RICHMOND, Va. — Shaqwan Donnie Lewis, known to hip hop fans worldwide as Mad Skillz, said he couldn’t believe the honor he received this week when Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney declared February 13, 2019, as “Mad Skillz Day” in Richmond.
“Mad Skillz has been a positive influence on our city and has paved the way for younger generations to pursue they dreams of working in the music industry,” the official proclamation read.
The date coincides with the 1996 release of Lewis’ debut album “From Where???”
“Mad Skillz is credited for putting Virginia on the hip hop map as he was the first artist to break out nationally from the state,” the proclamation read. “In the late-1990s more of a Virginia scene emerged, and he allied himself with fellow Virginia natives Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and The Neptues.”
Beloved for his annual end of the year raps, Lewis recently featured Richmond in the video for his 2018 song released “In a Minute.”
His skills also led to him writing or ghostwriting for artists like Sean “P Diddy” Combs.
Lewis, 44, was named artist-in-residence at the University of Richmond in 2018 where he taught a hip hop course.
He can be found hosting and deejaying “Art of Noise” throughout the year in both Virginia and North Carolina.