<bt>Sketch slouches down in a booth at Fox Mill Pizza Hut, thinking about what hip-hop music is to him.
“I do it for the love of hip-hop, and use it as a medium to voice myself. I just want to be heard.”
Sketch is Matt McGuiney, 21, a Herndon resident and Oakton High School graduate who has been rapping since 1995. He sits discussing his music calmly as perhaps his greatest opportunity as an artist rapidly approaches.
That is an appearance on “Freestyle Fridays at 106 and Park”, a show that goes on the air Friday afternoons on Black Entertainment Television (BET). The show's format has rappers face off against one another, and whoever is deemed better moves on to the next round.
“If you keep winning, you will have record labels looking at you,” said Sketch. He got involved by going to Harlem for an audition along with 350 other rappers, where after a six-hour wait, they were videotaped and then selected by the producers of the show. The date of his appearance is not set, according to a BET representative contacted for this story.
SKETCH’S HIP-HOP resume is more extensive than that, however. He has performed at a variety of Washington D.C. venues, including the Metro Cafe, State of the Union, and D.C.’s Finest Bar and Grill. He has also participated in shows at Radford University, where he will be a senior management major in the fall.
Sketch got involved with hip-hop in the ninth grade. He was encouraged by fellow rapper and long-time friend Gerard Biggs, 23, of Herndon, who rhymes under the name of Revolution.
“Sketch brings it to a whole new level,” said Revolution. “We have been rapping since we were 14.”
SKETCH CITES other influences such as his older brother, who was a DJ, and other hip-hoppers including Nas, Talib Kweli, Guru, and Boot Camp Clik.
Sketch has recorded two albums, “Game Over,” and “The Wild Irish Rose.” While they are both solo albums, they feature appearances from Revolution and J. Bond, who is fellow Oakton High graduate Jimmy Everett. The album’s production team features Herndon-based Kevlar, and also Herndon-based Bring it Back Entertainment.
“We just want to put Northern Virginia on the map. We’ve been sending demos all over the country,” said Danny Frazitta of Bring It Back Entertainment.
Sketch, J. Bond, Revolution and others work together under the name of Supernova, while also working on solo projects. Sketch said they hope to play a role in the continued development of hip-hop in Northern Virginia.
“The scene here is decent, but it has a lot of growing to do and is definitely not totally developed,” he said. “It was overwhelming to see the hip-hop scene in New York compared to Northern Virginia.”
For the time being, Sketch is continuing work on a new album, which he hopes to get played nationwide on College Radio when he returns to Radford.
“I’m focusing on creativity and originality. I don’t want to sound like anyone else.”