To all of my fellow residents of the DC Metro Area (this includes the city AND its surrounding areas, PG, Montgomery, Arlington and Alexandria, etc): what is DMV? No, seriously…what is it? Here is my definition. As far as the rest of us, I can say that I have asked at least 10 people this question and I have gotten 10 different answers. Among them:

1) It’s DC, MD & VA…that simple. That means if you live in ATKINS VIRGINIA (go ahead and look that up) you are still part of the culture here.

2) It’s DC, Northern VA and PG and Mo. County (or some variation of this): this is what a lot of folks have said, basically keeping the boundaries true to form but replacing it with the new term. By that, it’s harder to dispute but in the end the term is still confusing because of number 1 and some seemingly saying…

3) It’s number 2 PLUS Baltimore: look, before anyone thinks this is some sort of diss, it isn’t. I love the city of Baltimore as well as the surrounding area, and the talent there is no different from here (and as far as being put on the map in Hip-Hop, they seemed ahead of the game). But this is the thing–they have their own identity as a city just as we do, and it’s a great thing when both cities come together. But we are not one entity, so when I hear one group of people break down the previous meaning, it ultimately gets negated every time a Baltimore or Richmond artist reps the DMV. Do you see where shit is getting confusing? No?

Read more after the jump.

Who is from where in this above video?

Another thing, actually let’s make it two:

1) I’ve gotten a lot of people thinking by me hating this term that it means I’m not feeling anything outside of the city lines as a part of the culture. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Wale IS DC. This is what I feel. He grew up in a place that allowed him to become just as much a part of the city and it’s characteristics as I did, plain and simple, but when we said he was doing it for DC, people shunned him because he lived in a Maryland suburb? Outkast are from East Point, GA. That doesn’t count? How about UGK? They’re from Port Arthur, TX. These are two examples of artists who both recognize where they’re from as well as the fact that they are a major part of the major cities they also represent. To add to this, anybody that learned from DC history is probably aware of the migration of lower and middle-income residents into the suburbs. You want to prove to me that you support our own? Let Wale say he’s from DC without so much as a word about it unless it’s of support. And let’s turn the topic around for a second…

2) We had an interview with Black Cobain, and I’m not sure if I had a true understanding of one part of the interview–he basically talked about how DMV is cool, but he’s here to rep VA. While he may not have meant it in this manner, it did bring up another part of the issue which bothers me a little bit…some people who are without a doubt a part of our city’s culture only identify with the area they are from exclusively (the Commonwealth state is an example) with no connection to DC whatsoever. To better explain my stance on that, I’m from Uptown (Hilltop to be specific). I associate with that first, but I recognize that it’s still a part of the area as a whole. Different neighborhoods in the area do have their characteristics (slang, style, whatever) but you put us all side by side, it’s very clear that we all come from the same place. Dipset rep Harlem but you know they’re a part of New York. My point is that I hope anyone that may have that mindset can see that although your “neighborhood” is in one of the two states, everything about you screams “District of Columbia” whether you want to agree with that or not. Don’t believe me? Go to [insert HBCU here] and see how much you stand out from the rest of the folks from the DC area.

At the end of the day, I know to most people reading this, I’m like the old guy that sits on the porch yelling at kids in the street all day. I may be…and I do understand that time brings change. But I’m afraid that we may eventually lose our identity. When I grew up, it seemed like we were damn near comparable to the kids who grew up in Staten Island (minus Wu-Tang): fairly isolated from the rest of the country and therefore one of the most unique. We have lost some of that identity, perhaps due to folks now falling in line with what they see on TV or hear on the radio more than previous generations ever did. Maybe the ones that came before me can correct me by saying that my generation did the same thing. Whatever the case, to blur us in with the areas that surround us so broadly is a bad idea to me that could potentially cause everything that was unique only to the Washington, DC metropolitan area to disappear.
The power of words, my friends. The power of words…
::steps off soapbox::

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