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Passing by with Christinna O

Christinna O | photo by Shabnam Ferdows | courtesy of the artist

 

Two years ago, Miami native Christinna O made her way to Philadelphia, not only to attend Temple University, but make a name for herself in the music scene. The alternative R&B singer was already a skilled wordsmith, and it probably helped when she joined Temple’s poetry team Babel and competed in the NAACP’s National Poetry Slam. But more recently, it seems that Christinna O seems ready to get people clapping for her singing instead of just snapping their fingers for her poetic lines.

The end of last year, she released the first single for upcoming EP Girl In Passing, “Shelter”, and has recently released the second single “Lay It Down.” While Christinna O prepares for the arrival of her second EP, we were able to sit down with her to talk about her early beginnings and what her listeners can expect from Girl In Passing. Continue reading →

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Anderson. Paak and The Free Nationals bring the funk to the Fillmore Philly

Anderson .Paak | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Think about the first time Anderson .Paak‘s music caught your ear. Where you at Venice when you heard “Might Be” on the radio? Did you catch the Holy Ghost the first time you heard Yes Lawd? Was it after experiencing strawberry season in Malibu or perhaps you finally became a fan while walking down Saviers Road in his hometown of Oxnard?

No matter when and where you discovered him, the one thing that has never changed is that the Grammy Award singer, rapper, producer, and drummer is also an amazing performer. This past Sunday at The Fillmore, Anderson. Paak along with his good friends and his incredible band, Free Nationals, gave Philadelphia a soulful west coast funky performance during his Andy’s Beach Club World Tour. Continue reading →

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10 Years Ago, Meek Mill released Flamers 2, the match that started it all

Meek Mill’s Flamers 2 | via Genius.com

It’s hard to be from Philadelphia and not be proud of Meek Mill.

You don’t have to be a die-hard. You don’t have to agree with every decision that he’s ever made. But it’s pretty difficult not to respect this man’s grind when 15 years ago, rap DVDs like 2 Raw For The Streets could be found in any high school from Philadelphia all the way out to Reading and Willow Grove, and on them you would often see the beginning stages of a young dreamer chasing his dreams. It’s also hard not to salute Meek Mill when 10 years ago, February 24th, 2009, he released what his city would know as the match that started it all…better known as Flamers 2. Continue reading →

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The musical rehabilitation of Franky Hill’s User

Franky Hill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The first time I saw Franky Hill, I didn’t know what to expect from him. The show was last month at MilkBoy, and Hill was opening for one of the dopest hip hop artist in the city, Ivy Sole. But the moment he got on stage and touched the mic, I felt like I was watching someone going to pulpit and share their testimony with the congregation. The music was amazing, his energy was very contagious, and you could sense that every song Franky performed felt like a wounded spirit had been healed, and was spreading his newfound joy all throughout  the crowd.

From writing battle raps aimed at no one to writing poems to cope with the loss of his beloved mother, to creating his debut album Blurred Lines to his recent project User, it seems as though Franky Hill was destined to use music as a weapon to battle demons, whether they belong to him or others. I recently got a chance to sit with the 24 year old Camden MC to talk about his early beginnings and how User found its way into the world. Continue reading →

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Philly gets a ticket to ASTROWORLD with Travis Scott

Travis Scott | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN | iospicer.com

It’s safe to say that hip hop artist Travis Scott is having one of, if not the biggest run of his career. After releasing his third album (and first to garner mass critical acclaim), ASTROWORLD, and dominating the charts with hits like “Sicko Mode” and “Stargazing” throughout the summer, the Houston rapper has been bringing heat for the fall and winter with his Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour. If you were at the sold out Wells Fargo Center this past Saturday then you may have felt that your wish was granted by being there in and witnessing young La Flame rage through the late night with his die hard Philadelphia fans. Continue reading →

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Pusha T gives philly a dose of DAYTONA

After dropping his critically acclaimed third album DAYTONA and coming out with a win after engaging in lyrical battle with the biggest rap star on the planet, Drake, it’s safe to say that hip hop veteran Pusha T is having a phenomenal year in 2018.

Since the end of July, the Virginia native has been taking his talents to different cities across the country even across the border in the city of his nemesis, giving his fans a sample of what DAYTONA and performing his cult classic kingpin anthems. Last Friday at The Fillmore, Philadelphia, a city that Pusha T claims was the first to embrace him and his brother No Malice’s hip hop duo the Clipse, got a chance to be served a dose of what Pusha T calls rap album of the year. Continue reading →

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Childish Gambino takes Philly to church

Childish Gambino | photo by Greg Noire | courtesy of the artist

If you were at the Childish Gambino concert this past Tuesday, then you might agree that it felt like a Wednesday night church service. Not in the sense that they were worshiping the rapper persona of actor Donald Glover (though there was probably some of that), but more in the energy he brought to the stage. His Philly fans packing the Wells Fargo Center came alive the way folks  might react after hearing a choir and their band go off for hours, and Deacon Gambino lifted their spirits to the stratosphere.

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Local artists inspire Philadelphia’s youth at Aspiring Young Artists

Aspiring Young Artist | photo by Richard Sanders | courtesy of Aspiring Young Artists

The city of Philadelphia has a very incredibly vibrant music scene and a rich music history that spans genres. But imagine if those two intangible things could become more of a direct resource for the adolescents of the city who are in school and have a passion for creating music. That’s where Aspiring Young Artists steps in.

While most schools can only advocate for more funding so they don’t have to make really hard choices, like cutting out art programs because of lack of funds, AYA cuts out the middle man and connects North Philadelphia students from schools like Youth Build Philadelphia, Kensington CAPA and Olney Charter High School with local artists who teach them how to compose their own music and expose them to the beautiful things that are happening in their hometown’s music scene.

Recently I was able to sit with AYA’s founder Ricky Strickler about how the music programs and the local artists that lead them have made an impact on its students. Continue reading →

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Philly rocks with DJ Lean Wit It

DJ Lean Wit It
DJ Lean Wit It | photo by Sannii Crespina-Flores | courtesy of the artist

The blue collar energy that Philadelphia provides builds character for its local artists. It takes a certain type of talent and dedication to win the attention and the heart of Broad Street but once it’s captured, it strengthens your confidence to shine outside of your of city.

That’s something DJ Lean Wit It has learned throughout his years behind the turntables. Whether was on Temple University’s campus, a Heineken Green Room event or even a local bar, the North Philly DJ has spent years perfecting his craft to capture the attention of not only his hometown, but in other cities and countries as well. And as DJ Lean Wit It prepares for a really huge set for the upcoming No Place Like Home event at The Fillmore on Saturday, August 18th — not to mention his warm-up gig at Spruce Street Harbor Park this Thursday — I was able to sit with him to talk about his early stages as a DJ and how a Philadelphia crowd separates itself from any other crowd in the world. Continue reading →

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The enormous transition of Philly’s Dayne Jordan

Dayne Jordan | photo by Maggie Elizabeth | courtesy of artist

 

The great thing about artistic growth is that each step brings a creator closer to feeling comfortable with being themselves.That type of comfort allows one to discover what they bring to the table, following with the confidence to grab their own seat. It is this reason why hip hop artist Dayne Jordan has been able to transition into something bigger than the city limits of his hometown of Philadelphia.

Since 2009 the north Philly MC, formerly known as Dosage, has been making noise in the underground hip hop scene in Philadelphia with mixtapes such as Sand and Foam, 3D11 and In Due Time. So much noise that he was able to gain the attention of Grammy Award winning hip hop artists, Lupe Fiasco and legendary Philadelphia hometown hero DJ Jazzy Jeff, as well having Complex claiming him to be one of the next biggest things to watch out for coming from his city.

However the desire to be bigger than just a star in the city of brotherly love caused the rapper Dosage to transition to hip hop artist we now know as Dayne Jordan. Since this transition, Dayne has joined his mentor DJ Jazzy Jeff and traveled across the world performing at least 200 shows a year while dropping quality projects such as Memoirs of Dayne Jordan and In Transition. I recently was able to sit with him to talk about the origins of his transition as well as recent single “Enormous” and his thoughts about the Philadelphia local scene. Continue reading →