Never underestimate the power of a hit. Or 180+ of them, the number of songs that Drake has placed across several smash single forums in his decade working the ropes of the recording biz. For when Drizzy and Atlanta’s Quavo, Offset and Takeoff sold out the first of two shows for its “Aubrey & The Three Migos” showcase at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, there was little for the pairing to do, but perform its wealth of best-known songs. The fact that Philly’s own Meek Mill, Drake’s longtime nemesis, joined the party at the end of Drizzy’s set just made the night that much greater.
Pair up and artist at the top of his game with a trio of fast-rising superstars, and you’ve got one arena-sized show not to miss. Toronto king Drake is readying the release of his fifth LP, and the teaser tracks so far — particularly the Lauryn Hill-sampling “Nice For What” — have been super enticing. Meanwhile, Migos impressed on this winter’s expansive Culture II, their third LP (and second featuring a Drizzy collab, the standout “Walk It Talk It”). Continue reading →
Okay, yes — it was wet. It was muddy at parts. But though yesterday’s climate conditions during Made In America were less than ideal for a celebratory end-of-summer music festival, as Minneapolis rapper Lizzo pointed out during her early afternoon set, there was no room for us to grumble.
“We have a bit of a rain thing going on,” Lizzo said. “But this doesn’t compare to what’s going on in Houston. I’m from Houston originally, I have friends and family who lost everything.”
She encouraged the crowd to donate to relief efforts, and to do so at at the local level as directly as possible. Then she launched into a knockout performance of “Water Me,” a song she said she felt uncertain about playing in the wake of Harvey — “I’m done with water” — but one her Houston loved ones encouraged her to embrace, saying it uplifts them.
So, let’s not dramatize yesterday’s weather. It was soggy, it was a slog to get from point A to point B (but it usually is during MIA, honestly). But the show went on. Continue reading →
Two years after their sensational Tiny Desk win, Tank and the Bangas have returned with a new album, Green Balloon, out today via Verve Forecast. A hip-hop/soul/R&B/poetry (and more) group based in New Orleans, Tank and the Bangas have developed a sound so specific to their identity that calling them “unique” is an understatement. The group is led by Tarriona “Tank” Ball who said on Instagram that Green Balloon explores “every person I was in my life up until now” through the color green. Green balloon, green with envy, green with naiveté, and other interpretations, it’s an exciting idea to see how far the genre-combusting group can stretch the chromatic concept. Considering that many musicians write about identity, i.e. who we are, where we come from, how we are shaped by our experiences, what makes Tank and the Bangas so different? The short answer: everything. Continue reading →
By the looks of it, Toronto punk four-piece PUP is about to spend most of the next year of their life on tour around the world. And deservedly so — their new Morbid Stuff record is their strongest work to date, amplifying and expanding their trademark gang vocal ragers about mental health into sonic territory reminiscent of R.E.M. (the opening title track) and The Hold Steady (listen to frontperson Stefan Babcock get his Craig Finn on during the spoken-sung “Kids”). Continue reading →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer A.D. Amorosi turns to his greyhound Django for another pass at the year’s hits and misses.
After the rush of respect, acclaim and fame from 2017’s The Django Pages at The Key – his critical debut – my fleet greyhound certainly felt a serious sense of responsibility when it came to documenting his continued love affair (and occasional disgust) with the music around him, and the multi-culturalism surrounding that. Plus, he got a gig writing for Pitchfork, something that has, so far, alluded me during my career as an arts journalist.
As it was a weird year (politically, socially), so much of what Django took in, and appreciated/dissected had to be filtered through the noise of rhetoric and correctness. With that came an addition to his usual outward signs of approval and disapproval (relaxed ears or laying with legs akimbo for the former, grimace and growls for the latter): a side-eyed glare as if to say, “c’maan, really?” Many of these looks got shot at me at the sound of anything having to do with Kanye West (from his innumerable rants to his Kids See Ghosts), Asia Argento, Jeff Sessions, 6ix9ine (even though his performance at Made in America was stellar), Larry Krasner and Justin Timberlake (really, just JT’s whole Man in the Woods burly guy routine. Everything else is cool). Continue reading →
In her review of Lucy Dacus’ Historian, Key writer Sarah Hojsak uses a vivid phrase that sums up both the record, as well as the emotional landscape of 2018: “desperately sad but never hopeless.”
Oh, wait, I’m sorry…would you describe your year as happy? That must be nice, good on you. For many of us, it’s not as straightforward: the toxicity of the country at this moment in history, and the various players that fuel that toxicity, has a draining effect, whether you’re a marginalized person who is in the line of fire or an empathetic soul who is distressed from afar. There’s also the let-down: the pouring of our energies into something to watch it fail, whether personal or public.
And yet we experience moments of joy throughout it all: weddings are had, families are started, a breathtaking sunset is observed from the westbound platform of the Berks Avenue el stop. And there’s music, a constant source of joy and comfort that centers our lives. Continue reading →
After a three-year beef that began with a single tweet, Drake and Meek Mill have called a truce. During his Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour stop in Boston on Saturday, Drake brought out the Philly rapper for a performance of “Dreams and Nightmares” and the two even embraced onstage. Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
This year was already off to a pretty good start, musically speaking, but at some point around the beginning of last month things really started popping off. By which I mean we started getting a steady stream of bright, shiny, undeniable capital-P Pop music, the kind of stuff that’s going to become truly indispensable / inescapable come summertime – which, for all intents and purposes is basically already here – and which will likely wind up defining 2018 in our memories forevermore. And I’m digging it! First off, we got Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy, which was not just a major cultural event but also way more fun than I would’ve expected, and has been rightly celebrated as such across the board. (Truly, if you haven’t at least heard the made-for-the-summer Latin-pop sizzler “I Like It,” featuring Bad Bunny & J. Balvin, do yourself the favor – also, she’s coming to town in September with Bruno Mars.) Then there was Drake, of course, replacing himself at the top of the charts with “Nice For What” and having more fun than he’s had in ages (maybe ever?), even if at least half of the song’s appeal is down to that Lauryn Hill sample. (He’s also got an album on the way, and a just-announced September Philly date with Migos.) Continue reading →
First and foremost, a huge thank you to every single teacher out there for all of their hard work. Without them, we all wouldn’t be where we are today. Tuesday was Teacher Appreciation Day, and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon did something pretty freakin’ awesome to celebrate.
Fallon pulled a few teachers from the audience to ask a little about themselves. Afterward, each teacher was serenaded with a song about themselves by Philly’s hip-hop heroes The Roots. Lead MC Black Thought’s freestyling skills shined, incorporating “ABC” by the Jackson 5, “Stir Fry” by Migos, and “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. I was LOLing when Questlove ad-libbed during the Stir Fry when he shouts “French Fry” — It was perfect. Continue reading →