Every Sunday in this column, I’ll run through some arts and culture highlights from Baltimore and the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region — and, when it makes sense, some broader, nonlocal topics, too. Plus, every now and then I’ll provide some of my favorite tunes.
This week I cover Rico Nasty teasing a new video by Baltimore director Spudds McKenzie, social media comedy force Druski announcing a stand-up show in the city and controversial pastor Jamal Bryant considering getting involved in the cannabis business.
Druski is coming to Baltimore
If you’ve been connected to what’s happening in hip-hop culture for the past few years then you’ve likely seen a handful of hilarious social media moments from Drew “Druski” Desbordes. The 28-year-old gained visibility by creating skits on Instagram that poked fun at various aspects of Black life.
Where other comedians have fallen short of nailing depictions of their community devoid of overperformed stereotypes, Druski wins in the small details. Whether it’s making fun of guys who get jealous when their partners are the center of attention, women who find sly ways to reveal they’re dating celebrities or how many present-day rappers dangerously promote opioid consumption, he does it with convincing nuance.
The success of these skits have now amassed Druski millions of followers and music video appearances with the likes of celebrities like Drake. One of his more successful series is Coulda Been Records where, since 2019, he’s hosted Instagram Live talent shows in which he acts as a shiesty record label executive.
As an extension of the series, last week he announced his Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda tour, which presumably will be a mixture of a stand-up and talent show. The tour kicks off in March with multiple stops in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. After stops in Richmond and D.C., Druski’s third night will be at The Lyric in midtown Baltimore on Saturday, March 4.
Fun fact about Druski: Although he was raised in the Atlanta area, he was actually born in Baltimore. So it only feels right that we take some credit for his humor.
Rico Nasty samples a Missy Elliott classic on a new teased track
Rap star and Prince George’s County native, Rico Nasty, recently teased a new track titled “Freak” produced by frequent collaborator WhoisMike. The song samples iconic Portsmouth, Virginia, rapper and producer Missy Elliott’s Grammy-winning 2001 hit “Get Ur Freak On” and like many of Rico’s best-known tracks, it contains the type of energy needed to let off some steam.
It’s not clear if this is leading up to a new album, but it wouldn’t be jumping the gun to assume that something’s coming. And even though the video is just a teaser, it was directed by Baltimore’s own Spudds McKenzie. A very Maryland affair.
Jamal Bryant is thinking about stepping into the weed business
Atlanta-via-Baltimore celebrity pastor Bryant has been the center of many controversies in his hometown. And during the 2010s, he gained national stature by positioning himself as a go-to voice on events surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and others. He recently sent a shockwave through the social media pocket of Black churchgoers when he appeared on the YouTube-based podcast, the ”Cool Soror,” with host Rashan Ali.
The episode is titled “Holy Smoke,” and from the second it starts, Bryant shares that he’s been contemplating the benefits of entering the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry. “I’m looking for people who smell like weed,” he said. “I’ll be able to bring in Black males, they’re able to do it legally, I’m teaching them farming, I’m helping them to enhance the ecosystem.”
On what he claims to be the biggest acreage that any Black church in the country owns, it seems like a practical business pursuit. But the prospects have pissed off quite a few churchgoers online who believe that Bryant is straying too far from Christian values.
At the very least, it’s an interesting proposition. The only problem with it is that, as of right now, it is illegal to possess, distribute, or grow marijuana in the state of Georgia. So, there’s a huge roadblock ahead of Bryant right now.