Some of Baltimore and the DMV’s dopest Creatives
When my business partner Brandon Lackey and I started Label Necklace, this is what we had in mind: community building and artist empowerment. Baltimore (as well as the DMV) has an abundance of dope creatives but could use more artist-friendly events designed to exchange invaluable info and connect dope people, so they could do more dope shit. With every event, we want those involved to leave with something explicitly tangible as well: this time it was professional photos, press, and cool merch.
Barley Moon Photography (a fellow educator and exceedingly talented Baltimore area-based photographer named Liz Pappas) was at the center of this. Her personable nature and love for music shined throughout the night. Her concert photos initially caught my eye, but I was not surprised by the outcome of this shoot. Everyone felt comfortable with her, and it shows in the night’s results. Having an eye is one thing, but making people feel at home enough to share their light is another.
While I enjoyed making acquaintance with new faces, I knew most of the creatives converging on Maryland Art Place that evening. I hadn’t seen some of them since before the pandemic, and many of us spoke of the time warp we felt ourselves emerging from, all of us recalibrating to a new normal that still feels anything but. I guess as artists, we’re as “used to” such imperfections and irregularity as anyone, but not having the kinship to lean on as a true north can make it all the more arduous. For the first time in a long time, it felt like we were back that night, and I want you to see what we saw:
Imani Wright and ThatBastardGroovy
Imani is a singer, songwriter, creative director, entrepreneur, and journalist (plus more that I’m forgetting) from Baltimore. In addition to being a mega-talent, he’s a TED Speaker, a recipient of the Johns Hopkins Performance Award, and 1/3 of Tangible Reality Creative Services.
ThatBastardGroovy is a Creative Director/Artist/Videographer born and raised in Baltimore. Groovy does work with local creatives in the Baltimore area as well as notable institutions throughout the city and county; he is another 1/3 of Tangible Reality Creative Services.
Born Just Right
is a producer and singer. A protégé to Ryan Leslie, BJR presents a distinct tempo and energy through his production. His musical style has been defined as polyhedric, with his R&B being identified by many influences from other genres, mainly hip-hop and pop music. His lyrics are centered predominantly on themes of open-mindedness, love, confidence, regret, desire, and conflict.
is a therapist for children with special needs, and several high schools and colleges are using his music to educate. Marc recently presented a panel about the benefits of music in the classroom at The DC Music Summit and is ending 2022 strong with new music and performances at Enfant Prodige’s fashion show on 11/20, and a show with DMV Music Alliance at SongByrd Music House on 12/8.
Vito Cash is a native West Baltimorean who is passionate about music and education. Vito is a multifaceted artist who raps, produces, and plays the Saxophone!
has been going with the flow harder than usual lately and his music fully reflects this. Laid back and vibey are the best way to describe his most recent releases “Lullaby” and “Call Back”, as they are nearly impossible to play in the car without putting the windows down.
A Baltimore-born hip-hop artist, Andrew “AWALL” Cornwall uses his lyrics and the power of rhyming to create positive impact and healing throughout the world. With influences such as Mac Miller, Three 6 Mafia, and Lil Peep; he has traveled the mid-Atlantic performing from New York to Philly to Maryland.
Two-time war veteran, first-rate father, and distinguished connoisseur of cool, DJ Louie Flaco established his event DJ company, Dapper Appetite Entertainment in 2011 in the world’s finest city, Baltimore, MD. Not one for fooling around, DJ Louie Flaco has curated a stable of the best live-event performers money can buy and makes them available to the DMV’s most discerning clientele.
a recording artist from Jessup, MD, has been making waves for a while now. His versatility, knowledge of the game, and how he conveys his emotions through music make him a fan favorite. Lookout for his new album “Lone Wolf” coming soon.
A combination of Disney’s Fantasia (1940), Richard Smallwood’s epic gospel compositions, and RUN D.M.C’s King of Rock album were among the first ingredients to SoProper’s love of music. Following that recipe,
her approach to production is to achieve a balance of her favorite flavors and what the listeners have a taste for. SoProper’s
unique style combines elements of hip-hop, EDM, classical, alt-rock, trap, r&b, jazz, and industrial because when she cooks up, she brings the whole grocery store to the kitchen.
Nines is a producer and DJ who not only puts out dope music on a regular business but strives to better his music community as a whole. With recent drops alongside the likes of Mighty Mark (a remix of “The Floor is Ours”) and a new single with collaborator Heath Allen (“Start a Fire”), look for Nines
to continue to run on eleven.
TreNod is a Hip hop Artist from Baltimore. His music focuses on his life and experiences. TreNod
is currently working on new music for 2023.
Brandon Lackey is the owner of and head engineer at Lineup Room Recording Studios . Both former Baltimore city educators, we co-own Label Necklace and are both Program Directors for the award-winning nonprofit music education program Beats Not Bullets. Check out our work wherever you stream/download, grab some of the merch seen throughout this piece and keep up with our events residing at the intersection of Hip Hop and Education.
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