Many Baltimore rappers have sold their mixtapes in Lexington Market, but MC/producer Von Vargas is almost certainly the first to write an album about the historic downtown market. World Famous Lexington Market takes an affectionate but never saccharine look at Vargas' hometown with tracks like "Maryland Crab" and "Hippodrome," and features a guest appearance by the Boy Blesst and production from Banga Bill. The album will be released on Oct. 26, but can be streamed now at lexingtonmarket.bandcamp.com.
Shaka Pitts has been organizing and hosting rap-battle competitions in Baltimore for years, but his latest venture, the Mid-Atlantic Battle Association, has been his most high-profile series of events yet. The next event, Cause of Death, takes place at 5 Seasons on Oct. 21, with nearly a dozen battles planned, including Ty Law vs. Killa Zeek and Bones vs. The Author. Go to pitfights.tv for info on tickets or to see videos of previous events.
These days, it's increasingly difficult to measure popularity in hip-hop by record sales or concert audiences-often the only metric that comes close to demonstrating the size of an artist's fanbase is social media stats. So who runs Baltimore hip-hop on Twitter? Right now, Los (@iamKingLos) rules the roost with 101,000 followers and Rye Rye (@RyeRye) is the runner-up with 44,000. Artists with over 20,000 followers: B. Rich (@brichbaltimore), TestMe (@testme410), and Caddy Da Don (@CaddyDaDon). And rappers over the 10,000 mark include Tony Austin (@TonyAustinMusic), Tha Profitt (@Tha_Profitt), Keys (@keys_theproblem), D. King (@DKing730), Bossman (@iamtravisdavon), Wordsmith (@Wordsmith), e-dubble (@EdubHipHop), DBoi DaDome (@DBoiDaDome), Legacy D. Don (@LegacyDDon), Mullyman (@Mullyman), and Comp (@compbangarang).