Virginia may sometimes get overshadowed by bigger Hip-Hop locales on the East Coast and down in the Dirty South, but make no mistake, the VA (and the DMV as a whole) has a rich, storied Hip-Hop legacy that should never be dismissed.
From The Clipse to Timbaland, here are the Virginia Hip-Hop moments we all should be thankful for.
Lady Of Rage lands on Death Row
The First Lady of Death Row is a product of Farmville, VA, and Rage managed to establish herself as a fierce hardcore lyricist on a label full of West Coast superstars. Even beyond her 1994 hit "Afro Puffs," The Lady Of Rage has some of the label's best moments on wax.
Teddy Riley was a Harlem transplant when he helped sow the seeds for Virginia's burgeoning urban music sound. And he tapped a teenage Pharrell Williams to cowrite this megahit from 1992. "Zooma-zoom-zoom-zoom" indeed.
(Mad) Skillz "The Nod Factor"
When the world was still figuring out what to make of the DMV's rap scene, a brother out of VA managed to break through and land on "Yo! MTV Raps" and "Rap City." Skillz helped pave the way for a whole scene. Mad props, brotha.
The brilliance of Nottz
He's one of the most underrated producers of all time. Virginia's own Nottz has laid sonic backdrops down for some of everybody; from Snoop Dogg to Ghostface. And he does it all while maintaining a sense of relative anonymity. Keep 'em wanting more. Keep 'em guessing.
The Clipse keep coke rap poppin'.
Pusha T and (No) Malice showed up armed with some of the Neptunes most minimalist production and a boatload of cocaine stories. The brothers helped cement VA's place in the rap game and proved that the Neptunes sound could be as gritty as it was glossy.
Timbaland's sound reshapes the late 1990s.
Timbo's sound became all the rage after he and Missy broke through big with R&B successes for Aaliyah and Ginuwine. On rap records, Timbaland got to showcase his uniquely percussive approach, and pretty soon every Hip-Hop star was tapping him for platinum singles.
The Neptunes take over the radio.
As hugely successful as Timbaland was, there was just something uber-dominant about the way Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo took over the airwaves at the dawn of Y2K. Pop radio? They were there. R&B radio? They were there, too. And rap radio? Yep. You could not escape "The Neptunes sound."
Pharrell, Pharrell, Pharrell
Both alongside his work in both The Neptunes and N.E.R.D and independently of it, Pharrell become a pop music savant for a generation. He has seemingly worked with everyone, always finds ways of masterfully reinventing his distinctively shiny sound, and somehow hasn't aged a day since, like, 2004.
Supa Dupa Fly
She'd already written and produced hits. She'd already been a part of an amazing collective of talent. And she'd already appeared on a handful of radio smashes throughout 1996. But when Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott dropped her debut, it was clear that a star had arrived. She would go on to reshape rap, R&B and pop in her own image. We still don't deserve Missy.