This article originally appeared on Noisey US.
For all the internet’s done to break down geographical borders between sounds and styles, local scenes are still thriving in 2017. These sorts of vibrant, self-sufficient communities are where the best stuff always lies – a reminder that for every social climber spamming music blogs on Twitter, there’s a group of cool people making art for themselves and their friends, unreliant on outside approval to keep making cool shit.
Baltimore has always had a scene that’s insular in that way, full of people making cool weird stuff for the sake of it. Occasionally this music’s reverberations make it out of the city but even if it doesn’t, that never really seems like the point – which lends to a sort of strange clarity of vision to its best rappers, singers, and producers. It’s an expression largely untainted by the industry forces attendant to life in even bigger cities.
Hyperlocal scenes like this can be a bit hard to follow for outsiders, but fortunately for you Noisey’s own staff writer Lawrence Burney always has his ear to the ground of his hometown. In addition to his blogging duties, he also runs a zine called True Laurels – which focuses on the ways that the city’s art and music intersect with its communities – and just released its third issue, featuring interviews with artists like Baltimore’s Lor Choc and Peso Da Mafia, among others.
To celebrate the year in Baltimore music – and to provide an entry point for those who haven’t been following as closely – he put together Laurels Mix: Best Outta Baltimore 2K17, with help from his pal Mr. 14th of Big Vibe. Across 40 minutes, he moves from Lor Choc’s loopy ballads, to TT the Artist’s club-inflected “Real Bitch Problems,” Creek Boyz city anthem “With My Team,” as well as a few fiery club edits of local hits, among a whole lot of other treats. You’ll want to check it out below, right now.
0:15 LOR CHOC SPEAKS
0:27 LOR CHOC- FAST LIFE
2:36 YG TECK- NO COMPLAINING
4:47 PRESIDENT DAVO- PARDON ME
6:36 CHRISSY STAYHIGH & MC BLESSED- WHAT DO U WANT
9:26 TRU GWAP- D.W.T.F.
11:30 YOUNG MOOSE- KEEP DYING FEAT. DUMBWAY DIP & DUN DUN
14:19 TT THE ARTIST- REAL BITCH PROBLEMS
15:45 HAZMATCAZ- I DONT GIVE NO FUCK
18:08 YBS SKOLA- IM DA MAN NOW
19:38 PESO DA MAFIA SPEAKS
19:51 PESO DA MAFIA- MONEY MAN
22:24 JORDAN THE PRODUCER- PESO DA MAFIA MONEY MAN BALTIMORE CLUB REMIX
23:26 JORDAN THE PRODUCER- YBS SKOLA FOUND A WAY BALTIMORE CLUB REMIX
24:58 MR. 14TH- CREEK BOYZ WITH MY TEAM BALTIMORE CLUB EDIT
25:46 CREEK BOYZ- WITH MY TEAM
28:17 LOR SCOOTA- NO RAPPERS
29:42 YGG TAY- BAG
31:24 BANDHUNTA IZZY SPEAKS
31:37 BANDHUNTA IZZY & LOR JUGG- BACK AT IT
33:32 BUTCH DAWSON- PRACTICE
35:18 ITS TADOE- CHARGE UP
37:08 TBA TWEEZY- NO HOOK
38:49 ZIGGY ZIYA- BUT GO HEAD
True Laurels Issue 03 will be available online, keep an eye on their Instagram for updates.