Chelly The MC rules, and here’s the proof

Hard-hitting hood anthems from one of The District’s leading ladies.

September 06, 2018

The FADER's weekly column What Rules highlights our office's new obsessions.

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Who are they?

Name: Chelly The MC
Style: Passionate raps over hard-hitting production about nobody being on her level, the type of guy she prefers, and her Northeast section of Washington D.C.
Location: Washington, D.C.

Why should I listen?

The DMV is actively producing one of the more exciting and wide-ranging underground scenes in rap right now. From the street anthems of an artist like Q Da Fool to the pop-leaning raps of Rico Nasty to Ciscero’s soulful bars, there’s likely an artist that can satisfy your specific rap needs in the area.

Chelly The MC hails from Washington DC’s Northeast quadrant and is crucial in 2018’s rap landscape because she’s another tragically-overlooked woman making convincing and compelling street music, filled with comprehensive stories of firsthand experiences she’s had. In energy, think of her as having City Girls-esque attitude with less care about luxury items. The oldest video on her Youtube channel is a 2013 song titled “Set Em Up” in which a teenage Chelly recounted a caper carried out with friends that ended with someone ratting them out. Her conviction and scene-setting was reminiscent of her rap foremother La Chat who, in her prime Three 6 Mafia days, wielded a similar skillset. In the past couple years, Chelly has carved out a signature look — bright red dreads — that helps distinguished her from peers. But, she’s also become much sharper at rapping.

Last year’s “Northeast Baby” is her biggest single to date. The song is an ode to her secion of The District and the hook’s melody is so infectious that you’d be hard-pressed not to have it looping in your head after playing it back a few times. This year, Chelly’s made it a point to drop singles and videos every couple months, each one continuing to display her love for talking her shit with urgency. January’s “In They Place” is another anthemic bop about knowing no one is on her level. “I put these bitches in they place, they ain’t on my leeeaaague,” she sings on the hook. Her most recent single, “Never Green” bangs equally hard and the line “You’s a friendly ass nigga and I like my niggas mean” from its hook has become a favorite one to tweet for DMV-area fans. If you’re ever in the need for gritty, confidence-boosting music, make sure Chelly is added to the list.

Where should I start?

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Chelly The MC rules, and here’s the proof