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The Washington Slizzards Have the Smoothest Song You'll Hear All Week

Ras Nebyu, Haile Supreme and Corbin Butler connect for "Don't Forget."

We've been following the output of the D.C.-based rapper Ras Nebyu since his addictive Ethiopian cover of "Controlla."

The Ethiopian-American rapper now comes through with the visual for "Don't Forget," a track built on one of the smoothest bass lines we've heard in a long while.

"Don't Forget" sees Nebyu connecting with two other buzzing D.C. artists, rapper/producer Corbin Butler and Haile Supreme (of Congo Sanchez). All three are members of the Washington Slizzards, a creative collective of artists coming out of an increasingly flourishing D.C. rap scene.


"'Don't Forget' is a song about remembering all the good & bad things you have endured in life with as little regret as possible because all these things make you who you are in the present moment," Ras Nebyu tells us. The track, which was produced by Arckitech, was featured in Nebyu's latest project, Slizzatrism.

The single's music video, created by Slizzica & Kubi, follows the three artists as they make their way around the city's U St. area—spot classic D.C. establishments like Ben's Chili Bowl in the background.

Get into the music video for "Don't Forget," premiering here today, below.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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