Gig Seeker Pro


Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States
Band Hip Hop R&B




"Victory Lap"

The question has never been “is Ra the MC a talented rapper?” In fact, if you were to do a chart of the DC area’s finest lyricists, Ra the MC would probably be on top of the heap. She’s been nominated for local MTV awards and featured on the network and praised by New York mixtape DJs. She’s most notably compared to MC Lyte, the New York rapper who was a trailblazer into the mainstream for female performers, taking the baton from the likes of Roxanne Shante and leading hop hop into the bright lights of big time commercialism. Eschewing the need for V-neck and low cut designer couture and teeny bopper hip hop with a sexual edge, it’s those like Jean Grae and the aforementioned subject of this review who take up the baton for real girls who do real things. On latest mixtape Victory Lap, Ra continues to distinguish herself, and in moving towards a more mainstream concept of herself as an emcee also moves closer to mirroring the paths of those who preceded her path to excellence. In facing up and meeting that precedent, Ra the MC, more than ever, is prepared for her time in the spotlight.

As with any female emcee not named Lil Kim, Foxy Brown or Nicki Minaj, there’s a perilous double edged sword to deal with in releasing any material. If you keep it too lyrically driven, you lose the essence of the artist as a female, and if you keep it too centered on the stereotypical issues of the average female, then in Ra often wearing 10 Deep fitteds and Bathing Ape sneakers, the material has the possibility to coming off as inauthentic. It is a credit to Oboy Ali, AB the Pro and the crew at Studio 43 that Ra’s release attempts to err towards that happy medium to continue her artistic push towards a modicum of mainstream success.

Tracks like “Breaking Point” and flip of Katy Perry’s “Ur So Gay” are excellent bridges between discussing issues that most women deal with in relationships and the intellect and witticism in wordplay that are Ra’s strong suits. As well, Ra’s other strength is in being at her core a classic east coast boom bap emcee at heart. Ra flowing over Nas’ “Hate Me Now,” Biggie’s “Sky’s the Limit,” as well as the Roots produced Erykah Badu single “Window Seat (with producer AB the Pro)” and her flow on mixtape sponsor All Hip Hop Radio’s Radio program showing the emcee in clearly her most preferred element.

Ra as an emcee is still content though to mirror the cadences of emcees who have flowed on tracks that she is rapping on, or are similar in style to a particular production. “Breaking Point” is great, but in featuring the same kickdrum with piano sample as Kanye’s “Everything I Am,” her flow mirrors the Louis Vuitton Don’s. “Hate Me Now” and “Sky’s the Limit” sound like Nas and Biggie knockoffs, and Ra is certainly more talented as a rapper than to be held back by an issue of cadence. In mirroring hip hop legends but having your own excellent style, it’s absolutely a first world problem for the dominant local rapper.

In featuring a plethora of local talent, from Kingpen Slim on “Do My Own Thing, to posse cut and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” sampling “4 the Belt” with XO, AB (again as an emcee) and now ex Studio 43 rhymer Gordo Brega, as well as Pro’verb on “Gettin’ to It,” and a shout out from Usama Young of the New Orleans Saints, amongst a plethora of solid tracks and synth heavy R & B lite filler which isn’t the best articulation of Ra’s talents. This is a good release with something for everyone, and has just enough singles to continue Ra’s buzz as she has gone from being a Trending Topic only two mixtapes ago to having the Heart of a Champion to taking a Victory Lap as a noted underground performer. Just like the Bathing Apes she so notably wears, with a continued push, there is a star turn in her future. – Marcus Dowling - Marcus Dowling

"3 Female MCs you need to know"

I’ve been heavy into Queen Latifah, early EVE, Rah Digga, and MC Lyte lately because I miss that female MC in the mainstream but there are a couple females spitting better than some of the guys out right now. And since if you’re name isn’t Nicki Minaj the chance of you being a female rapper and getting on the radio is slim to none, I figured I’d highlight a couple ladies you need to have in rotation in your mp3 and forget what’s on the radio for a couple minutes. Get to know these 3 female MC’s on the come up.

#3 – Signed to industry vet Kenny Burns’ Studio 43 label, the up and coming MC has already earned a VMA nomination. She’s too dope just to listen to one track. Go HERE to download her entire debut album Heart of a Champion. - BET

"Album review: RA the MC, "Victory Lap""

It’s hard out there for a femcee, especially one without a shtick.

District-based rapper RA the MC doesn’t have the outsize, mafiosa-in-leopard-print persona of a Lil’ Kim or the monster-in-a-pink-wig rep of reigning queen Nicki Minaj. On her latest and greatest offering, “Victory Lap,” RA (born Rashea Faulkner) seems alarmingly normal. She’s amiable, life-size.

Even her beats are human scale. There’s nothing massive but little that’s dull, even though “Victory Lap” is a mix tape, which means that, by its very nature, it’s scattered, rambling and liberally padded. Its 16 tracks pinball between answering-machine messages (New Orleans Saint Usama Young says hi!), alternate mixes and a probably unnecessary radio freestyle.

But get past the filler and there’s the gentle, rapped-sung, should-be hit “Breaking Point” and a sad, sweet redo of Katy Perry’s “Ur So Gay” that converts Perry’s indictment of a metrosexual beau into a paean to domesticity.

On the rare tracks she tackles on her own, RA is flexible and smart, making up in dexterity what she lacks in charisma. Unlike Minaj, she doesn’t want to devour the world; she just wants to find a guy who will take her to brunch on Sunday. But “Victory Lap” bulges with such a showy collection of DMV all-stars – including Gordo Brega, Kingpen Slim and X.O. (who shows up on the ridiculously good exercise in triumphalism “4 the Belt”) – that RA’s role is occasionally little more than decorative.

The exception: The Nas takeoff “Hate Me Now,” the millionth rap track to use boxing imagery as a metaphor for hip-hop gamesmanship. “I am the future/Fighting these snakes like Medusa,” RA declares. “You underestimate/You’ll be the worst off.” Only a fool would disbelieve her.

Recommended tracks: “4 the Belt,” “Breaking Point,” “Hate Me Now - Allison Stewart

"Reviewed: Victory Lap by RAtheMC"

In August, Largo native RAtheMC released her energetic Heart Of A Champion album to significant local fanfare.

Not long before dropping the project, the fashionable lyricist inked a deal with the D.C.-based Studio43 imprint, whose roster boasts names like X.O., Gordo Brega, and AB the Producer. (Once upon a time, Wale was a Studio43 MC before signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label.)

Then, one day before Champion was released, RA was stamped on a BET documentary as one of the music industry’s great up-and-coming female MCs—not bad for someone who dropped out of New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University more than a year ago to rhyme full time.

“It’s about following your dreams, and being you,” RA says profoundly at the beginning of “Victory Lap,” the triumphant and autobiographical title track of her new mixtape, released earlier this month. Throughout the efficient 16-song recording, which includes borrowed beats from Erykah Badu, Nas, and Biggie, she trots the bases once more, gliding confidently over a spacey soundtrack while asserting a lyrical aptitude strong enough to topple the testosterone of her male-dominated business.

Above all, Victory Lap actually sounds like a mixtape, with quick song transitions and an abundance of guest appearances on its second half. RA mostly went at it alone on Champion, aside from the occasional assistance from X.O. (“So Gone So Long”), AB The Producer (“Good Friends”), and Ihsan Bilal (“Pricey”). Those three artists resurface on RA’s new project—X.O. spits a memorable verse about struggle on “4 The Belt,” AB lends his production and vocal talents to six of the songs, and Ihsan steals the show on “Told You So.”

On the mixtape, RA and company don’t shoot for an album’s cohesion, assembling a project that seems more focused on fun than fundamentals. Take “Ur So Gay,” for instance, in which RA adds her own singing and rapping vocals to the Katy Perry hit, resulting in an enjoyable pop duet with hip-hop aspirations. On “Hate Me Now,” the MC uses the notable Nas instrumental to fluidly discuss royalty and loyalty within the D.C. region. “Hey, I’m no underdog, and that’s first off/You underestimate, you’ll be the worst off,” RA rhymes over the Track Masters’ beat.

With Victory Lap, RA showcases an almost inexplicable lyrical growth from her last project, which is somewhat rare for mixtapes. Nowadays, MCs rely too heavily on those compilations to increase their marketability, largely saturating the industry with forgettable music. If anything, Heart Of A Champion kept RA within a box in which she didn’t quite fit. On this latest mixtape, though, there’s a sense of freedom that punctuates the accolades, proving that RA’s current place among D.C.’s elite is very much deserved. - Marcus J. Moore, Washington City Paper

"Ra the Mc's 'Victory Lap': a review"

Lyrics: Ra did what every artist should do from project to project: GROW. Lyrically, her delivery has gotten to be just a little more fluid which makes each flow sound that much more integral to the sound of the track overall. Her punchlines have gotten a little slicker and set up is cleaner. Ra always makes sure that her content is varied, her points are well stated, and ensures thematic integrity throughout each song and the project overall.

Track Production: Just as on ‘Heart of a Champion’, the musical chemistry between Ra and AB the Pro is absolute magic. AB has a good ear for what works with Ra. The title track ‘Victory Lap’ featured production by Soulful. Though i do feel that for the title track of the project, they could’ve gone with a ‘bigger’ sound, as that is not the most memorable song on the project. Honorable mention also goes out to Flight Boy for production on ‘Top of the World’.

Overall Production: Overall, the songs and collaborations were well chosen. The mix of traditional mixtape style tracks along with tracks based on fresh production and A,B,A song format works well, and makes it easier to listen from start to finish.The vocals on Victory Lap were a little dirty, although it could’ve been a desired effect that they used to give it a “grittier” sound. While the mix on the project was not the best I’d ever heard and a little uneven in a few places, it was solid for the most part.

Final Analysis: Ra the MC is a textbook example of what an artist should strive to achieve with each project: good music that keeps the audience feeling connected to you and exhibits growth in your artistry. ‘ Breaking Point’, ‘4 The Belt’ (for which the video released the same day as the project), and ‘Do My Own Thing’ are definitely my top 3 picks on this project. Honorable mention goes to her reworking of Katy Perry’s ‘Ur so Gay’. Four out of five stars. - Lee Anderson


Grace Jones Experiment (2012)
Victory Lap LP (2011)
Heart of a Champion LP (2010)
Tending Topics LP (2009)
A Mixtape About Something…I think LP (2008)



International Taste makers is the only title one could use to brand Hip-Hop fashionista RAtheMC. From performing at Hammerstein Auditorium in Central London to blazing the 2009 MTV VMA pre-show stage in Washington D.C, RAtheMC embodies the tasteful, positively powerful charisma that is an International Taste maker. RAtheMC has been a driving force in the D.M.V. (DC, MD, and VA) music scene over the last four years and a pioneer, for “hipster fashionista female rappers.” RAtheMC is currently working on her forthcoming sophomore album, which will be her first project since her departure from Studio43, a boutique record label headed by music industry veteran Kenny Burns. She is preparing to enter this creative and semi familiar career changing moment, with her best work to date, in full anticipation of her long waited desire of mainstream success. Nearly a decade ago Washington, DC Rapper/Singer RAtheMC, began her undefeatable Journey into music.

After completing five successful mixtapes, her debut album (Heart of a Champion,) earning a 2009 MTV VMA Breakout Artist Nomination and sharing Tour Dates alongside mainstream recording artist Wale, The Clipse and Hip-Hop Pioneers Kurtis Blow and Afrika Bambaataa, the journey for RAtheMC seems to be at a monumental point. Gearing up to release her sophomore album “The Grace Jones Experiment,” will shine light on the highs and lows of her journey and the woman that has evolved from it. Being a Female Rapper, in this male dominated musical genre RAtheMC has managed to go up against some of the most notable male rap competitors while respectfully paving her own lane. On the outside she is seen as a “Fashion Forward,” beautiful young woman but on the inside lays a highly intelligent, social conscious young woman on a mission. That mission being to influence the youth and speak for and to the voiceless. Wanting to inspire and uplift women through music similar to the way she was inspired by Hip Hop Legend Lauryn Hill; “When Lauryn left the game there was a void. There’s a lot of women who want to be inspired, [who] love music want to get through things that they’re going through in everyday life, in relationships, in family. I want to speak to that crowd, especially to young women.” Influencing young women is just one of her soon to be accomplished goals but certainly isn’t the only one. Upon the completion of her “Heart of a Champion” debut, which received amazing reviews and impressive download numbers, also landing her a feature on MTV2’ Sucker Free Countdown and BET’s “My Mic Sounds Nice: Women in hip hop. The journey for RAtheMC has had a rye of moments from being celebratory, disappointing, and conquering, but RAtheMC seems to be learning and loving every moment of it