Work and passion: The search for hip-hop success

Laraj "LT" Thomas performs on stage at the Sprint Pavillion as an opener for Jacquees in September, 2019. Laraj “LT” Thomas performs on stage at the Sprint Pavillion as an opener for Jacquees in September, 2019.

Music reflects the spirit of a community. With each new generation, artists must find ways to keep the music they create playing around town. In the Charlottesville area, a small but dedicated group of people keeps the hip-hop scene thriving. Musicians like Channing “Mr. Gray” Gray and Malcolm “Waasi” Wills work with a variety of producers, videographers, and other local rappers and vocalists to produce their songs and organize shows. Some, including Laraj “LT” Thomas, regularly open for bigger acts that come to Charlottesville.

It’s a collaborative scene: Many of these artists have known each other since grade school, and have worked together for years. They’ve built a modest fan base through music videos and shows throughout central Virginia. But the work to keep the hip-hop subculture alive in this area is never-ending. Words and pictures by Zack Wajsgras

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