From Black Lily to Ladies Night, S.T.S.’ Philly roots run deep

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STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

Whether you’re calling him STS or Sugar Tongue Slim, this rapper been a mainstay in the Philadelphia scene for over a decade — so much so that it can be easy to forget that he was born and bred in Atlanta.  He even names the Philadelphia Eagles as his favorite football team.

When it comes to hip-hop in Philly, you often hear artist tout how the City of Brotherly Love holds them back — that living here is like being a crab in a barrel. Typically our artists can be found taking up new residence in places like LA and New York, and very seldom do you come across an out-of-town rapper that has made Philadelphia his permanent residence with no plans to relocate. STS tells us that it’s all because of a little thing called Black Lily.

If you are 30 or over and know even an ounce about the neo soul scene that was developing in Philly during the late 90’s to early 2000’s, then you know what he’s talking about. Black Lily was a weekly woman-centric open mic that took place at The 5 Spot — and if you were a regular, it was nothing to catch an intimate set from the likes of Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, or The Roots. Black Lily was where STS fell in love with the city.

“That place was magic,” said STS. “The first night I went there, was supposed to be my last night in Philly. I never left.”

STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

Since that fateful night, STS has been working non-stop on projects from coast to coast and across the pond. His latest is Ladies Night, an 11-track ode to a memorable night out. The album features guest spots from Philly favorites such as The Bul Bey, Lee Mazin, Jordan Brown and Chill Moody.

“ I wanted to make a project, not for the club, but before you get to the club and when you get to the club,” said STS.

The concept for the album was developed around a song that was previously recorded by STS and his right-hand man, world renowned musician RJD2.

“The actual ‘Ladies Night’ song, me and RJD2 did and that record we just had and never used so I decided to a project based off of that,” said STS

 

When it came to deciding who would be on the album, it wasn’t hard for STS to figure out. According to him “everybody on that project is a friend.” And it shows.

One of the more upbeat tracks Ladies Night is the twerk-inducing turn up anthem with a Nola bounce twist, “On The Floor” — it features STS’ side project NAC, as well as Torae and Lee Mazin.

Arguably the most notable track on “Ladies Night” is the smooth jazz “1 For The Money.” STS leads on the song with his signature spitfire flow highlighting his “tale of two cities,” or his Atlanta/Philly origins. Jordan Brown carries the hook with his effortlessly smooth buttercream vocals. The Bul Bey follows up on the second verse recounting a moment about a “vulture”-like event promoter. Chill Moody follow up on the third verse giving nods to nameless Philly hip-hop veterans who have welcomed him into the fold.

STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

In between projects, STS is usually working on placements with RDJ2. In 2016, the pair worked on songs for Miller Lite, as well as the films Entourage and Neighbors 2. This career move enables STS to maintain his lifestyle as an independent musician while still doing what he loves.

The self-identified studio rat isn’t too concerned with going on tour, but moreso with creating quality music. Currently, STS is gearing up for a record that is being produced in Paris. According to STS, the record will have a different sound compared to what his fans are used to — and as always, Philly is eager to hear it.

STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

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