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Beyonce and Jay-Z go On the Run, Again, at the Linc

PHILADELPHIA - JULY 30: Beyonce and Jay-Z perform on the 'On The Run II' tour at Lincoln Financial Field on July 30, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Raven Varona/Parkwood/PictureGroup)
Beyonce and Jay-Z | photo by Raven Varona | courtesy of the artist

Within a 2-and-a-half hour, 43 song framework – not counting additional snippets, elements and slips of other tracks, theirs and not theirs, within each tune – of costume changes, flames, good hair, stomping, dueling catwalks, raised moving stages, fireworks literal and figurative, choreographed sideways glances, nose tugs, and oh yeah, dancing, the wife and husband team of Beyoncé and Jay-Z  executed an On the Run II extravaganza at Lincoln Financial Field last night. It was great, and good, and too much, and occasionally not enough – but I’ll get to that.

Actually, let’s get to that now. Having witnessed every show that Beyoncé (Destiny’s Child, too) and Jay-Z (including duet gigs with Kanye West and Justin Timberlake) have performed within a 200 miles radius of Philadelphia, I can safely say that I know what the energy of a given Bey, Hova, and-or On the Run teaming (a la 2014’s first event) looks, sounds and feels like. Continue reading →

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Made In America’s future on the Parkway is in question; Jay-Z responds to city’s “eviction” in Inquirer op-ed

Jay-Z | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While Jay-Z’s seventh annual Made In America music festival is set to bring Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, and Janelle Monae to Philly on Labor Day weekend, this could be the last year the event takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Or, depending on how alarmist you want to get about it, in Philly at all.

Yesterday, Danya Henninger of Philly news site Billy Penn reported that MIA 2019 would not be held on the Parkway, attributing the news to an unnamed Philadelphia communications official; this was verified by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dan DeLuca, who received a statement from deputy communications director Sarah Reyes. Both accounts contained similar reasoning and language: per Reyes in the Inquirer, “When the festival first started, it was intended to provide a unique attraction to the city on the otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend. Over the years, tourism has grown overall, and the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”

This, however, came as news to Jay-Z and his partners at both Roc Nation and LiveNation, who organize the festival every year. They learned about the city’s intents though the Billy Penn article, and Jay-Z responded to what he’s termed as an “eviction” with a scathing Inquirer op-ed today. Continue reading →

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Oakland’s Elujay gets old school on “Locked In,” brings the Bay Area to The Voltage Lounge

Elujay | photo via facebook.com/ElujayMusic

Oakland neo-soul singer, rapper and producer Elujay first came on my radar when he released his 2016 debut project Jentrify. It was an upbeat and soulful mix of tracks with a lot of catchy melodic hooks that showcased his laid-back style of delivery as well as his sensual vocals.

For lyrical inspiration, Elujay looked at the changes in his Bay Area community, where high-end new developments were causing a shift that displacing longtime lower-income residents. He other goal with the thirteen track collection was to represent the community’s thriving musical culture by incorporating many of its creative minds, musicians, and voices, including Samaria, Jay Ant, Rexx Life Raj, and more.

From there, Elujay has been releasing a bunch of singles such as the infectious Goldlink-esque style track “Golden” and earlier this month, a soulful gem titled “Locked In” following his equally smooth track “Starchild.” The artist debuted the new track on a performance with COLORS (watch the video here) as a preview for his to-be-titled second full-length project. Continue reading →

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Beyonce and Jay-Z’s On the Run 2 stadium tour comes to The Linc in July

Beyonce and Jay Z’s On The Run II tour poster | via Brooklyn Vegan

Beyonce has had braids in for months. For those of you who are not well versed in the language of the Bey Hive, it means she’s up to something. That something is On the Run 2. That’s correct, Beyonce and Jay-Z are teaming up for another joint tour, which kicks off in Cardiff, Wales on June 6th, and makes its way to the U.S. by late July for 21 North American dates — including one at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Monday, July 30th. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jay-Z at Wells Fargo Center, Liz de Lise at Ortlieb’s, Deer Tick at Union Transfer, and more

Jay-Z | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

H.O.V. takes the Wells Fargo Center stage for his next installment of his 4:44 world tour. The Brooklyn rap icon’s 13th LP is a monumental work, showing how Jay-Z is continually willing to challenge himself artistically and go outside of his comfort zone. The initial stops of the tour have been met with rave reviews, so consult the XPN Concert Calendar for more info and tickets. Continue reading →

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4:44 releases synth-heavy single “Freedom” following hype from Jay-Z EP

4:44 | photo by Brittany Cook | instagram.com/brittcphoto | via facebook.com/fourfortyfour

You might remember Jersey prog / jam band 4:44 from their summer stunt when they released an EP called Jay-Z after Jay-Z released his album called 4:44. The news blew up on Reddit for a few months, and 4:44 follows it up this month with a new single, “Freedom.”

The new song vibes with all sorts of synth and bass-heavy grooves, while the lyrics are heavily influenced by all things free, just as the title suggests. Singer Anthony Friedlander channels a U2-esque sound when he really gets into the vocals, and it totally works. This is a fun, not-too-heavy, not-too-light song from a band who knows exactly how to grab a listener’s attention. Continue reading →

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Jay Som releases playful new video for “The Bus Song” directed by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner

jay som
Jay Som | photo by Cara Robbins | courtesy of the artist

Melina Duerte is a talented young songwriter hailing from Oakland who, with her band Jay Som, released one of The Key’s favorite records of the year, Everybody Works. It’s a perfect soundtrack for early mornings, waking up to sunlight coming through the shades and making your way out into the world.

Duerte enlilsted Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast — with whom she toured last year — to collaborate on a music video for “The Bus Song,” the lead single from Everybody Works. The video follows morning motif with Duerte playing her acoustic guitar at home ends up progressing through a full day: meeting musician friends, playing in lots of zany spots, and eventually singing the end of the track to a small dog in the window. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cayetana at Philly Music Fest, Jay Som at the First Unitarian Church, David Bromberg at Sherman Theater

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

The Philly Music Fest kicks off tonight at World Cafe Live with Cayetana headlining a night of Philly music, from Kississippi to West Philly Orchestra and more. Cayetana’s latest album, New Kind of Normal, is one of the year’s highlights, with the South Philly power trio expanding the range of its sonic palette, from slow burners to charging ragers. Watch the video for “Bus Ticket” below and get tickets and more info on the festival here. Continue reading →