Watch a trailer for Meek Mill’s Jay-Z-produced docuseries Free Meek

Meek Mill | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Philly rapper Meek Mill has had a wild career. Following run-ins with the law from his youth and into his adulthood, Mill has seen the dark side of the legal system and is ready to expose its flaws. Teaming up with Jay-Z, Mill has just announced Free Meek, a five-episode docu-series chronicling Mill’s fight for exoneration in his legal case while exposing the broader flaws of the U.S. criminal justice system. Continue reading →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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

4:44 | photo by Brittany Cook | | via

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 →


Kill, Jay-Z: HOVA reigns supreme at Made In America day two with Meek Mill, Japanese Breakfast, Kelela and more

Jay-Z and Meek Mill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two-plus decades into the game, hip-hop icon Jay-Z is still full of surprises. First there was the lowkey release earlier this summer of 4:44, a terrific back-to-basics collection that easily sits along his canonical records Reasonable DoubtThe Blueprint and The Black Album. Then there was yesterday’s closing set at the Made in America Festival.

After a wide ranging, 90-minute performance touching on everything from “Heart of the City” to “H.O.V.A. (Izzo)” to “Hard Knock Life,” Jay swiftly exited the Rocky Stage after dedicating “Numb / Encore” to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The lights around Logan Circle came up, the crowd looked around and, perplexed, shrugged to one another, figuring the show had just come to an abrupt conclusion. As the exodus began, stage lights flickered on over at the festival’s Liberty Stage a little ways down the Parkway. Continue reading →


Since Jay-Z put out an album called 4:44, Jersey prog band 4:44 put out an album called Jay-Z

4:44 | photo via

From the redonkulous news file this morning — a self-professed “shameless marketing technique” from a New Jersey prog / jam three-piece.

See, about three weeks ago, hip-hop icon Jay-Z released his thirteenth studio album, 4:44. It just so happens that this band — singer and guitarist Anthony Friedlander, bassist Greg Mele Jr. and drummer Zach Gormley — is also named 4:44. So they named their new EP JAY-Z.
Continue reading →


Jay-Z prepares for Made in America with 4:44, a blueprint for the new generation

Photo by John Vettese

Rappers from Kendrick Lamar2 Chainz, Migos, Future, Drake, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Wale, Gucci ManeBig BoiVince Staples, Joey Bada$$ have all contributed to making the first half of 2017 a great year for hip hop. And a few weeks ago, rap icon Jay-Z added his own huge contribution by releasing his thirteenth studio album 4:44.

By putting introspective, complicated rhymes over captivating instrumentals, it’s no shocker that the album has received general acclaim from critics and has already gone platinum — thanks to the assistance of Tidal and Sprint — just a week after its release. Continue reading →