Capital Hip-Hop Soul Fest Continues to Grow in Second Year

Ra | 7/30/2009, 5:45 a.m.

The second annual Capital Hip-Hop Soul Festival brought Washington area independent musicians together at the Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast on Sat., July 25. The festival attracted about 200 music lovers and featured hip-hop and R&B performances on two stages. One of the stages was located inside the Riverside Center, formerly the Crystal Lounge, the first club where soul legend and native Washingtonian Marvin Gaye performed.

Despite on-going construction on the premises, those who attended the festival enjoyed the vendors, children's arts and crafts and music performances by Head Roc and his band Godisheus, Godzilla, Substantial, Teisha Marie, and D.C. based hip-hop artist Bomani Armah.
Many view this year€s festival as a testament to hard work and dedication in establishing a strong hip-hop scene in the District.

€I think D.C. artists have never really thought that they were going to get record deals so they concentrated on making their art and performing at the venues here and grinding here,€ Armah said.

€They never really worried about doing pop hip-hop and that's led to a really good vibrant scene,€ he said.

Native Washingtonian Patrick Palmer attended the festival for the second time.

€I came out last year,€ Palmer said. €And, you can definitely see the growth in terms of performers and artists.€

Marcell Russell of Marcell & The Truth serenades the audience along with background vocalists, Kiss Brown and Crystal Brown, at the Capital Hip-Hop Soul Festival held at Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast on Sat., July, 25. Photo by Lafayette Barnes, IV
Although the festival received support from the D.C. hip-hop community, the absence of Deanwood residents was noticeable.

€On my way [to the festival], I saw people in the community and they were sitting on their porches listening,€ said Kyle Dargan.

Armah said that although he understands the difficulty in promoting an event like the Capital Hip-Hop Soul Fest, he hopes the festival continues to grow and the D.C. hip-hop scene continues to flourish.

€I don't think we've peaked at all,€ Armah said. €I honestly think D.C. is going to represent the next turning point in hop-hop music nationally,€ he said.

Baltimore native and international recording artist, Substantial, exhibits his lyrical prowess at the Capital Hip-Hop Soul Festival held at Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast on Sat., July, 25. Photo by Lafayette Barnes, IV