The Shaw neighborhood in Washington, DC has been one of the undisputed centres of African American culture for more than a century, with such landmarks as The Howard Theater, the African American Civil War Museum, Cardozo Playground, Howard University synonymous with the aspirations of Black America. It’s a perfect location for an arts collective, and it’s here that XIIDC that has its headquarters.
While not all the artists in the XIIDC crew live in Shaw, they are nonetheless the embodiment of the spirit of the area. A group of upwardly mobile, outwardly engaged, conscious, creative, and ambitious folk, determined to make an impression on those outside. They are a group who, under the banner of XIIDC, are outstanding producers, rappers, and instrumentalists, and they’ve been shaking up DC with their powerful brand of hip-hop. Their latest release, ‘3 Ninjas’, is an inspired collaboration, featuring dynamic, incisive rhymes from Typhanie & Co., poetry from Artshow, and wisdom in the form of verse from Spell The Three. While each of these vocalists is well able to carry an entire album on their own, together, and with XIIDC, they make each other even better.
‘3 Ninjas’ is a true meeting of minds. They manage to include all that they’re known for without stamping on each other’s style – it’s the epitome of collective.
In the clip for ‘3 Ninjas’, directed by Alexander Milan, we see the crew united as well. Dressed in black, armed with swords, like some sort of hit squad, they’re clearly ready for business. In one scene we see Three and Artshow rapping from the pews of one of DC’s most beautiful churches, and in another we see Typhanie at her most savage and ruthless, as she faces her opponents in combat.