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Watch Anderson .Paak kill it on SNL with Kendrick Lamar, see him at The Fillmore

Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar on SNL | via Billboard

Anderson .Paak debuted on “Saturday Night Live” last night, performing tracks from latest album Oxnard. He was joined by Kendrick Lamar for their collaborative song, “Tints,” followed by a solo (and stunningly choreographed) performance of “Who R U.” You can check out the performances below. Continue reading →

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Lil Dicky freestyles with Desiigner and Anderson .Paak in XXL’s Freshman Cypher

XXL Freshmen Cover
XXL Freshmen Cover

For almost a decade now, hip hop mag XXL has been rounding up the best new artists in the game to feature front and center on their annual Freshman cover. Started in 2007, scene staples like Kendrick Lamar (2011), Kid Cudi (2009), Future (2012) and Chance the Rapper (2014) have all graced the cover and gone on to acquire massive followings (and make killer albums, of course).

This year, the cover crew included Cheltenham rapper Lil Dicky – along with another Philly artist, Lil Uzi Vert – and for the mag’s first installment of class-of-2016 cyphers, Lil Dicky shares some screen time with Desiigner and Anderson .Paak. Continue reading →

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Watch Roots Picnic artist Anderson .Paak’s TV debut on Colbert

Artwork and Design for @anderson._paak – Malibu LP | Creative Direction by @cory_gomberg

A photo posted by Dewey Bryan Saunders (@deweysaunders) on

Every once in a while you accidentally stumble on late night television performance that blows you away. This was my case last night watching Stephen Colbert’s Late Show last night when Anderson .Paak showed up on the screen.

The California-based R&B singer began with “Silicon Valley”: a jazzy “To Pimp A Butterfly”-influenced track adorned with electric guitars and smooth synths. After transitioning to the funky “The Season/Carry Me”, the performance really exploded once Paak got behind the drum kit to spit some bars and bust out a solo showing how multi-talented he really is. Continue reading →

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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 →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s best music videos of 2016

David Bowie’s Blackstar | still from video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, contributing writer Maureen Walsh recaps five of the year’s best music videos.

While the music video is no longer a requirement in order for audiences to discover an artist’s work, it is still a viable way for them to give us a visual representation of a mood, a way to supplement the song they have created, and also a way to promote their art.

Since not everyone is creating videos, those that do normally do so because they have a great idea for one. 2016 brought us videos that were weighty and visually striking. Water and rebirth were the theme of the vast majority of videos I picked on my list. 2016 was a bummer of a year for many, let’s hope the waters of healing reinvigorate us for 2017. Continue reading →

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Watch Leon Bridges’ beautiful This Is Home documentary ahead of his Roots Picnic appearance

 

Leon Bridges | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN
Leon Bridges | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

Take us to the river: Leon Bridges exploded onto the scene last year with his astounding debut album of modern soul, Coming Home. To celebrate his success, Squarespace made a documentary shot by Danny Clinch following his rise from an unknown solo artist from Fort Worth, Texas, to touring the world and getting nominated for Grammys. Continue reading →

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Listen to a new track from ADaD that features Black Thought, Yaw, and Khari Lemuel

roots picnic
Black Thought of The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Not too long ago, we shared a new song from Black Thought called “Making A Murderer.” The Philly MC and frontman of The Roots showed up again on our feed, this time spitting a verse on a track by Chicago rapper/producer ADaD. 

The song, “Holdin’ On”, also features Yaw and Khari Lemuel and was produced by Tensei. The smooth jam contains bits of soul, funk, and references Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life.” Continue reading →

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The Bul Bey tests his limitations, and passes, on new self-titled EP

The Bul Bey
The Bul Bey | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

It’s amazing how much territory Philly rapper The Bul Bey can cover in a 21-minute EP…or a five-minute song, for that matter.

Give a listen to “Top Ramen,” the opening of his new, self-titled EP which hit streaming services earlier this month. The joint begins with Bey in braggadocio mode, spitting lyrics about being “better than everybody else in [his] profession,” quickly moves on to vignettes of police violence against black civilians, and ends with the beautiful image of “dancing in the rain, listening to John Coltrane” as soul arrangements and life-affirming horns fill the air. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Swearin’, Death Cab For Cutie, Gorillaz, Florence and the Machine, and more

Florence and the Machine | photo by Vincent Haycock | courtesy of the artist

This week, our concert agenda includes indie rock institutions as well as left-of-center art popsters, arena shows to DIY shows, rock and roll and folk and Afrobeat and everything in between. Here are 19 concerts you can see in and around Philadelphia over the next seven days. Continue reading →