And while no blood was spilled when the two reconvened Thursday night at Songbyrd in Adams Morgan, the music coming out of the PA speakers was every bit as agitative and hypnotic — an icy-hot haze of distortion that sounded like it was being funneled through an earbud the size of a Frigidaire. Onstage, both WifiGawd and the Khan have figured out how to vocalize in a similar mood-mash, often sounding chilled and inflamed in the space of the same breath.
WifiGawd acknowledged as much while being blitzed with requests during his headlining set: “I’mma do that hard s---, and I’mma do that chill s---.” And when he sauntered into his finest moment, “Scope,” he was doing both. The song was a breezy, bruising thing that allowed him to declare, “I’m a genius,” in a relaxed mumble that felt like a communal affirmation. Everyone in the room seemed to be mouthing along through the smiles on their faces.
The Khan sparked his joy in detonative blasts, especially during “Washingtonians Uber Alles,” a pummeling tune that tweaks the hook of the Dead Kennedys’ end-times punk hymn “California Uber Alles.” The Khan’s version is an up-with-the-scene anthem, and, live, it worked exactly as intended — easy to roar along to, easier to stomp along to.
On the whole, this show offered an excellent, real-time glimpse into one of the most stylish corners of the DMV’s thriving rap ecosystem, with energized opening sets from Lil Xelly and Chanel Chachi, plus pleasant-surprise cameos from the District snarler AnkhleJohn and MartyHeemCherry, a scene fixture who shouted his melodic lines with such force, the distortion was entirely in his throat.
Nearly all of the above elbowed their way back onto the stage to scream along with “A,” a riddle of a song by the DMV native Sybyr. The words are easy to remember because they aren’t even words — just the letter “A” repeated over a beat for a few minutes, like a throat-clearing on loop.
Listen to “A” on YouTube, and you’ll feel it elongate itchy anticipation into an absurdist trance. Out here in 3-D, it felt impossibly cathartic.