A King & A Prince Recap

Two legendary DJ's from Richmond, VA, Skillz & DJ Lonnie B, came together Friday night to bring back two of the most iconic music artist the world has ever heard. A night with Michael Jackson & Prince, taking us back on journey of romantic lyrics and grooving harmonies that blew your mind. Havana 59's top floor terrace served as an appropriate setting as the two DJs brought life underneath the night skies, and people sang and danced the night away. Skillz & Lonnie B, kept the crowd on their toes, switching back and forth, creating a symphony of spins that made you 'Remember the Time'. A choir of die hard fans as 'Lets Go Crazy, Raspberry Beret, I Will Die 4 U' played through the speakers, and it was as if Prince himself was performing live. A great time was had by all who attended. Our photographer, Bobby, was on hand to capture the poignant moments, check out his gallery above.

#StraightFromTheInbox: MRTN SWFT is Dead, An Exhibition of His Work


Hole in the Sky and the Estate of Martin Swift are pleased to announce the death of Martin Swift at the age of twenty seven. Born March 3rd, 1990 in Takoma Park, Maryland, Martin began drawing and painting at an early age, going on to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon. A burgeoning artist, his life was cut short at the announcement of his death on August 9th, 2015. When questioned, Martin replied "The decision to announce my death was a difficult one, but since then my work as appreciated substantially in value and perceived legitimacy. I believe my passing has been very beneficial to my career, and I look hopefully to a new horizon of posthumous work." Martin is survived by his parents and twin sister. 

To commemorate this milestone, join us at Hole in the Sky on Saturday, September 26th to view selections of Swift's oeuvre. Paintings, illustrations and prints will be on display. The night will be a celebration of life. Featuring:

Milk Cult (www.milkcultdc.com)

DRINKS BY: Larry Weaver
- Single origin cold brewed coffee
- Arnold Palmer's made w/ cold brewed tea + fresh squeezed lemonade

The Ryan Troy Ford Memorial Performance Art Collective (www.friendster.com)
Bring beverages if you think you'll be thirsty.
We're asking for $5 donations at the door to keep us doing cool stuff at Hole in the Sky. A thousand thank you's to those who contribute.

The Renaissance is Here

Before I start this review, allow me to preface by saying this: The Renaissance EP is a near classic. Yes, I said it… or in this case wrote it. Let it be immortalized and emblazoned on my tombstone.

In a world where underground music is often overshadowed by mainstream releases—unless Drake retweets it—DMV rapper, Msanii has stormed to the forefront and demands to be heard. Enlisting the help from a smorgasbord of producers including Virginia’s own Razcal, MJ Nichols known for his work with A$AP Ant, Gunplay, Smoke DZA and Bobby Shmurda as well as a host of others, takes the EP to another level beat wise and matches Msanii’s high energy flow. It is the record that will set him apart from his peers as he continues to grow. It is his Section.80. His Comeback Season. It is his Friday Night Lights.

To paraphrase my favorite wrestler, Triple H, it’s just that damn good.

Things start off with a hard hitting introduction made more visceral by the additions of the Mortal Kombat samples on the Mac XVII-produced track aptly named, Enter: Msanii. There, Msanii gives a small sample of what to expect with this project, lyrical knowhow and great beat selection. Texas producer ComputoFre$h lends his craft to Beverly Hills, a great crossover song that Msanii uses to paint a picture of his life now and where he wants to be in the years to come. A fun track that begs to be played while driving through the city with the top down. However, throughout the EP the one constant stays at what brings him to the forefront, the lyrics and the flow. There isn't a track that does not come loaded with content that often takes another listen before the full appreciation can be felt. This also holds true for the features, with each guest flexing their lyrical muscle—especially on the ending track Never Cared where featuring artist Lazy Rios goes toe to toe with Msanii for lyrical supremacy.

The only thing holding The Renaissance back from becoming the instant classic that it should be is its run time. At only 26 minutes, Msanii leaves before he overstays his welcome and leaves the crowd wanting more, but perhaps one or two more tracks would only help his endeavors. It is a very nitpicky critique, especially in a day and age where EPs are the norm and does not detract from this great project. It is just that this writer is very greedy when it comes to good music.

You can listen to The Renaissance on Msanii’s personal Soundcloud or support his movement by purchasing the EP from his Bandcamp. You will not regret it. 

Chechi Sarai Wants You to Know She's the REAL DEAL


Detroit has its fair share of stars. We all know their names: Eminem, Big Sean, The Supremes, Dej Loaf, Smokey Robinson, Aaliyah... Add another to the burgeoning list: Nigerian American Chechi Sarai. Born and raised in the city that Motown made, this daughter of a DJ is making quite the name for herself in the music world. With a sound embracing the different cultures that her father infused in her as well as the influences of the city that changed music forever, Chechi plans to bring her unique voice to the youth as a positive message that anything is possible. A plan that is coming to fruition before her eyes.

With her previously released song, a cover of the world famous 1975 Minnie Riperton song, “Lovin’ You”, with a riddim twist showcased her ability to adapt her style to any sound. It also displayed her amazing vocal prowess making the song her own that she uses as a staple in her live performances.

Today, she is set to debut her newest single, “Real Deal”. A song produced by fellow Detroit native Radrick that blends a crossover pop sound with trap drums, blazing synths and a Caribbean flair that encapsulates her perfectly. Chechi Sarai is a talent that can take many aspects of different genres and bend them into a new sound that everyone can enjoy. Enjoy this Karmalifee exclusive and be sure to jump over to her Soundcloud and YouTube pages for more amazing gems from this soon to be star.

Peter $un is Scummy.Ugly.Pure.Beautiful


Things change. You change jobs. You change lovers. Lord knows I hope you change drawers. The same thing happens with music. Many times it is a circle where new is old and what was once old is new again. The influx of Motown Soul from a few years back in R&B is proof of that statement. However, when that old and new mashup, something incredible truly inspirational happens with music. With acts such as Kid CuDi, Chance the Rapper—and as an extension Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment (That album is incredible)—Allan Kingdom and of course Kendrick Lamar pushing the envelope to what mainstream hip-hop can be defined as, it’s a great time to be a music fan. The streets are taking notice too. The infusion of elements of funk, jazz, and psychedelic rock are showing up more and more in new artist.

One such artist carving a name for himself in this new progressive niche is Richmond rapper Peter $un. Peter’s mix of these different elements has garnered him a cult following within the city and has him noticed by hip-hop blogs all over, including DJBooth. In the new landscape of Hip-Hop and ever evolving music scene as a whole, $un is going in the right direction and plans to be a powerful voice to the new generation. Hit the play button for a most enjoyable listen to his newest cut with producer Go Yama, Scummy.Ugly.Pure.Beautiful (S.U.P.B). A dreamscape cut that's getting a lot of attention with his trademark off-kilter flavoring that will make for a most enjoyable listen. Take a listen after the jump. 

#CurationDC Returns

For those of you who missed the first one, #CurationDC is back with another serving of great talent. Britt Wright along with TheNetworkDC bring his unique "day-party" concept to life and allow you to enjoy the good vibes of summertime in DC and take in a bit of art while you do it. Complete with its own live band known as the Johnny Graham and The Groove playing current, old and original hits, this event at The Manor in Northwest DC is sure to be a good time. You can read a bit more about this edition's featured artists below and buy your tickets through the website. Oh yeah, don't forget to tell them TomTom sent you. 

Sasha Loriene

As the second child of Liberian immigrants, she has a strong connection and deep-rooted passion for African culture. This passion has ignited and driven her lifelong mission of spreading cultural awareness and working through social justice issues prevalent in society.

Earl Mack

A Richmond based artist and designer. He is a self employed Freelance graphic designer and aspiring muralist. When he is not in his studio painting he could be working one some fashion for his brand Chilalay. He is an artist that enjoys dragon ball Z, FIFA, and a good slice of pizza. He uses a lot of Strong imagery of weapons but he puts his own colorful twist on it. Simply put, if his art work offends you in any way, then just don’t look at it. 

Julian Haskins

Julian hails from Virginia Beach. He's known for his depiction of African American Culture specifically political, sports, and entertainment figures. Julian has a genuine passion for art and is eager to build the art culture in Virginia. 

League of Champions Presents #LegendsNeverDie


This Saturday, August 22nd, 2015, two very talented emcees from Richmond area will engage in battle to see who will win the title of best battle rapper! Our good friend Radio Blitz is going toe-to-toe with Bravo. Bravo, who is actually the owner of League of Champions Battle League, garnered the attention of many after taking his raw, brash and witty style to New York and winning the 2013 DTLR & Converse Rubber Tracks 16 Bar Battle. Radio B, along with his AGM crewmates, Nickelus F, Michael Millions and NameBrand have taken their "Association Of Great Minds" concept and gotten the city to rally behind them in a manner that few can compete with. For some years now, he has released consistently great music that has received amazing reviews from publication after publication. All the while, making his imprint on the RVA music scene with numerous performances in different venues, conducting some of his own shows like last year's AGM Flag on the Moon that sold out the Broadberry and became a showcase of sorts for some of his other talented peers. Radio, who is known as a pure lyricist has decided to go back to his battle roots and challenge Bravo on his turf in what will definitely be an interesting competition. Nickelus F will also be present performing tracks from his upcoming album TRIFLIN' that is slated for release next week along with Ty Nitty. You don't want to miss out!

#StraightFromTheInbox: G40 Art Summit x H St Festival x Art All Night, Nuit Blanche DC


Art Whino’s signature, month long art summit returns for the sixth edition of its immersive experience.

Presented by Art Whino, the annual G40 Art Summit group art show brings together world-renowned artists for a month long exhibition, with works in Low Brow and street culture expression, that reflect a particular theme.

The 2015 G40 event will once again be a building ‘takeover,’ showcased at a 20,000 square foot site in the heart of H St Corridor at 700 H Street, NE. The event is also the first for the ‘Whino on H’ satellite location of Art Whino, bringing a whole new experience focusing on entertainment.

With an ‘Installation’ exhibition theme, participating artists will create their own artistic environments with large scale art pieces which they will superimpose their canvases and works on paper.

The 2015 G40 Art Summit will also include a large group show including works from over 70 different artists from around the world, providing audiences and viewers a broad cross section of the wide variety of work that falls into the Low Brow genre.

To compliment the more than 500 pieces of art exhibited inside the space, the exterior of the building will be painted by Polish artist Pener (Bartek Pener Świątecki), with a dramatic mural wrap.

Pener will paint the H Street and 7th Street sides of the building, completely transforming the exterior on a very busy corner into a large-scale work of art for the community and aficionados of street art alike. Continuing with the G40 tradition of month-long programming in conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a range of events and activities for patrons to enjoy and return to see the exciting space multiple times.

Saturday, Sept 12-26th 2015
700 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

Schedule of Events:

G40 Art Summit Opening
Sept 12th
RSVP Only event
RSVP Here https://goo.gl/BpVjDS 

H St Festival
Sept 19th

Art All Night
Sept 26th
RSVP Only event
RSVP Here https://goo.gl/37NW80

About the G40 Art Summit

The first G40 art summit in 2010 compounded artistically explosive cultures from all over the world and brought them to the DC metro area. By bringing all of these cultures from throughout the world to one place it allowed the visitor to be fully immersed in over 1000 works by 500 artists organized by floors corresponding to their cultural hubs.  In 2011 G40 explored the media of art which are on the forefront of creative transitions and growing in large scale with hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the world. Some of these genres include Customized collectibles, Skateboard Art, Stencil, Wheat Paste and 3D Installations.  In 2012 the theme was the "Art of the Mural".  Traveling to Richmond, VA. and inviting 12 of the top mural artists from around the globe to unleash their creativity to 20 large scale walls throughout Richmond as well as having six exhibits in pop up galleries along the main street of the arts district. With two dimensional work and installations by each mural artist, these shows offer the opportunity to experience a more personal scale and a closer look at the execution and detailing of the mural artists work.  In 2013 it transformed a 138 year old abandoned church to a full scale piece of art with a full building mural by Hense and a massive interior mural by Australian artist Meggs. In keeping with the spirit of the transformation of the building the theme for the the 2014 group art show was Transformation as artists were challenged to use found objects to repurpose them to pieces of art.

About the H St Festival

H Street has returned to its roots as a thriving, commercial hub, and is home to a diverse, cohesive community. A revitalized visual and performing arts scene, hipster bars, music venues, and a boom of high-end condos and apartments are quickly reshaping the historic corridor, bringing new opportunities for residents, consumers and business owners.  Whether it’s pho, falafel, or fried fish; bluegrass, jazz, or rock, H Street’s scene offers something for everyone. The one-and-a-half mile commercial corridor boasts coffee shops, a farmer’s market, more than 100 retail stores, and a collection of international cuisines, including Italian, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Japanese, Jamaican, British, Belgian and Southern, among many others.  Since its inception, the H Street Main Street organization has been a strong and effective advocate and principal leader of H Street redevelopment. A nonprofit entity, H Street Main Street represents the interests of the H Street community in presentations to DC Government officials, including testifying before the DC City Council and working for grant funding to support H Street business improvements.  H Street Main Street perhaps is best-known as the principal organizer of the H Street Festival. The event, held annually on a Saturday in September, draws more 50,000 festival-goers to enjoy great food, music, art, and camaraderie. All year long, H Street Main Street provides valuable commercial property improvement services and government relations assistance to the H Street business community.

About Art All Night

Art All Night: Nuit Blanche DC was founded by Ariana Austin in 2011. The festival is an all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art, encompassing five of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods: Dupont Circle, Shaw, North Capitol, H Street NE, and Congress Heights.  Watch as DC’s creative community re-imagines public and private space and invites us all to see our city anew. Indoor and outdoor venues will showcase work by artists in a diverse range of media – with vibrant visual arts, street performances, live music, and DJs contributing to an unprecedented mash-up of cultural experiences in the nation’s capital.  With this festival, Washington DC joins a global network of Nuit Blanche all-night arts events, that started in Paris in 2002 and has captivated audiences from Montreal to Melbourne.

Participating Artists

Aaron Jasinski | Adam Labuen | Alexandra Garcia | Andrew Wodzianski | Anna rose soevik | Bartek Świątecki | Batala | Brendan Smith | Brendan Tierney | Brendon Palmer-Angell | Briana Hertzog | Bridge stehli | Bryant Pomajambo | BZA | Caia Kooman | caratoes | ChrisRWK | Christian Harrell  | Christopher Canary | Corey Posner | Craig Skibs Barker | Czr Prz | Damon Lucas | Darren Smith | Dave Chung | Dave Lowell | David Soukup | demont peekaso | DIABETIK | Downer | Dubelyoo | Duck head | El Estabo | Emmalee | Erik Otto | Evoker | Fithi Abraham | Frank Gonzales | Gigi Bio | Grafix chick | Graham Franoise | HKS181 | in.fa.mousIKB Imani | Izquierdo and Mike-one | Jacob Eveland | Jah | James Bullough | James Koo | James Walker | Jared Davis | Jason Limon | Jason White | Jason woodside | Jeremy Gann | Jerkface | jessie unterhalter | John Breiner | John Deardourff | John Grunwell | John Wentz | Jon MacNair | Josh Taylor | Joshua Lawyer | Josie Morway| Kat Gun | Katun | Kevin "Double Down" Bednarz | Keyhan | Lightup | Luke Chueh | Marka 27 | Mas Paz | Matt Corrado | Melanie Pruitt |
Michael Auger | Michael Waraksa | Moya | mxcq | Navid Rahman | Nawer | Nick Morris |
Nick Zimbro | Nightmare Mikey | Nils Westergard | Patrick Haemmerlein | Pener | Peter Adamyan | Peter max jakobsen | Peter Van Flores | Philip Bosmans 'AMATIC' | Pon Shop | Prakash Khatri Chhetri | RAPTUZ TDK-CBS | Rei21 | Reuben Rude | Rodrigo Pradel | Rosina Teri Memolo | Santos Shelton | Shawn Yu | Sheryo | Soul and Ink | star 27 | Stclair Castro-wright | Stephanie Hydal | superwax | Tanya Nuchols | The Yok | Thom Glick | Tim Rodgers | Timothy Johnston | Ultra | Urban Artistry | Ursula Xanthe Young | Vaudoux Aerial Dance | Walt Hall | William Nghiem | Zoe Williams

Out Her Space: The Final Frontier

Photo is not the property of Karmalifee

Photo is not the property of Karmalifee

Virginia newcomer Nsay Mada wants to take you to the final frontier. And the only things you will need to bring for the trip are your headphones.

Out Her Space is the debut EP from singer/songwriter Nsay Mada that takes on the Indie R&B sound that has taken the internet by storm these last few years. With introspective lyricism waxed over synth-laden instrumentals, Nsay takes the Jhené Aiko approach of floating within the spacey beats instead of taking them head on. The result is a dreamy sound befitting the theme of the album that allows her to convey her fears, pain and elations of love with ease. This shows immensely in the standout track War. A tinge of Aaliyah can be heard over the rhythm guitar sample and the almost Timbaland like electronic drums as Nsay prepares to battle her heart but at the same time ready to give in to the overwhelming feeling she has for her lover.

Out Her Space, while not perfect, delivers in strong songwriting and ambiance that strengthens Nsay’s story and makes for a very enjoyable album. Head to her official site and take a listen.