2018 Summer Spirit Festival                                                             Weekend Pass

CDE Presents

2018 Summer Spirit Festival Weekend Pass

Erykah Badu, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Nas, The Roots, Method Man & Redman, Daniel Caesar, Lion Babe, Lizzo, Rapsody, Raheem DeVaughn, Bilal, Masego, Phony PPL, Ms. Kim & Scooby, Bryan J, DJ Quicksilva

Sat, August 4, 2018 - Sun, August 5, 2018

Doors: 1:00 pm / Show: 2:00 pm

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Columbia, Maryland

$108.00 - $450.00

This event is all ages

No refunds or exchanges. This event is Rain or Shine.

Attention: Parking at MPP has Changed!  Everyone MUST pre-select parking once tickets have been bought.  Once you’ve completed your ticket transaction, you’ll receive a link to select your FREE parking. Please do so in advance before arriving at the show.

If you have made other transportation arrangements, you don't have to select parking.

Click HERE to view parking for Saturday 8/4

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Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu was born on February 26, 1971 to William and Kollen Wright in Dallas, Texas. They named her Erica Abi Wright and she was the first of their three children. She inherited a taste for music from her mother who introduced her to multiple genres of music (Joni Mitchell, Parliament-Funkadelic, Pink Floyd, Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan). At the tender age of four, Badu began singing and dancing in productions at the local Dallas Theatre Centre. It wasn’t until her acting debut in the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center’s musical production of “Really Rosie,” directed by her godmother Gwen Hargrove, that Badu realized she was a natural performer. “I played Alligator,” Badu says, “and at 6 years old, I got my first standing ovation. I knew I wanted to bring people to their feet from that point on.”

Badu stayed true to her artistic leanings and enrolled at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in the late ’80s. Tomboyish and a bit of a class clown, Badu devoted most of her time to perfecting her dance form, studying the techniques of Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham, as well as practicing ballet, tap, and modern dance. Badu also sharpened her Hip-Hop skills, freestyling on the Dallas radio station 90.9 FM KNON under the name Apples the Alchemist until she eventually changed the spelling of her name from “Erica Wright” to “Erykah Badu,” “kah” being Kemetic (Egyptian) for a human’s vital energy or “inner-self” and “ba-du” after her favorite jazz scat-sound. But later, Badu would discover that her chosen name holds a far deeper meaning.In 1989, her senior year of high school, she decided to dedicate her life to a path of holistic wellness and became a vegetarian.

Badu enrolled at Grambling State University, where she majored in theater and minored in Quantum Physics. She left in 1993 to pursue music full-time. During the day, she taught drama and dance at the South Dallas Cultural Center and worked as a coffeehouse waitress. At night, she recorded and performed songs like “Appletree,” produced by her cousin Robert “Free” Bradford. In 1994, her 19-song demo caught the attention of aspiring record executive Kedar Massenburg by way of the SXSW music festival. Massenburg signed her to his upstart label Kedar Entertainment. The company eventually merged with Motown/Universal and Badu started opening for D’Angelo, prepping the world for the massive Neo soul movement to come.

The New York Times described Badu’s groundbreaking debut, 1997’s Baduizm, as “traditional soul vocals, staccato hip-hop rhythms and laid-back jazzy grooves.” Yet, hindsight reveals that Badu’s debut was more than just an album, it was the introduction of a new lifestyle. The music evoked speakeasies, incense, head wraps, and boho coffee shop culture all in one easy breath. Propelled by the lead single “On & On,” the album went multi-platinum, winning her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album. Badu topped Rolling Stone’s Reader’s poll for Best R&B Artist, and Entertainment Weekly named her Best New Female Singer of 1997.
In 2003, she founded her non-profit group, B.L.I.N.D. (Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-Profit Development), which is geared toward creating social change through economic, artistic, and cultural development. Among B.L.I.N.D.’s many accomplishments, the organization has provided arts, crafts, and dance classes to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Also in 2004, Badu’s charitable efforts helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the scholarship fund at St. Phillips School and Community Center in Dallas, Texas.

Badu continues to use her platform as an alter. By incorporating instruments such as tuning forks, crystal singing bowls, and gem stones and more into her music, she has created a wave of healing energy throughout the planet. But her true instrument is the 'intent' with which she sings. She has become a spiritual midwife, aiding in the rebirth of moral and spiritual consciousness for her generation. Badu’s artistic and spiritual contributions to humanity earned her an honorary Doctorate degree in Humanities from Paul Quinn College in 2000.

Erykah Badu’s three children, son Seven Sirius (b. 1997) and daughters Puma (b. 2004) and Mars Merkaba (b. 2009), were all born at home with a practicing midwife. She is an advocate of natural childbirth, healthy birth outcomes and breastfeeding for robust infant development. Recently, she was the keynote speaker at the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) 7th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference in October 2010.

Erykah currently studies and apprentices to masters Queen Afua, holistic health guru and spiritual teacher. Dr. Jewel Pookrum , neurosurgeon, physicist and midwife and Dr. Laila Africa, scientist, health practitioner and theorist. In 2006 Erykah was certified as a Holistic Health practitioner thru Dr. Laila Africa and she is also a 3rd Degree Reiki Master-Teacher. Badu hasn’t stopped yet; she continues to study sound and vibration healing and presently assists and apprentices as a direct entry midwife. Erykah has served as doula for five natural births and only has 31 left to becoming a full fledge midwife.

Erykah currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas. Self described as a “mother first”, Badu is a touring artist, DJ, teacher, community activist, 25 yrs vegetarian, recycler, and conscious spirit.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
After a handful of releases under the name Breezy Lovejoy, singer, rapper, drummer, and producer Anderson .Paak broke through with six songs on Dr. Dre's 2015 album, Compton. Born and raised in Oxnard, California, Brandon Paak Anderson's first experience as a musician came as a teenage drummer in the church band. As an adult, he helped manage a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara while working on a debut album, but when he lost his pot job unexpectedly, the recording costs had put him in deep debt. Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra hired him as an assistant, and with access to the Sa-Ra studio, Paak finished his debut album. O.B.E., Vol. 1 landed in 2012 as a Breezy Lovejoy album, but he didn't get to promote the release much as he soon hit the road as drummer for American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart. His 2013 all-covers EP Cover Art arrived as the first Anderson .Paak release. A year later he issued Venice, an album featuring production from DJ Nobody, Tokimonsta, and others.

In 2015, Paak joined Dr. Dre in the studio and landed on six songs on the legendary producer's third album, Compton. Paak's second proper album, Malibu, was issued in early 2016 with contributions from 9th Wonder, Rapsody, and Kaytranada. It debuted at number nine on the Billboard R&B/hip-hop chart and was followed only nine months later by Yes Lawd!, a full-length recorded with producer Knxwledge under the alias NxWorries. Shortly thereafter, Malibu was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Urban Contemporary Album, while Paak himself was up for Best New Artist. Rapsody's Laila's Wisdom, one of several releases on which he made a guest appearance during this period, was nominated the same year for Best Rap Album. As Malibu tracks were licensed to the films Everything, Everything, Pacific Rim Uprising, and Marvel's Iron Fist, Paak made appearances on Chris Dave and the Drumhedz and Black Panther: The Album. ~ David Jeffries
Nas
Nas
"So much to write and say/Yo, I don't know where to start/So I'll begin with the basics and flow from the heart" – Nas, "Loco-Motive"

Hip-hop is a fickle, ephemeral beast; a genre filled with trend-hopping "artists," corporate hucksters and walking gimmicks desperate to achieve their 15 minutes of shine. Look back at the hip-hop charts 20 years ago—hell, look back 10—and see how many names you're still reading about today.

Ever since a 17-year-old Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones appeared on Main Source's 1991 classic "Live at the Barbeque," hip-hop would be irrevocably changed. Nas. Gifted poet. Confessor. Agitator. Metaphor master. Street's disciple. Political firebrand. Tongue-twisting genius. With music in his blood courtesy of famed blues musician father Olu Dara, the self-taught trumpeter attracted crowds with his playing at age 4, wrote his first verse at age 7 and, with 1994’s Illmatic, created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time before he could legally drink. Two decades on, Nas remains an incendiary, outspoken and brutally candid rapper on the recently released Life is Good, his tenth album and sixth to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.

Critics and fans immediately flocked to Life is Good, with everyone from Rolling Stone ("He cuts his rhymes with midlife realism and daring empathy") and MTV ("The most emotionally raw record he’s made since his first") to HipHopDX ("An obvious maturation from the veteran") and Pitchfork ("Best New Music") praising the album. Far from divorcing personal problems from a hyperbolic, caricatured alter ego, Life is Good finds Nas confronting the myriad issues he's faced head-on since 2008's Untitled ("Daughters, "Bye Baby"), mixed with a wayward wisdom that allows him to channel the past without attempting to ape it ("Loco-Motive," "Nasty").

"I used to listen to that Red Alert and Rap Attack/I fell in love with all that poetry/Mastered that" – Nas, "The Don"

Before the 13 Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums and Top 5 rankings on MTV's 10 Greatest MCs of All Time and The Source’s Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, 17-year-old Nas would take daily trips to Manhattan hoping to secure a major label deal, only to be shot down by nearly every label. When 3rd Bass co-founder MC Serch brought his demo tape to the attention of Faith Newman, then-Director of A&R for Columbia Records, she made a deal with Serch that day, offering Nas a $17,000 advance and the lifeline to begin his career.

With hundreds of thousands of words alongside entire books written on the album, it seems almost trite today to discuss the universal impact and acclaim that Illmatic had on rap. Put simply: the album has long been considered a masterpiece not just in hip hop, but music as a whole, inspiring countless subsequent rappers and establishing Nas as the most vivid storyteller of urban life since Rakim and Chuck D.

1996’s It Was Written built upon Illmatic’s foundation, with “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World” (the latter with Lauryn Hill) becoming radio staples and vaulting Nas into mainstream success. For his two 1999 albums, I Am… and Nastradamus, the rapper balanced commercial aspirations with extended metaphors and rough street anthems, carving out multiple identities that better reflected the rapper’s expanded worldview.

"My success symbolizes loyalty/Great friends/Dedication/Hard work/Routine builds character/In a world full of snakes, rats and scavengers" – Nas, "You Wouldn't Understand"

In 2001, the rapper released his fifth album Stillmatic at the height of his escalating battle with Jay-Z for King of New York. Tracks like “Ether” and “Got Ur Self A….”could be heard on radio stations and in cars across the country and would eventually sell more than 2 million copies, while songs like “Rewind,” which told the story of a payback hit in reverse a la Memento, solidified Nas as an atypical rapper unafraid to play with convention. God’s Son, with the booming anthem “Made You Look,” would follow one year later and go gold.

As Nas entered his 30s, his scope and breadth became even more ambitious. While most rappers struggle to say anything on one album, Nas released the 2004 double album Street’s Disciple, reuniting with his estranged father on the blues/hip-hop hybrid “Bridging the Gap.” The album also featured the Iron Butterfly-sampling “Thief’s Theme,” which remains one of Nas’ most anthemic songs.

In the past decade, Nas has only gotten more inflammatory and passionate, purposely titling albums to provoke weighty discussions on a global level. 2006’s Hip Hop is Dead sparked widespread debate on the veracity of the title, while Nas changed 2008’s Untitled from its original title Nigger, yet still incited intense polemics on race and politics in America.

"Reveal my life/You will forgive me/You will love me/Hate me/Judge me/Relate to me/Only a few will/This how it sounds when you too real/They think it's just music still" – Nas, "No Introduction"

In recent years, though, Nas has transcended mere rapper status and engaged in greater levels of philanthropy. The rapper is an avid UNICEF supporter, helping to raise funds for East African region Horn of Africa and teaming up with the family of George Harrison for the organization’s Month of Giving. The rapper also donated all proceeds of Distant Relatives, his 2010 collaboration with longtime friend Damian Marley, to help end poverty in Africa.

Nas’s desire for greater interaction with his fans has also led him to new business ventures. He serves on the board of social photo sharing site The Fancy alongside Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and has invested in Mass Appeal and RapGenius.com. Most recently, Nas announced plans to open 12AMRun – a sneaker store in Las Vegas.

The artist’s recent release was 2011’s Life Is Good, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, marking the sixth #1 album that Nas has produced in his career. The collection also received four GRAMMY nominations bringing the rap icon’s GRAMMY recognition count to 13 overall.

Nas’ seminal debut album, Illmatic, was released as a special 20th Anniversary Edition, titled Illmatic XX in Spring 2014 by SONY Legacy. In conjunction with the release, Time Is Illmatic – a feature length documentary film that examines the album – opened The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Rapper J-Live once said satirically, “To be a great MC, you have to be a great liar.” It’s safer to not tell the truth; safer to sanitize your existence; safer to align yourself with the producer du jour; safer to rhyme about tropes over truths. Nas’ catalog speaks for itself. Over 10 albums, the rapper has never been one to play it safe. Whether it’s rhyming about politics, hip hop, race, religion, other artists or personal relationships, Nas has consistently brought unparalleled and unprecedented levels of honesty to hip hop, a trait often overlooked in the genre. On Life is Good’s “Reach Out,” Nas rhymes, “So call me a genius/If you didn't/Now that I said it/I force you to think it.” For most artists, this would be arrogance bordering on hubris. For Nas, who’s remained vital and relevant for nearly 20 years, it’s just fact.
The Roots
The Roots
" One of the most prolific rap groups, the Roots were also among the most progressive acts in contemporary music, from their 1993 debut through their conceptual 2010s releases. Despite the seemingly archaic practice of functioning as a rap band with several instrumentalists -- from 2007 onward, their lineup even featured a sousaphonist -- they were ceaselessly creative, whether with their own material, or through their varied assortment of collaborations. They went platinum and gold with successive studio releases and won a handful of Grammy awards. After they gained a nightly nationwide audience through a close partnership with television host Jimmy Fallon, they continued to challenge listeners with works free of genre restrictions.

Organix
The Roots' focus on live music began back in 1987, when rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) and drummer ?uestlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) became friends at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. Playing around school, on the sidewalk, and later at talent shows (with ?uestlove's drum kit backing Black Thought's rhymes), the pair began to earn money and hooked up with bassist Hub (Leon Hubbard) and rapper Malik B. Moving from the street to local clubs, the Roots became a highly tipped underground act around Philadelphia and New York. When they were invited to represent stateside hip-hop at a concert in Germany, the Roots recorded an album to sell at shows; the result, Organix, was released in May 1993 on Remedy Records. With a music industry buzz surrounding their activities, the Roots entertained offers from several labels before signing with DGC that same year.

Do You Want More?!!!??!
The Roots' first major-label album, Do You Want More?!!!??!, was released in January 1995. Forsaking usual hip-hop protocol, the album was produced without any samples or previously recorded material. It peaked just outside the Top 100 of the Billboard 200 and made more tracks in alternative circles, partly due to the Roots playing the second stage at Lollapalooza that summer. The band also journeyed to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Two of the guests on the album who had toured around with the band, human beatbox Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze -- previously a performer with Grandmaster Flash and LL Cool J -- and Scott Storch (later replaced by Kamal Gray), became permanent members of the group.

Illadelph Halflife
Early in 1996, the Roots released "Clones," the trailer single for their second album. It hit the rap Top Five, and created a good buzz. That September, Illadelph Halflife appeared and made number 21 on the Billboard 200. Much like its predecessor, though, the Roots' second LP was a difficult listen. It made several very small concessions to mainstream rap -- the bandmembers sampled material that they had recorded earlier at jam sessions -- but failed to make a hit of their unique sound. Their third album, February 1999's Things Fall Apart, was easily their biggest critical and commercial success. Released on MCA, It went platinum, and "You Got Me" -- a collaboration with Erykah Badu -- peaked within the Top 40 and subsequently won a Grammy in the category of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

Phrenology
The long-awaited Phrenology was released in November 2002 amid rumors of the Roots losing interest in their label arrangements with MCA. In 2004, the band remedied the situation by creating the Okayplayer company. Named after their website, Okayplayer included a record label and a production/promotion company. The same year, the band held a series of jam sessions to give their next album a looser feel. The results were edited down to ten tracks and released as The Tipping Point, supported by Geffen, in July of 2004. A 2004 concert from Manhattan's Webster Hall with special guests like Mobb Deep, Young Gunz, and Jean Grae was released in February 2005 as The Roots Present in both CD and DVD formats. Two volumes of the rarities-collecting Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots appeared at the end of the year.

Game Theory
A subsequent deal with Def Jam fostered a series of riveting, often grim sets, beginning with Game Theory (August 2006) and Rising Down (April 2008). In 2009, the group expanded its reach as the exceptionally versatile house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The new gig didn't slow their recording schedule; in 2010 alone, they released the sharp How I Got Over (June), as well as Wake Up! (September), where they backed John Legend on covers of socially relevant soul classics like Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody" and Donny Hathaway's "Little Ghetto Boy." It earned Grammy awards for Best R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. As they remained with Fallon, the Roots worked with Miami soul legend Betty Wright on November 2011's Betty Wright: The Movie, and followed it the next month with their 13th studio album, Undun, an ambitious concept album whose main character dies in the first track and then follows his life backward.

Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs
Work on the group's next studio album was postponed as an unexpected duet album with Elvis Costello took priority for the group in 2013. Originally planned as a reinterpretation of Costello's songbook, the album Wise Up Ghost turned into a full-fledged collaboration and was greeted by positive reviews upon its September 2013 release on Blue Note. Within six months, the band joined Jimmy Fallon in his new late-night slot, the high-profile Tonight Show program. Another concept album, the brief but deep ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, was released in May 2014." - John Bush, AllMusicGuide
Method Man & Redman
Method Man & Redman
Duo consisting of Wu-Tang Clan MC Method Man and Def Squad MC Redman. Together they released their 1999 hip hop album Blackout!. They also starred in a movie called How High in 2001 and appeared in Def Jam Vendetta, a fighting video game. This duo even had their own television sitcom on Fox called Method & Red during the 2004-2005 season.
Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar is a Canadian R&B and soul singer-songwriter. After independently building an online following through the release of several popular EPs, Caesar released his debut album Freudian in August 2017.
Lizzo
Lizzo
Tossing her hair, flashing a confident smile, and “Feelin’ good as hell,” Lizzo wields the
kind of voice that’s right at home in soul, pop, hip-hop, R&B, rock, and gospel. The
vivacious and versatile vocalist’s impassioned delivery and dynamic range bonds the six
tracks on her critically acclaimed major label debut EP, Coconut Oil [Nice Life
Recording Company/Atlantic Records], achieving what she refers to as a “genre-less
style.”
“My voice becomes the genre,” she explains. “It’s the common denominator between
any track—whether we’ve got a West African backbeat, throwback soul, rap groove, or
dancehall production. The vocals are the thread that ties the whole story together. It
frees me up in a way.”
That voice also turned the gleefully unpredictable Coconut Oil into a quiet phenomenon
in late 2016. Lauded by Noisey, Entertainment Weekly, Paste, Rolling Stone, Spin,
Idolator, and more, the EP boasted the hit “Good As Hell,” which featured on the
Original Soundtrack to Barbershop: The Next Cut and churned out over 7.3 million
Spotify streams and 1.3 million YouTube views in less than six months. This collection
represents the culmination of a wild musical roller coaster ride thus far for Lizzo.
Born in Detroit, she grew up in Houston, TX. Between becoming an accomplished
flautist, she spent her formative years rapping throughout high school before joining a
progressive rock band at 19-years-old. Influenced by vocalists as diverse as Queen’s
Freddie Mercury, The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Beyoncé, and Aretha Franklin,
she smashed boundaries from the get-go—“Crooning in girl groups and screaming in
bands.”
Relocating to Minneapolis, MN, Lizzo went from co-founding local underground favorite
The Chalice to releasing her 2013 independent solo full-length Lizzobangers followed
by Big Grrrl Small World in 2015, which she recorded at Justin Vernon’s April Base
Studios in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. Along the way, she enamored audiences at Hangout
Music Festival, Boston Calling, SoundSet Music Festival, Bonnaroo, in Paris, and
beyond, while everybody from Bastille to Prince sought her out for guest appearances.
Working with the Purple One & 3rdeyegirl on Plectrumelectrum’s “Boytrouble” proved
life-changing...
“Prince made the transformation in me from a musician to an artist,” she goes on.
“When he kept everything I recorded, it gave me so much confidence going into studio
sessions with songwriters who have written some of my favorite music.”

Introduced to GRAMMY® Award-nominated super producer and Nice Life Recording
Company founder Ricky Reed [Meghan Trainor, Twenty One Pilots] in 2015, Lizzo
found a creative kindred spirit. During their first session, they cut what would become
Coconut Oil’s “Worship.”
“Ricky taught me that ‘Less is more’,” she says. “This new minimalism in my music
allows me to really evolve. We hit it off right away. I was so excited to share what he
and I had been working on. It was a huge leap from writing in a cabin and working with
only one producer to being in L.A. and writing with this amazing team. It’s like there
were two versions of Lizzo. I was going in a new direction. It was may more soulful.
There was more singing. My roots were coming out. Ricky and I didn’t want to wait any
longer, so we decided to put out Coconut Oil.”
On the title track, she struts through a soulful swell of organs, rolling from robust rhymes
into a soaring refrain. From the outset, our heroine sets the tone with the declaration, “I
remember back, back in school when I wasn’t cool. Shit, I still ain’t cool, but you better
make some room for me.”
“‘Coconut Oil’ means the most to me,” she continues. “Being a black woman, I wanted
to make music for a few reasons. The first is the visibility of being a woman who looks
like me in the mainstream pop space. There aren’t enough of what I like to call ‘the
others.’ Secondly, I wanted to speak to everyone who looked like me, felt like me, and
went through the same things I did. Musically, it encompasses my entire journey. It has
flute, I’m rapping, and there’s weird electro-pop guitar reminiscent of my rock ‘n’ roll
days. I knew this was something that could connect to black and brown girls and boys. It
perfectly represented the entire EP.”
The 2017 single “Scuse Me” slips from effusive trap-style bravado on the verse into a
sweeping and empowering refrain. “It turned into a moment of self-reflection versus just
bragging about yourself,” she remarks. “It’s saying, ‘I’m in my zone. I know I look good.’”
Ultimately, Lizzo shares that feeling with everyone who listens.
“When I discovered what my mission was, it enabled me to be who I wanted to be,” she
concludes. “If something I rapped, sang, or even the beat makes people want to dance
and forget everything in the moment, that’s the most amazing thing.”
Rapsody
Rapsody
Rapsody is a North Carolina emcee signed with super producer 9th Wonder for Jamla Records. With the release of seven projects in just three years and a critically acclaimed debut album in August of 2012, she is slowly establishing herself as a major player in today’s rap game.

In just a short time she has worked with some of the biggest legends and newcomers in the business, ranging from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Raekwon, Big Daddy Kane, Marsha Ambrosius, Mac Miller and Big K.R.I.T, to name a few.

Most recently, she was named one of the top female artist to know by both TIME Magazine and USA Today. She was also named one of the 20 Greatest Female Rappers of All Time by XXL. She most recently released a ten track EP titled Beauty and the Beast to much acclaim and she is currently working on her sophomore album.

In 2015, she was the only rap feature on Kendrick Lamar critically acclaimed album, To Pimp A Butterfly, on the song Complexion. The same year Dr. Dre announced on his Apple Beats1 radio show, The Pharmacy, that she was currently his favorite female emcee. A month later, she performed “Every Ghetto” with Talib Kweli on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Her style is polished and distinct, and her wordplay and flow are unparalleled in both delivery and execution. As she strives to contend with her Hip Hop predecessors, like Jay-Z and Mos Def, Rapsody is already undeniably one of the strongest and most promising forces in today’s Hip Hop culture.
Raheem DeVaughn
Raheem DeVaughn
Three-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Raheem DeVaughn, son of renowned
jazz musician Abdul Wadud, grew up in Maryland and cut his teeth performing in clubs
throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Originally signed to Jive Records, Raheem’s first
three albums—The Love Experience (2005), Love Behind the Melody (2008) which
reached #1 on the Top 10 R&B Hip-Hop Albums Chart and earned him two Grammy
nominations (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance "Woman" and Best R&B Song:
"Customer"), one BET Award, two BET J Virtual Awards for “Male Artist of the Year”
and “Album of the Year.” The Love & War MasterPeace (2010) which has been
deemed his most ambitious album to date and earned Raheem another Grammy
Nomination in 2011 for his entire body of work for Best R&B Album of the Year, and
resulted in chart-topping singles like “You,” “Customer” and the female-empowerment
anthem “Woman.”
Stepping out as an independent artist for his 2013 release, A Place Called Love Land,
Raheem remained consistent in his artistry and the same holds true with his last album
Love, Sex & Passion (2015), having reached Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at
#4, Billboard’s Independent Albums at #2 and Billboard 200 at #31.
Gearing up for his 6

th Studio album release this summer, Decade of a Love King (2018)
promises to take listeners to new heights and celebrate the sound that the last 10 years
have brought him to, creatively and sonically.
Bilal
Bilal
If there was one R&B artist for whom the neo-soul categorization seemed limiting, it was Philadelphia native Bilal. None of his recordings resembled the sycophantic worship of soul artists who thrived in the '60 and '70s, and it wasn't just because his voice -- classically trained, capable of singing opera in seven languages -- was so unique. While some inspirations were detectable, his recordings were wholly modern and became increasingly creative. His individuality led to being dropped from a major label, and he went several years without releasing any solo material. Through evangelism from his peers and word of mouth from his early fans, Bilal gained an insatiable following and was supported by sympathetic independent labels, where he was finally able to thrive creatively.

Bilal Sayeed Oliver came up in Germantown, a northwest neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A deep interest in jazz was fostered by his father, who took him to the city's clubs. Singing eventually became more than an interest. He attended New York's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he received voice training, as well as training in jazz and big-band arrangements.

Grenique's Black Butterfly, a 1999 release on Motown, was the first major album to feature Bilal's vocals; he contributed to three songs. The following year, he established a deep connection to hip-hop by appearing on Common's Like Water for Chocolate and Guru's third Jazzmatazz album. These recordings led him into the Soulquarians, a rotating collective of collaborators who included Common, Jay Dee (aka J Dilla), the Roots' Ahmir Thompson, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Raphael Saadiq within its ranks.

A turbulent solo deal with Interscope resulted in Bilal's debut album, 1st Born Second. An exemplary neo-soul release featuring collaborations with Mike City, Robert Glasper, and many of the Soulquarians, it was issued in July 2001 and reached the Top Ten of Billboard's R&B albums chart. One of its three singles, "Soul Sista," peaked at number 18 on the R&B singles chart, while "Fast Lane" -- co-written with Damu and Faulu Mtume (the sons of James Mtume and two of the singer's earliest supporters) -- narrowly missed the Top 40. At that point, the closest points of comparison were D'Angelo and Maxwell, yet Bilal was more dynamic than the former and less mannered than the latter. 1st Born Second carried an energy that neither one of those singers, as hot as they were at the time, could boast.

Bilal recorded a second album, Love for Sale, and handled much of the songwriting and production duties, while Jay Dee, Dr. Dre, and Nottz assisted in limited capacities. Promo vinyl was pressed and the album leaked online, prompting Bilal's label to put it on ice. Bilal was subsequently dropped, but his following increased significantly. He must have had some mixed feelings when he performed the material to appreciative crowds who knew the material -- off a technically unreleased album -- inside out.

Meanwhile, nine years passed without a commercially released follow-up to 1st Born Second. Bilal had been a featured artist on songs by Beyoncé, Musiq, Clipse, Sa-Ra, Jay-Z, and several others, including many of his fellow Soulquarians, but it wasn't until 2010 that he released his second proper album. Airtight's Revenge was released on the Plug Research label and saw Bilal working extensively with Steve McKie, along with Sa-Ra's Shafiq Husayn (Bilal had appeared on Husayn's own Plug Research album, Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka), Nottz, Conley "Tone" Whitfield, 88-Keys, and several studio musicians who gave the set a loose, band-like feel. Its "Little One" was nominated for a 2011 Grammy in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category. In February 2013, after appearing on the Roots' Grammy-nominated Undun and Robert Glasper Experiment's Grammy-winning Black Radio, Bilal released A Love Surreal on eOne. Appearances on a typically diverse range of albums by the likes of Otis Brown III, Kimbra, Kat Dahlia, Kendrick Lamar, and Slum Village led to In Another Life, an album-length collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge. Bilal's fifth commercially released set, it was issued in June 2015.
Phony PPL
Phony PPL
Phony Ppl either crash-landed from the past or the future: critics and fans can't decide. Since popping up on New York City's indie radar in 2011, the amorphous band has forged an entirely new sound built on vintage astral funk, colorful world music, and dusted-out hip-hop/R&B. Co-founded by writer/producer Elbee Thrie and keyboardist Aja Grant, the band flipped high school demo recordings into meditative self-released singles like "I Wish I Was A Chair" and "Statues," and tours with like-minded experimental elders Theophilus London, Erykah Badu and The Roots. Natives of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, the band has gained a global fanbase of early adopters including BBC6's Giles Peterson and Tokyo streetwear icon Skatething—not bad for a D.I.Y crew that produced and recorded much of their output from a Nostrand Avenue brownstone. Their latest effort, 2013's "53,000" was acclaimed by critics, fans and peers like Chance the Rapper and The Internet, and NPR's George Hahn called it "My favorite album right now… a rich, multi-layered and worthwhile listen." Currently prepping their proper debut album, the band maintains their youthful, imaginative sound while eyeing more mature production.
DJ Quicksilva
DJ Quicksilva
Venue Information:
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044
http://www.merriweathermusic.com/