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Yo! Baltimore Raps

May 9, 2007

It’s well established that clips of kids dancing to Baltimore club are among the many, many reasons that Noise is grateful for the glorious copyright-infringement warehouse that is YouTube. But what about Baltimore hip-hop? Possibly the best local music gem we’ve seen on the site to date–a recording of Backland’s championship run on BET’s 106 and Park and all the hysterical, almost explicit punchlines we still can’t believe he got away with on live TV–were cruelly taken down by Viacom a while back. But a handful of recently posted videos by local MCs reminded us that there’s plenty of local hip-hop still lurking on the site. And with cable TV video channels’ playlists shrinking so rapidly that even superstars like 50 Cent are uploading clips straight to YouTube, the playing field for grainy, low-budget rap videos has never been morea level.

First, the new stuff:

Diablo‘s “Smell It” is practically one of the rapper’s only songs that wasn’t featured on season four of The Wire, but it’s one of the standouts from Darkroom Productions’ Hamsterdam Vol. 2.

Mullyman might be the most prolific video-making MC in the city, having previously shot multiple videos for his debut album Mullymania, including the Freeway collaboration “Buck On Em.” But his latest video, the marching band-themed “Green Grass, Shady Trees,” is for a song that has only appeared on mixtapes.

PenDragon’s “Baltimore Dreamin’” is a surprisingly slick looking video from an MC whose talent, for the time being, is bigger than his profile on the local scene.

And now some bonus beats:

Comp was famously featured on the Ghostface single “Run” during his tenure as a Def Jam artist, only to have his verse taken off the song when it was released on 2004′s The Pretty Toney Album. But the song’s video, in which he appears alongside Ghost and Jadakiss, is preserved for posterity on the good ol’ internet.

Prior to YouTube, the haven for cheaply shot rap videos was BET Uncut, which was cancelled in 2006. But in its last year on the air, the show regularly featured two stripper-filled videos by B-more’s legendary abstract MC, Labtekwon, including “King Very Vicious.” Wait for that random shot of Mondawmin Mall.

Remarkably, perhaps the only Baltimore rap video that ever made it onto BET’s daytime rotation, B. Rich’s 2002 hit “Whoa Now,” doesn’t appear to be anywhere on YouTube. However, a video we didn’t even know existed for “Grown Man,” off of last year’s Born Rich, is.

Before and after he got signed, Bossman talked several times about shooting a video for his breakout hit “Oh,” which never surfaced. But the next best thing is a clip from a DVD where he lip-syncs the song in a Baltimore alley.

And finally, what’s YouTube without a fan-made montage? This one, “Baltimore Talent,” features photos of Bossman, Comp, D.O.G., Huli Shallone, ShellBe RAW, Paula Campbell, and Tim Trees set to some of their best known tracks.