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Janelle Monae, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Miguel top Made in America lineup

Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae | still from video

The Made in America lineup is finally here, and this year, the highly-anticipated annual festival will bring a diverse, dozens-strong roster of artists to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The festival will take place September 1 and 2 — just about 90 days away, not that we’re counting.

Up in the top headlining slots are rappers Nicki Minaj and Post Malone, but this is the kind of festival lineup that merits more than a glance at the smaller print. Some of the standouts include the eclectic and awesome Janelle Monáe, fresh off the release of her new album Dirty Computer, as well as R&B star Miguel, and pop singer-songwriter Alessia Cara. Meek Mill, who has become somewhat of a hometown hero lately, will also appear for what is sure to be a triumphant set. Continue reading →

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All My Friends Are Onstage: Lil Uzi Vert’s hip-hop hit parade brings Pharrell, Nicki Minaj and more to the Liacouras Center

Lil Uzi Vert | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Let’s not sell Lil Uzi Vert short. The Grammy-nominated Philadelphia rapper is a commanding, dynamic performer with incredible charisma, athletic stamina and a daredevil’s drive to completely obliterate the boundary between artist and audience. It was what grabbed us here at The Key when we first encountered him, jumping offstage and climbing on top of food vending trucks at the Roots Picnic, finishing his set perched on high, dancing for an energized audience below.

This was the Lil Uzi that took the stage last night to a sold-out crowd at Temple’s Liacouras Center for his year-end throwdown, A Very Uzi Christmas. The basketball arena was decked out in tune with the rapper’s goth-inspired aesthetic — open caskets on either side of the stage pumping pulsing light and dry ice outward, two LED boards in the shape of inverted crosses — and as Uzi leapt from the upper deck to the front row to the bumping bass of “444+222” from this year’s Luv Is Rage 2, sashaying between pyrotechnic plumes, it was pretty clear: this show could have been Uzi and Uzi alone, and it would have been an incredible night.

But that’s not how it went down. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Restorations and DRGN King at Spruce Street Harbor, Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill at SBC, Sing Bird of Prey at The Fire, and more

Restorations | Photo via artist's Facebook
Restorations | Photo via artist’s Facebook

Philly rockers Restorations join DRGN King at Spruce Street Harbor tonight — a great chance to enjoy music by two bands that exude Philly pride and musicianship. Restorations most recently completed a tour throughout Europe, and DRGN King spent this past spring touring throughout the U.S. See them together in their home city at tonight’s free performance, and listen to each of their latest releases below. Continue reading →

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Watch the Philly 4th of July Jam with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Nicki Minaj and more

Photo by Mark Stehle via http://6abc.com/entertainment/photos-philly-4th-of-july-jam/157734/#gallery-8
Photo by Mark Stehle via http://6abc.com/entertainment/photos-philly-4th-of-july-jam/157734/#gallery-8

Aloe Blacc, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj and The Roots performed at the Wawa Welcome America on July 4th, hosted by Marlon Wayans. Joining The Roots were Philly R&B singer Bilal and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Earlier last week, Aloe Blacc stopped by WXPN to record a session for an upcoming World Cafe with David Dye.

Below, watch the July 4th Jam in its entirety via VH-1.

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Forget Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran, check out the real stars of this year’s Philly 4th of July Jam

photo via timothybloom.com
photo via timothybloom.com

By now, you’ve probably heard about this year’s Wawa Welcome America’s Philly 4th of July Jam on the Parkway. And if you’re like me, you’re less than enthusiastic about the big names performing. The lineup isn’t terrible – it features performances by The Roots, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran and more. It’s alright, for sure, but not super exciting.

But don’t write off the city’s free annual 4th of July concert too fast, because there are some underdogs. Aside from the main stage, there are two smaller stages: Global Music Stage and Questlove Stage. The lineups are made up of lesser-known (but spotlight deserving) artists that many people aren’t even aware are there. Well, I’m going to fix that. Here’s your guide to the real stars of the Philly 4th of July Jam:

Global Music Stage

El Caribefunk / via facebook.com/funkchoyelcaribefunker
El Caribefunk / via facebook.com/funkchoyelcaribefunker

As a Latin powerhouse, El Caribefunk will bring some reggae funk to the Global Music Stage. The Colombian band is spending its summer touring around the Philly area and filling the air with Afro-Caribbean music. El Caribefunk has a ton of energy and spirit not only in its music, but it’s stage presence. The band will have you up and moving when it takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. Take some time to listen to the band’s song, “San Antonio,” below. Continue reading →

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Made in America adds Kendrick Lamar to the lineup

Kendrick Lamar | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

After appearances at the BB&T and Firefly earlier this summer, Kendrick Lamar is about to make his return to Philly, this time as the just-announced headliner of next month’s Made in America Festival. The festival announced its initial lineup back in June, and with names like Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Janelle Monae at the top of the bill, the addition of another extremely high-profile headliner just a few weeks before showtime comes as a bit of a surprise — albeit a very welcome one. Made in America also announced last week that several additional acts, including Pusha T, 6ix9ine and Daniel Caesar, will also appear. Continue reading →

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Pusha T, 6ix9ine, LilSkies, and Daniel Caesar added to Jay Z’s Made In America lineup

Pusha T
Pusha T | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

There has been a great deal of conversation surrounding Jay Z’s Made In America on whether or not the annual music festival would continue to be held on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Luckily the city of Philadelphia decided to keep the festival in place (read about it here), and in further good news, the festival announced a bunch of new artists this week. 

Joining the Labor Day Weekend event are Pusha T, Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Skies and Daniel Caesar. They will be performing alongside powerhouse artists such as Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo and more. Continue reading →

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Listen to the debut album from 16-year-old Philly rapper Zah Sosaa, Already Paid

Zah Sosaa | photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com | via The Fader

Philly’s rap scene has been wildin’ out lately with so many up and coming rappers popping out of nowhere, this includes 16-year-old Zah Sosaa. These new artists are experimenting with more funky melodies similar to Lil Uzi Vert’s style rather than Meek Mill’s old school strictly bars-only scene. It’s crazy to think how music is almost solely focusing on the melodic aspect rather than the lyrical side. Hey, I’m not one to judge though, because songs like Lil Uzi’s are hype. Continue reading →

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Made In America will remain on the Ben Franklin Parkway, says Philly Mayor’s office

Made In America | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Made In America is remaining in the heart of the Philadelphia. The future of Jay-Z’s annual music festival was in doubt last week, as word got out that the city did not want it located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beginning in 2019. But following a national backlash, both parties have come to an agreement, announcing today that the festival will remain in place at the foot of the Art Museum Steps. Continue reading →