When it comes to the DMV area there’s a plethora of rising talent spawning from the nation’s capitol. In the 10 summers since Wale made his debut, the area’s rap scene has flourished with even more promise as artists like GoldLink, Jay IDK and Chaz French have grown to prominence.
French, like many of his counterparts, has connected with listeners far beyond the Beltway since his 2014 debut mixtape, Happy Belated. With the arrival of his most recent single “Way Out,” the District-born rapper continues to put on for his city and spread his message of perseverance and unity. The Motown Records signee recently ripped the stage at Rolling Loud and sat down with Billboard after his set to talk about all things D.C., as well as about his forthcoming album.
What has your experience at Rolling Loud been like so far?
Great. I’ve been here for like seven hours and it’s been lit as f–k. I crowd surfed and that s–t was weird. It was beautiful. It was good. I like to see the culture just go.
On your newest single “Way Out,” the cover art features two Chesapeake Bay blue crabs snipping at each other. What’s the story behind that?
We from D.C. So, that’s what people perceive us as… like, just crabs in a barrel mentality. But, really I’m just showing people, like, ‘Let’s get up out this mentality.’ Because that’s not who we are. We’re in a position where we are the crabs coming up out the f–king barrel. You would think the crab was pulling the other crab down. But, in my mind it was like the other crab was pulling the other one up. You see, f–ked up your mind right?
Do you feel D.C. is becoming more of a well-known hub for promising talent, similar to Atlanta?
We not like anybody. We’re not trying to be like anybody. We’re just trying to be that era. This is the time for the DMV area to make our mark and put our stamp on the music industry. We’ve always been dope. We’ve always had different sounds. We’ve always been next level. But, now we’re in position where we’re not even concerned with everything around us.
What district artists do you see yourself collabing with in the future?
‘Link, Jay IDK, Big Flock, Nappy Nappa and Internet. Just everybody. We’re in a position where we’re not even concerned with everything going on around us. We’re concerned with taking it to the next level.”
You just inked a major record deal with Capitol/Motown Records. How soon can fans expect your debut album?
Soon. What month rhymes with ‘soon’?