“Real Richmond vs. Everybody,” a project by Halston Williams, better known by his performance name Doc Dolla, features 23 tracks with a long roster of well-known local artists, including Iamsu! and Kool John of the Heartbreak Kids Gang.
Songs include “Parchester” by Lil Low and “Summer Time in the Rich” by Ray Rose and Edomm. Another track, “Off the Shelf,” features the late artist Sirmonte Bernstine aka Sirdy (pictured above), the victim of a fatal shooting in January that stunned the community and prompted a significant police response to possible retaliatory violence.
Compilation albums have been done before by Richmond artists, but Doc Dolla describes “Real Richmond Vs. Everybody” as a modern experiment in healing old wounds.
“People would put together projects with people just from their neighborhood but not the whole community,” he told us. “The concept of ‘Vs Everybody’ started in Detroit… the objective was to have people with influences from all sections of Richmond show there is no segregation amongst us.”
For this album, Doc Dolla did not require that lyrics be softened or uplifting. The goal was to present their authentic experiences and truths, and to expose the parallels among neighbors, he said.
Thus far the project, which includes a line of “Real Richmond Vs. Everybody” t-shirts, has been getting a lot of love on social media. It has inspired similar campaigns, particularly in the t-shirt realm, promoting “Oakland Vs. Everybody” as well as “Vallejo Vs. Everybody.”
“Thanks to all the sales from the shirts I was able to press up the CDs and put the album online,” Doc Dolla says. “I’m giving every artist 20-30 CDs for them to distribute as they please and get the message out.”
Doc Dolla has said he doesn’t believe the album will forever solve feuds in Richmond, but “knows the message has touched a lot of people.”
“In the city this war isn’t entirely about where you from…it’s that somebody from somewhere took someone you love from you,” he said. “People fall into a pit of hate…and it’s family killing each other.”