Poet and hip hop artist MV hits his mark

August 19, 2012 

Michael Victor Whatley, Jr., also known as MV, a rising poet, hip hop artist and playwright, was recently on the streets selling advanced copies of his self- published book of poetry Trying To Be Grown and caught the attention of Washington Post reporter Peter Hermann.  Profiled as a curios oddity, an “out of the ghetto” success story, the Post headline touted Former D.C. rec-league star turns to poetry to escape urban neighborhood and crime.  It is debatable whether MV’s biography represents an escape, moreover it’s a narrative illustrating a young man rising above environment discovering his talent and building upon it with self-reliance and discipline.

A DC native MV is a Speech and Theater major entering his senior year at Tennessee State University in Nashville.  He is one of many fortunate young men who thrive despite the adversity and crippling influences associated with growing up in the inner city.  Like most young men MV was drawn to sports hanging out at the Rosedale rec where he earned a reputation as an accomplished athlete.  At the same he was developing another interest in the written word.  He credits football with distracting him from being sucked into the street life and the neighborhood drug trade. Thanks to his aunt, grandmother and vigilant parental guidance that other interest ultimately held sway over his life and future.

At age 21 MV stands 5’7’, 125 pounds with a slight build, a brilliant smile, inquisitive eyes, and a gregarious and engaging personality all of which makes him more suitable for the stage than grid iron.  While his brief biography may be of interest it is his growing body of compelling work that deserves more scrutiny.  It reveals the essence of MV going about the business of an artist mastering his craft.  He speaks of the influences of Mos Def who rose from hip hop to stage and screen and a particular affinity for the most notable and influential rapper Nas.  MV’s book of poems Trying to Be Grown captures the experience of the young urban black male coming of age and undergoing the sometimes perilous transformation into manhood.  He speaks of loneliness, love and lust while trying to find his place in the world.  His poetic voice is tender and vulnerable at times introverted and deeply personal alternating to the outspoken and combative critical of the world around him.

Like poetry his music captures in form and feeling the hip hop genre’s elements of story-telling, subject matter, creativity, word play, metaphors, and delivery.  At this stage in his development–a raw talent undergoing maturation he’s moving towards mastering the art form.  While his work is sometimes punctuated with the raw underground qualities of the profane and the sexually explicit he is evolving toward a more artistic and sublime sound.  That evolution is evidenced on his Youtube channel mikemvw21.  Rhythmic hypnotic sounds abound on his new mixed tape titled Vol. 7.  Pride scheduled to drop September 7th at Datpiff.com.  Already a number of singles are generating buzz including Desperately WaitingOn my job, and Makes a songTrying to Be Grown is also scheduled to become available on Amazon September 7th.  MV has already attracted the attention of some major recording labels and hopes to break out in the near feature.  Meanwhile his play The Good Die Young expects will be staged by a university troupe this academic year.

With entrepreneurial hustle MV is following in the foot steps and tradition of great Black poets like the young playwright and poet Langston Hughes who made his mark self-publishing and self peddling his works as well.  MV is enthusiastically taking on the challenge of marketing and building a platform necessary for today’s digital market.

MV returned to his old neighborhood this summer greeted like a hometown celebrity by proud friends and family.  And to hear him talk, his native Rosedale and DC are forever with him–having never escaped, but away only a sabbatical.

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