By

The Bul Bey shows off no-holds-barred lyricism in a listening party for his new EP

The Bul Bey listening party at Watts Studio | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Short and sweet. That’s what Philly rapper The Bul Bey thought when putting together his upcoming project, The Bul Bey EP. After releasing the 15-track Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies LP, Bey, who is known as Amir Richardson offstage, decided that he wanted to offer his fans something punchier, with a clearer and stronger impact.

On May 11, The Bul Bey hosted a listening party at a nondescript recording studio at Warehouse on Watts. The setting, simply dubbed Watts Studio, was very intimate, with no more than 30 people in the audience. Friends, fellow Philadelphia musicians such as Chill Moody and Dilemma were in attendance to hear the latest music from their peer.

Throughout the evening, Richardson welcomed all criticism and critique.“I believe that I have a lot of versatility as an artist,” he said. “I believe that I rap very well, but I also believe that I write very well, I also think that I present and perform very well. These are areas that I want to make sure are polished and presented properly.” Continue reading →

By

Pull Up: Joey Bada$$ and friends shake the TLA to its foundation

Joey Bada$$ | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Just one day after 4/20, plumes of weed smoke blanketed the Theater of Living Arts on South Street, as fans anticipated the performance of Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$. The Amerikkkan Tour, which kicked off on April 17th in Boston Massachusetts, featured Boogie, Buddy, and Bada$$’ fellow Pro Era labelmate, Dessy Hinds.

For Bada$$ to be notorious for his spitfire rhymes and “real hip-hop” backpacker aesthetics, it is no surprise that the openers were also highly talent and highly lyrical rappers. Continue reading →

By

Musical Collage: Little Strike soaks up influence in the sounds of her surroundings

Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio | <a href="http://nataliepiserchio.com" target="_blank">nataliepiserchio.com</a>
Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

When you’re first presented with the idea of electronic world folk music, it may be an odd concept to wrap your head around. But once you hear the music of Middle Eastern born, Philly-based singer and songwriter Little Strike, the genre makes a lot more sense.

Tamar Dart, the force behind Little Strike, has been popping up on concert bills over the past few years – last year included a performance Pub Webb and a set at Apiary Magazine Issue 9 launch party. Her sound mixes charming, unhurried guitar melodies, beats made from found sounds, and cutting, introspective lyrics that relate to themes of travel, and world strife.

“I sort of approach that (music) kind of how I approach my visual art – it is a collage,” said Dart. “The collage will change depending on what’s around.” Continue reading →

By

Philly friends STS and Khari Mateen have a song for everyone on their duo album Better on a Sunday

S.T.S. and Khari Mateen | still from video
S.T.S. and Khari Mateen | still from video

This past Friday, rapper STS (aks Sugar Tongue Slim) and singer / producer Khari Mateen released their new duo album, Better on a Sunday, and it is an easy listen. The beats are mellow and laid back, the content is relatable. It honestly has a song for everyone – your little brother, your mom, your best friend, your girl, your girl’s friends, and your own various personalities. Continue reading →

By

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lissa Alicia’s top five moody jams of 2017

Kelea
Kelela | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Lissa Alicia shares her favorite introspective music of the year.

We all love a feel-good tune, but for me there is nothing better than wallowing in self-doubt and pity while listening to someone who totally gets your soul. Maybe this sentiment stems from my angsty early childhood obsessions with Linkin Park and the entire Fueled By Ramen record label circa 2007. Ten years later, I have been able to resonate with a few deep (debatable) tunes that don’t fall under the pop punk / emo banner. Continue reading →

By

Stay Positive: Chill Moody on building his very own nice year

Chill Moody | photo courtesy of the artist

Going by social media, the year of 2016 was a difficult year for all of us. We lost both Prince and Muhammad Ali. While some of us were still recovering in 2017, West Philly rapper Chill Moody knew that he was going to have a nice year.

And a good year it was. In addition to releasing music and performing at packed venues, like Union Transfer this fall with Low Cut Connie, he was able to release his first beer in collaboration with Dock Street Brewery, as well as become the face of Honda’s latest ad campaign – Power Your Dreams.

“The start of this year, I set out with the positive mindset like ‘it’s going to be a nice year not just for me but everyone I’m involved with,” says Chill. “I have just been putting out positive energy all year – It’s been worth it, it’s been reciprocated.” Continue reading →

By

Joy in Gloom: King Krule shows different sides to his persona at Union Transfer

King Krule | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

Last night, a mild Sunday evening in October, UK sensation King Krule brought his gloomy patchwork of punk, hip-hop, and jazz musical stylings to play a sold-out show at Union Transfer.

The show kicked off with a high-energy performance from New York punk trio, Show Me The Body. The collective did not hold back when executing punchy drums and strong, clean riffs. Having them as an opener proved to be a lively choice and the crowd, most if not all of which came to see King Krule, moshed about without much cohesion.

Following an intermission, King Krule and his five-piece band took to the stage and opened with the heady “Has it Hit.” It was pleasing to find that Krule’s guttural moans sounded exactly the same as they did on his Friday the 13th release The OOZ (read my review of the record here). When simply listening to King Krule’s music, it can be easy to forget that he is a lanky chap all of 23 years old. His voice paired with such wise and jaded lyrics that listeners can pretend that he is well into his 40’s.

King Krule followed up with “Ceiling,” and song where he played guitar and bobbed around on stage. A few times throughout his performance he walked over to the drummer as if to have some sort of secreted conversion through instruments. During a performance of “Dumb Surfer,” a single from The OOZ, Krule continued to wander the stage and delve into a punky physicality with his guitar, as if the instrument was playing him. Continue reading →

By

Mood and Mystique: Digging into King Krule’s THE OOZ ahead of his Union Transfer gig this weekend

King Krule | via facebook.com/xlrecordings

October is already a spooky month. One that is shrouded in fear, and mystery thanks to holidays like Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. Naturally, this would be the time for us to reflect on mortality and sorrow, and it makes sense that U.K. artist King Krule released his second studio album The Ooz on October’s Friday the 13th.

In a recent interview with the Pitchfork, Krule describes The Ooz as a sort of human substance that is made up of all the lackluster things in life. “It’s all about the gunk.”

And it is just that. Throughout the 19 track album, Krule mumbles and groans about the unfulfillingness of life. Although this attitude has the potential to come off as self-absorbed, there is something in Krule’s deep guttural tone that makes him an every-person for all the moody people who listen to him. Hearing the OOZ gives listeners the same “he can read my soul” relatable feeling that many of us have felt with the angsty music of our youth. Continue reading →

By

From Noname to Pharrell, the 10th Annual Roots Picnic brings a star studded day to Festival Pier

The Roots and Pharrell at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This past weekend marked the 10th Anniversary of The Roots Picnic. Over the past decade, Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of the legendary Roots Crew have been curating one of the city’s biggest concerts which, since 2007, has featured acts such as A$AP Rocky, Erykah Badu, Santigold, DMX, and Anderson Paak just to name a few.

This year’s line up brought out Michael Kiwanuka, Thundercat, Kimbra, and PnB Rock for excellent performances with headlining sets from Solange and Pharrell, the latter of whom was backed by The Roots. Earlier in the day, Black Thought collaborated with DJ/producer J Period on a live mixtape, during which he brought out original Roots keyboard player Scott Storch, as well as Queensbridge hip-hop legends Mobb Deep. Rapper Lil Wayne was slated to play the festival but was removed from the lineup due to an undisclosed medical emergency. Despite that being a bit of a damper, an estimated crowd of 10,000 festivalgoers enjoyed the day-long show. Continue reading →