“Dance In The Dark” by Disrespectful Swag begins with a thirty-second timer ticking, before an unnamed character flatlines. The song’s introduction could represent the death of the old rap scene in Washington, D.C.. For too long, artists were ignored by record labels, forgotten by festivals and shrugged off by most larger media. But, for a number of years, that trend has begun to change. Artists with Grammy nominations, local festivals, and die-hard fan bases have brought new attention to the city, and the area.
As neon lights flash and fancy sports cars drive through downtown Manhattan, Disrespectful Swag pops out of the sunroof of a Bentley, ushering in a new era of D.C. rap. He represents a new D.C., and I don’t mean a city marred by gentrification. He represents a culmination of hard work from himself, a generation of artists previously forgotten. Now D.C. is in the limelight. “Everybody wanna know Swag cause I just jumped out the Wraith. Ain’t nobody wanna know Swag when I was locked up for the case.”
“Dance In The Dark” is captivating. The eerie trap beat (produced by Kami Make Hits) sounds unconnected from the music of today. The ominous church bells highlight a production style that’s rooted in the early-aughts rap sound of producers like Metro Boomin, Lex Luger and Southside. In the video for “Dance In The Dark”, New York City tourists at a crosswalk record Swag on their phones as he stands up through the top of a Bentley, arms outstretched in the rain. He chants “My rollie a stripper, it dance in the dark.”
Like his beat selection, Swag’s rapping sounds less like the often-copied rap stars Young Thug and Hoodrich Pablo. His style, while unique, is reminiscent of rappers like Meek Mill and Shy Glizzy. The energy of “Dance In The Dark” is similar to those artists as well. Swag’s rapping is hypnotic, aggressive and verbose. His lyrics are funny, but not playful. His boasts are wide, but believable, he shines through. The song is equal parts strip club banger and underdog anthem.
While Swag, who grew up on the border of D.C. and Maryland, may be new to some readers, but he is not new to the city. With the backing of Major Money Music, the transatlantic entertainment company who has a history with DC artists like Pinky and Shy Glizzy, Swag has been dropping captivating music for a few years. Songs like “Workman”, “Grindin”, “War Or Not”, “Strap Demons”, and “2 Strapped” have all buzzed, garnering hundreds of thousands of views and plays. Swag’s late 2018 EP B4 We Spin Ya Bend, was also produced by Kami and was well received.
Swag is a part of a new collective called GSO (GOAT SH*T ONLY), which includes buzzing rapper and JukeBOX DC favorite JG Riff (JG Whop has a cameo in “Dance In The Dark.”) They have the streets paying attention right now, and so should you.
Watch the new video below for “Dance In The Dark” above, and catch Swag alongside Da Baby and Yung Manny at the Fillmore, Silver Spring on April 5th.