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Celebrating stories with Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party

Breedlove | photo courtesy of On Point Ink Photography

Why do they call open mics, open mics? Because open mics are invitations for artists to be open when they step up on the mic.

Imagine coming into a space that doesn’t require you to be perfect for entrance. A place where you can come to deal with shit, whether you’re an artist or a part of the audience. And when you come into the venue you instantly hear music like The Gap Band or The Backyard Band being played before the event starts. This event is none other than Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party. Located at A Poets Art Gallery at 4032 N Girard Avenue, Pecola Breedlove is a weekly open mic that has gained the attention of poets and fans of poetry whether they’re from the city or out of town.

Created by KP Ultra, the Pine Bluff, Arkansas poet has created a welcoming space for poets of the blue collar city of Philadelphia to share their stories on stage that has lasted for the past two years. I was able to sit down with him and to pick his brain on the Philadelphia poetry scene and discover the origins of the well-loved open mic event that has gained its city’s ears with their words. Continue reading →

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Life After Death: Revisiting The Notorious B.I.G.’s swan song 20 Years later

The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death

A couple of weeks ago, Bad Boy Records founder Puff Daddy posted a couple of Instagram videos of rappers such as Fabolous, Pusha T, Jadakiss, TIP, and more spitting some classic verses made famous by his late friend and hip hop legend, The Notorious B.I.G. Seeing those videos was just another reminder of why one of Brooklyn’s finest finds his way into a plethora of top 5 MCs lists. Though the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s death — on March 9th, 1997 — is not the only thing we remember about him this month. This Saturday, March 25th, marks 20 years since the release of his second and final studio album, Life After Death, a hip hop classic that showed the growth in his artistry and would strengthen the legendary MC’s legacy for decades after his untimely demise. Continue reading →

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Vibing Out With Ivy Sole: A conversation with one of Philly’s most exciting new MCs

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

One of the best ways for an artist to create a vibe with their music is by allowing their listeners to enter their world. The feeling become genuine when the listener obtain the artist’s perspectives, stories, and even their moods. To do that the artist mustn’t be hesitant to be personable with their music. That’s exactly why Ivy Sole an artist that the city of Philadelphia should look out for.

Whether she’s getting busy on the mic or creating soulful melodies, the Charlotte, North Carolina native hip hop artist always finds ways to bring her listeners into her universe. I was recently able to sit down with the local MC to discuss her introduction to hip hop, her debut project Eden, her recent followup EP East, and her upcoming performance at Underground Arts’ International Women’s Day benefit, which is happening tomorrow evening.  Continue reading →

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From P.U.R.E. to James Weldon and The Juice Jam, the evolution of a Philly MC

James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist
James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist

It’s always great to discover good music from local artists. You get to see a seed of talent grow and watch how the artists evolve with their music, seeing how long their progression takes, and seeing how they turn out throughout the four seasons.

Philadelphia’s P.UR.E., Presence Unifies Rap Everywhere, has always been a hip hop artist/producer with raw talent, but after the release of his 4th project Silence Is The Enemy it seems that P.U.R.E. has evolved into James Weldon, a more confident MC who possesses the ability to be open and pour more emotion on his lyrics making the connection between the listener and his music stronger.

I recently was able to sit down with local MC and discuss the evolution of his music, his recent EP Silence Is The Enemy, and his upcoming jam session / open mic The Juice, which happens tonight. Continue reading →

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Twenty Years of Baduizm: A reflection on Erykah Badu’s landmark debut

Erykah Badu, flanked by Common, RZA and Method Man, during the mixing sessions for Baduizm in Battery Studio NY | via facebook.com/erykahbadu

Twenty years ago, iconic soul singer Erykah Badu released her critically acclaimed debut Baduizm. With the album, the soulful B-girl from Dallas, Texas created a jazzy type of high that manifested truth in light that is still able to grab the attention of her listeners — and will do so again this Saturday, February 11th, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, twenty years to the day from the album’s original release date.

But besides gaining a worldwide audience for Ms. Badu, the production, lyricism, and creativity of Baduizm influenced not only hip-hop, but music at large, giving artists the ok to step outside of the box. Continue reading →

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A Journal Come to Life: Vessna Scheff translates experiences into songs

Vessna Sheff | photo via vessnascheff.com
Vessna Sheff | photo by Rohan Ayinde Smith | ayindesmith.com | via vessnascheff.com

Art is a form of expression. Many great artists, whether it’s through music, painting, or poetry, find creative ways to share how they’re feeling or how they once felt with the public. Philadelphia native Vessna Scheff is a perfect example of an artist using their work to speak for them. With the help of her ukulele mixed with the assistance of her angelic voice, the singer/songwriter recently released an EP called Come Home which can be described as a journal of poems detailing the ups and downs of love that are dedicated to a special person in her life. Continue reading →

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Dj Lean Wit It pleases everybody

DJ Lean WIt It | Photo via djleanwitit.com
DJ Lean WIt It | Photo via djleanwitit.com

It’s always good for a DJ to be versatile so that he or she can please any crowd that’s put in front of them. Plus it makes their mixes more interesting because the crowd will never know where the DJ is going with the music. Maybe that’s why DJ Lean Wit It has made a name for himself in his hometown of Philadelphia.

DJ Lean Wit It’s skills have not only made him quite popular in the tri-state area, but they’ve also led him to become the official touring DJ for Selina Carrera and Motown’s MPrynt, and a resident DJ for RedBull’s Play and Destroy Competition, Heineken Green Room and Thursdays at Pub Webb. Continue reading →

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Robbie Casablanca and Sanity show off their lyrical ability on “Level III”

level III
Robbie Casablanca and Sanity

For true hip hop fans, there’s nothing better than hearing a bunch of rappers take turns on the mic and give you some of the most mind-boggling verses that you’ve ever heard. Recently, Philadelphia MCs Robbie Casablanca and Sanity did just that on their new single “Level III.”

For almost four minutes, the two rappers took turns dropping verses that a majority of today’s hip hop fans aren’t accustomed to hearing. Continue reading →

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Hometown Throwdown: Moosh and Twist and Ground Up will tear down The TLA

OCD: Moosh & Twist | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
OCD: Moosh & Twist | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

In three weeks, a pair of Philadelphia hip hop groups will bring their tour back for a hometown blowout. On Friday, February 27th, OCD: Moosh and Twist and Ground Up will tear the house down at the Theater of Living Arts. Moosh & Twist’s enthusiasm blended with Azar & Malakai’s (Ground Up) laid-back demeanor not only gives Philly a great mixture of sounds during the show but it also displays the variety that the Philadelphia hip hop scene has to offer. Continue reading →

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Mprynt, Good Girl, and Jermey Isaac Will Sing Their Hearts Out At The TLA

MPrynt | photo via www.facebook.com/MPryntOnline
MPrynt | photo via www.facebook.com/MPryntOnline

If there’s one thing that Philly has shown us in the past year, is that the local R&B scene is on the rise in a big way. Whether you’re listening to their music or watching them perform, Philly R&B singers show a plethora of potential and talent. On Thursday, March 5th, Philadelphia’s Mprynt, Good Girl and Jermey Isaac will be shutting the house down with their voices at the Theater of Living Arts and show why their city gave a start some of the greatest singers the world has every heard. Continue reading →