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MH the Verb talks marginalization and hope in Afrofuturistic “Yo America” video

MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Pittsburgh native and Philly based rapper MH the Verb recently dropped a music video for his song “Yo America,” from his latest project Afronaut. The Afronaut LP is about a Black heroine who travels back in time to our present, to uplift and empower us. The music videos for the LP help narrate the story of the Afronaut’s journey.

The music video follows the main character as she wanders around a warehouse of books (Fishtown’s Bookspace) periodically breaking into dance, before meeting MH the Verb at the end. The video was released this February to add to the Black History Month celebration. Continue reading →

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MH the Verb and Buscrates blast off with a new interstellar project Afronaut

MH the Verb | via facebook.com/mhtheverbmusic

Thought-provoking rapper MH the Verb — who splits his time between Philly and the West Coast these days — has returned with an intriguing 11 track multi-media project entitled Afronaut. The album, which he first teased with a music video this summer, follows a fictional black sci-fi hero who travels from the future to warn the world about all the problems we are headings towards. Afronaut is a calculated and conceptually challenging album because it delves into many different realms of society: racism, domestic violence, politics, and more. Continue reading →

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Watch MH The Verb get real and groovy in his recorded performance at The Boom Room

MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If you missed Marcus Harris aka MH the Verb’s set at the Boom Room last Sunday, the prolific rapper’s got a gift for you — you can still catch the entire performance from a Facebook live recording.

Throughout the set, things get real funky, real reggae-filled, real zesty, and just plain real as MH the Verb and crew dose some social-consciousness upon the crowd, along with later remixing a track into an entertaining genre-swap mashup. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: West Philadelphia Orchestra at Spruce Street Harbor Park, MH the Verb’s Vibe House at South Bowl, Laser Background at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

west philadelphia orchestra
West Philadelphia Orchestra | photo courtesy of the artist

West Philadelphia Orchestra are this week’s featured headliner at Spruce Street Harbor Park’s Waterfront Sessions. The mammoth sized crew will be rocking two sets of their horn-heavy Balkan dance. Check out info for the show on the Facebook event page, and watch their Tiny Desk Concert entry below. Continue reading →

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Watch MH The Verb and Arthouse 95’s sci-fi visual for “Traffic,” see them at South Bowl

MH the Verb | via facebook.com/mhtheverbmusic

Rapper Marcus Harris, aka MH the Verb, relocated from Philly to the west coast earlier this year — but he returns east this spring, with a sci-fi tinged new project in tow.

Afronaut is LP made in collaboration with the electronic music ensemble Buscrates that, through sounds and visuals, will dissect the consumerism of 21st century American society through the eyes of a traveler from another time. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: MH the Verb’s top ten “woke” songs of 2016

MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, Philly rapper MH the Verb shares his favorite social conscious cuts of the year.

Backpacker. Underground. Conscious rapper. Alternative. All code names and terms used over the years to identify a sub culture of artists in hip-hop that can be simply defined by economics – broke. That characterization may be unfair to some standouts like midwest MC / producer, Tech N9ne, Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco, Queens legend Nas and a few select others who have found success in niche markets, but overall, making music with a conscious message hasn’t been the fab for those trying to sell millions and find themselves on Forbes’ Cash King List.

Historically, reflections of social and political struggle have always fueled popular music. Decades ago artists like James Brown, Gil Scot-Heron and Marvin Gaye provided the soundtrack for black empowerment during the civil rights movement. In the 1960’s, anti-war poems were beautifully crafted into lyrics by songwriters like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Today, we still “Imagine” John Lennon’s vision of a peaceful world, but it just so happens to be followed on our playlist by N.W.A’s horrific description of what it’s like “Straight Outta Compton.”

While American popular music has always maintained a certain rich history of social commentary, it has seemed over the last couple of decades that commercialism has caused a shift, relegating music with conscience messages into a subcategory opposite the mainstream. In hip-hop especially, artists have drawn a line, leading some commercially successful artists to shy away from exploring deeper topics and more meaningful concepts, leaving many fans to wonder what could have been. As giants of the genre, like Jay-Z have famously acknowledged the divide, it has become more than just an idea – it has become the norm. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: MH The Verb at Silk City, Diana at Boot and Saddle and A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s

MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist
MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia jazz-inspired hip-hop artist MH The Verb plays tonight at Silk City. The rapper recently released a video for his song “Last Dance” commemorating the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut in collaboration with his production collective ArtHouse95. Check out the video for “Last Dance” below and click here for more information and tickets. Continue reading →

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MH the Verb reflects on the one year anniversary of the Paris and Beirut attacks with “Last Dance in Paris”

MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist
MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist

Philly artist MH The Verb has his feet firmly planted in various jazz, hip-hop and communities all along the east coast, and they converge in his most recent video — along with reflections on world events. “Last Dance in Paris,” which MH (offstage name: Marcus Harris) performed for his Key Studio Session this summer, is dedicated to the victims of both the Paris and Beirut terrorist attacks, and was released on their one-year anniversary. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: MH the Verb x ArtHouse95

Marcus Harris has bounced around the east coast quite a bit over the past few years, absorbing a tapestry of sounds and ideas. A hip-hop kid from Florida, he got his start mixing live instrumentation with DJ-based rap while going to college in Pittsburgh, performing in the band Beatz ‘n’ Verbz. When that crew split and he moved to Philly, his new persona MH the Verb was in full effect. He dropped a bunch of funky Bandcamp mixtapes and gigged at spots like World Cafe Live while holding down a day job at a boutique record label.

Later, a stint in New York inspired him to stretch the project further into the multimedia realm. The long MTA rides from his place in The Bronx to the gallery and studio community in Brooklyn gave him a lot of time to think and plan. The song “Melly’s Walls,” which he performed in this week’s Key Studio Session, was inspired by arriving at a gallery gig early and watching as the artists hung their work on the walls; lyrics were written on the spot, and the song was recorded the next day and released on 2014’s The Balloon Guide.

These days, MH is back in Philly, and has been doing some great stuff with the production collective ArtHouse95. Continue reading →

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MH The Verb and GR Stone present ArtHouse95 with Owl EP

MH The Verb | Photo by Crystal Engel
MH The Verb | Courtesy of the artist – Photo by Crystal Engel

Marcus Harris (aka MH The Verb) is a Philadelphia based rapper/producer/DJ and the front man for ArtHouse 95, a band and occasional multimedia arts collective that features his production partner/multi­-instrumentalist GR Stone and producer/engineer George “Cylon” Casseus along with a fluid membership that is made up of a network creatives stretching alongside the I­-95 highway.

Sitting in the basement of Harris’ Fishtown home (which doubles as a production studio where the crew write songs and produce beats) Stone explains the concept behind the ArtHouse95 movement.

“95 symbolically represents I­-95. We have a strong connection with artists from New York, down to Philly, D.C. all up and down that spine that runs down the East Coast,” he says.

Continue reading →