red Riding Hood would kill for, took the stage like rock titans. They performed crowd favorite “Bring It All Down” off their ep "The War." Legendary Cloud 9 lived up to their name. They took the audience on a legendary flight to cloud nine. I must once again strongly encourage you check them out and become a fan.
Uptown DC entertainer Pinky KillaCorn arrived in Technicolor. She took the stage and it went up in smoke…well more like puffs of
weed clouds. She performed songs from her latest project "KillaCorn 3.5" including smoker’s favorite "Sheets N Funnels" as well as a few others. The crowd knew every word of each song she performed off her recently released project. She has a stage presence as potent as the marijuana she proudly smokes. She sent the crowd into a frenzy. Be sure to download KillaCorn 3.5, you don’t want to be the only one in the crowd not singing along with the Queen Hippie.
The Head Hippie Visto stood before the mic like a shepherd before his flock. He was accompanied by Legendary Cloud 9 who put a rocker mix on his hit single "Everything Gorgeous" off “Before Euphoria.” He also invited Gold Griffith to perform their song "Do The Right Thing." Visto also had hypeman Taco and rap legend 5ive Mics join him on stage. Visto’s Hippie Life Krew was definitely in attendance. How do I know, you may ask. His fans proudly wear his mark in the form of Hippie Life tattoos. I enjoyed his rock renditions of his hits just as much as I did the originals.
P.G. County, Maryland native, Jay IDK (Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge) aka King Trappy was definitely the plug that took Charged Up DC to another stratosphere! I might be biased, as I am the homegirl in the blue jacket he shouted out for knowing every word to his songs. Since SubTrap was released it finds it's way into my rotation almost daily. Jay IDK performed several songs off "SubTrap" including "The Plug," "Two Hoes," and fan favorite "God Said Trap." He is certainly one to watch as he is making a lot of noise on the national scene with his latest piece of explosive trap goodness. If you have not had your knowledge delivered ignorantly, it is not too late to start. Enroll and get your copy of SubTrap.
Black Alley did a cover of Prince’s "When Doves Cry" that made me commit blasphemy and admit it may have become my favorite version of the iconic classic. I know that is the ultimate music journalist sin acknowledging a cover to be better than the original, yet if you were at Charged Up DC to hear for yourself you may very well agree. There’s not much I can say about this band that millions across the country don’t already know. They destroy every stage they grace.
Mike Will Made It had his entire crew Jace of Two9, Joey F1, Eearz,and Impxct who was joined by local street performer and drummer Malik Stewart. They performed hits like Impxct’s "Lean" and Eearz’ "Every Room" off "Eearz 2 Da Streets vol.1." This crew was high energy their entire set and all over the stage.
Overall I would give Charged Up DC a solid B as a grade. Although the crowd was star studded it was a bit sparse. The food was good but I would have appreciated more options. The bars were like any other bar in DC, overpriced yet fully stocked. The festival was easily accessible by Metro and parking, as in any major city, was a little tricky for some. I arrived early so I was able to find a spot on the lot adjacent to the park. Charged Up DC is a must attend festival. If you missed this one, whatever you do, don’t miss next year’s! I heard it’s going to be bigger and better so get ready to get Charged Up DC!
Written by Ki Misfit for Misfit Tunes (c) 2015
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