Sudan freestyles about success and self-love on Instagram

Sudan | still from video

Philly rapper Sudan has begun teasing fans on his Instagram, getting them ready for what he has in store next. His two most recent minute-long snippets, “Narcissus” and “Synergy,” showcase the MC rapping about success, and further spreading his narrative of love that he laid out in his last full-length project, Pay Me In Love. Continue reading →


The ever-traveling Sinkane reflects on his ancestral home in “Ya Sudan”

Sinkane’s “Ya Sudan” single cover art | courtesy of the artist

Ahmed Gallab has lived in a variety of places around the globe — born in London, he spent his early childhood in Sudan before bouncing across the U.S. with his family, from Boston to Utah to Kent, Ohio. Gallab currently lives in New York City, has made music under the Sinkane banner for over a decade, and listening to his songs, you can hear that ever-wandering spirit, the curiosity that comes with constantly finding oneself in new surroundings. There are hints of rock and pop, of experimental electronic music, of Afrobeat and beyond.

Sinkane’s seventh album Dépaysé comes out on May 31st via City Slang, and the lead single “Ya Sudan” finds Gallab celebrating his ancestral home and his cultural identity through an uplifting rhythm, an infectious melody, and lean production. He sings of his heritage and his personal journey: “I think of all the people I keep beside me, the ones who came before and fell underneath. / The ones I know who watch over me. / I think of all the people here on my journey, how they help bring out new parts of me / when I accept my duality.” And of that duality, he reflects on how the aesthetic qualities and vibrant eclecticism that come from traveling, and having that so-called “worldly perspective,” are also neatly contained in the Republic of Sudan itself.

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Let’s Talk About Love: Philly rapper Sudan explores devotion on his debut album Pay In Me Love

Sudan | via Twitter

The first time we met Philly rapper Sudan, here at The Key, was back in 2013 when he released his first track “Away”, produced by New York’s Chuma Osse. At the age of 18 years old, he was following in the footsteps of his mother Ursula Rucker, a poet and activist as well as a longtime collaborator of The Roots, King Britt and more. Continue reading →


Download “A Couple Wishes,” the new single from JustXSudan

JustXSudanA few weeks ago we introduced you to Philly rapper JustXSudan and his debut single “Away.” The just-getting-started MC (and son of renowned poet and performer Ursula Rucker) is working on his debut, and today we’ve bring you the second track from it. While “Away” accomplished a lot in less than a minute and a half, “A Couple Wishes” stretches out to 2:17 and digs even deeper. On the first single, Sudan took the first-person perspective, delivering his motivations for being a rapper from a multitude of angles. Here, he looks outward at the obstacles young people face as they make their own way into the world. Specifically, Sudan talks about poverty – a man in a wheelchair who can’t afford proper health care – and urban violence – someone who gets gunned down at a take-out restaurant. When we interviewed him, he hinted that this track might come across more cynical. But it’s not so much that, as much as it’s an account reality, and a firm desire to do something about it. Listen below.


Interview: Meet Philly rapper JustXSudan, download his single “Away”

imagePhilly rapper JustXSudan released his first track just over two weeks ago. It’s only a minute and a half long, but it sounds like something much greater – a fully-formed slice of philosophical hiphop that has this 18-year-old spitter looking like he’s poised to do great things.

“Away,” produced by New York beatmaker Chuma Osse, launches with a suave guitar line and two layers of interlocked beats. It’s swift and punchy, and JustXSudan raps about, well, rap – performance as a means of connection and socialization, performance as a way of living one’s dreams.  A rumbling bass kicks in, and he contines: “Focused my vision / promised my mom that I would never take the prison route.”

His mom, we should note, is Ursula Rucker, poet, activist and longtime collaborator of The Roots, King Britt and more. We came across this track from JustXSudan while reading up on her appearance at Philly Folk Fest a couple weeks ago; at the festival, we got to meet him and talk about how his own musical path emerged.

“I was always in the studio growing up,” he said. “You’d think I’d get tired of it, but I’ve just grown a huge love for it. And I have people like King Britt, all these people around who can help me. I’m just around good people. They all said I should be doing something.”

Sudan says he rapped and kind of kept it to himself for years, until the encouragement from his friends and family pushed him to make the leap. This summer he decided he’d put something out, and hoped people would like it. Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Selwyn Birchwood, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sinkane, Sweet Spirit and more

Sun Ra Arkestra | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s a big week for shows big and small — noisemakers NOTS taking to Boot & Saddle tonight, The National bringing their sweeping new record to The Mann on Tuesday, Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen celebrating his 95th at Union Transfer on Thursday, Dave Matthews Band settling into the BB&T for a two-night stand this weekend. And that’s just for starters; here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days, all around Philly. Continue reading →


Wynonna Judd and the Big Noise, Patty Griffin, Valerie June, Shovels and Rope top Philadelphia Folk Fest’s 2018 lineup

Wynonna Judd and the Big Noise at NonCOMM 2018 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

The annual Philadelphia Folk Festival returns for its 57th year this August, and just announced its initial lineup, led by famed country singer-songwriter Wynonna Judd and her current band The Big Noise.

After appearing at the 2015 NonCOMM-vention, Judd and the band released their self-titled debut, Wynonna and the Big Noise, in 2016; the album featured collaborations with Derek Trucks, Sudan Tedeschi, Rapheal Saadiq and more.

Also high up in the festival billing are veteran Austin singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, emerging Memphis artist Valerie June, and the high-energy Charleston duo Shovels and Rope. Festival regulars David Bromberg QuintetChris SmitherJohn GorkaBeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet also perform. Continue reading →


Keeping up with S.udan: Put your ears to “Powers” and “100 South”

S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist
S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper S.udan has been making good on his promise to deliver a regular stream of new jams this year. When we last check in on him, the observational hustle story “The Difference” had followed up the poignant and socially conscious “Die Tonight.” That was December, and S.udan has dropped two more tracks in the two months since.
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