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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 →

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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.

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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 →

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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 | racheldelsordophotography.com

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 →

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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.
Continue reading →

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S.udan reflects on personal complexities in “The Difference”

S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist
S.udan | photo by Tayo Junior | tayojr.com | courtesy of the artist

The collaboration between S.udan and producer Pace-O Beats just continues to bear fruit. The Philly rapper tells us that after a year and change of being dormant, he’s ready to get back into the musical swing, and will be releasing new songs on the regular over the coming months. Following up the powerful “Die Tonight,” a meditation on the difficult choices that confront young black men on a daily basis, he returns with “The Difference.” Continue reading →

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16 Philly songs we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving 2016

Camp Candle | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | courtesy of the artist
Camp Candle | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | courtesy of the artist

As always, we’re thankful for Philadelphia music on this Thanksgiving day. The amount of talent in the scene is immense, and continues to flourish. But moreso, this year we’re thankful for Philadelphia artists who imbue their music with a message.

There’s a lot of unease in the country and the world right now. This Thanksgiving, Native American citizens are clashing with authorities at Standing Rock for standing up against energy companies. Members of marginalized communities around the country are uncertain and afraid in the wake of the election. Going further back, there are numerous instances throughout the year where injustice and inequality have manifested into violence of various degrees.

I still have enough faith in humanity to think that the majority of Americans don’t wish harm on any of our fellow people. But I also know that a lot of us don’t want to think about these things when our lives are not directly affected. Particularly at the holidays, which are times for togetherness and family. Particularly from musicians and music writers. It’s a refrain I’ve seen a lot the past few weeks — “I don’t want to hear protest songs that preach politics to me, I want music that helps me escape from all the negativity in the world.”

I feel that there’s a middle way. Continue reading →

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S.udan goes deep on his powerful new single “Die Tonight”

S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist
S.udan | photo by Tayo Junior | tayojr.com | courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper S.udan caught our ear three summers ago when he’d just graduated high school and released his debut track, “Away,” under the name JustXSudan. It was a rumination on music as life and at the time we called it “a fully-formed slice of philosophical hiphop that has this 18-year-old spitter looking like he’s poised to do great things.”

We’re a few years down the line, and while S.udan is biding his time on releasing a full project, he has built on the promise of “Away” one track at a time, with each new song topping the last. This summer, he partied on the stage in front of a packed TLA as part of the Sylk130 reunion show — his first time performing in front of a serious crowd — and he just followed it up with his latest single, “Die Tonight.” Continue reading →