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From Black Lily to Ladies Night, S.T.S.’ Philly roots run deep

STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

Whether you’re calling him STS or Sugar Tongue Slim, this rapper been a mainstay in the Philadelphia scene for over a decade — so much so that it can be easy to forget that he was born and bred in Atlanta.  He even names the Philadelphia Eagles as his favorite football team.

When it comes to hip-hop in Philly, you often hear artist tout how the City of Brotherly Love holds them back — that living here is like being a crab in a barrel. Typically our artists can be found taking up new residence in places like LA and New York, and very seldom do you come across an out-of-town rapper that has made Philadelphia his permanent residence with no plans to relocate. STS tells us that it’s all because of a little thing called Black Lily.

If you are 30 or over and know even an ounce about the neo soul scene that was developing in Philly during the late 90’s to early 2000’s, then you know what he’s talking about. Black Lily was a weekly woman-centric open mic that took place at The 5 Spot — and if you were a regular, it was nothing to catch an intimate set from the likes of Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, or The Roots. Black Lily was where STS fell in love with the city.

“That place was magic,” said STS. “The first night I went there, was supposed to be my last night in Philly. I never left.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Joie Kathos and Armani White

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Joie Kathos and DJ Bear One | Photo by John Vettese

Like I said the other day: one thing Philly music industry startup RECphilly is amazing at is inspiring artists to collaborate. We saw that happen the first time we worked with them on a live audience Key Studio Session this summer; we saw it happen in a bigger way the second time around, which we present to you today.

Featuring an intimate crowd of about 50 fans and two rising stars of the Philly hip-hop scene, Joie Kathos and Armani White (plus a set from Milton and his band, which we’ll release a little later this fall), it was a hugely positive night of charismatic performance and impressive skill. And that’s before the improv cypher even began. Continue reading →

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STS & RJD2 release bonus track “High Life” from collaborative debut

RJD2 & STS | Photo via Facebook.com/RJD2
RJD2 & STS | Photo via Facebook.com/RJD2

The debut album of eclectic Philly duo RJD2 & STS has even more to offer a month after it’s release: bonus track “High Life.” The new track is a soulful set of braggadocio from STS over a dreamy, funk-driven back beat provided by RJD2. The new track is a leftover from the group’s debut STS x RJD2, which garnered critical praise for STS’s expansive rhymes and RJD2’s soulful and jazzy beats. The chemistry between the two Philly musicians is easily heard throughout the album and is highlighted on the new “High Life.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: STS at Underground Arts, Belle and Sebastian at The Tower Theater, B.C. Camplight at Union Transfer and more

STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie
STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie

Philly rapper STS (aka Sugar Tongue Slim) opens the stacked lineup tonight at Underground Arts, joining Heems of Das Racist and Afrobeat electronic group The Very Best. This is STS’ first Philly show since the release of his latest, STS x RJD2, and the collaborative album joins his witty and oft-introspective rhymes with RJD2’s funky, party-ready backings and the occasional surprise guest hook from, oh, I don’t know, Amos Lee. Tickets and more info on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Watch STS and RJD2 perform alongside the West Philadelphia Orchestra in new music video

STS and RJD2 | Photo via facebook.com/RJD2
STS and RJD2 | Photo via facebook.com/RJD2

We rejoiced earlier this month when two of Philly’s finest, rapper Sugar Tongue Slim and electronic artist RJD2, released their collaboration album. All 12 tracks on STS x RJD2 hold brilliant musical detours, with the duo marking their territory with hints of hip hop, jazz, soul, pop, etc.

Holding these local musicians near and dear, we’re ecstatic to see the Philly-centric vibe going on in their latest released video for the album’s opening track, “Doin’ It Right.” Continue reading →

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Coming Next Week: World Cafe brings you Sense Of Place Philly

STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie
STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie

After World Cafe‘s Sense of Place series has travelled all around the world, we decided to come home.  Starting Monday, we spend the week of our Sense of Place Philly scratching the surface of all the incredible music our home city has produced in the past, and particularly  right now.

Philadelphia is having a musical moment.  There are so many factors that support that. We asked our WXPN staff what they loved about our city and three things came up over and over.  The parks and open space: Philadelphia is home to Fairmount Park a giant system of green space.  The neighborhoods: affordable housing abounds whether you live in Fishtown, West Philadelphia or Mt Airy and we love our neighborhoods. The third item? Why, beer, of course. Philadelphia is craft brew heaven.

This environment has helped foster the bands we will hear this week. Continue reading →

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Listen to Amos Lee collaborate with RJD2 and STS on “Don’t Get Played”

 

RJD2 and STS | via Facebook.com/RJD2
RJD2 and STS | via Facebook.com/RJD2

The new album by Philly electronic artist RJD2 and local rapper Sugar Tongue Slim was already a dream collaboration, but add in one of our favorite local soul singer-songwriters, Amos Lee? Wow.

On “Dont Get Played” Lee’s smooth vocals and elegant hook gives way to the equally-smooth rap from STS, whose rhymes center around love and loyalty, breaking up and making up and everything in between. It’s a standout soul/rap/jazzy/electronic hybrid where all three artists prove they’re not messing around. Continue reading →

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The Bul Bey added to night three of Key Fest

The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com
The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com

The first ever Key Fest is just around the corner, with three nights worth of impressive local artists curated by The Key kicking off at MilkBoy starting April 23.

The latest hype is that Philly rapper The Bul Bey will be joining us for the third day of the fest, alongside Brielle, Jacqueline Constance and Tiana Victoria. Unfortunately Sugar Tongue Slim had to drop off the festival due to a scheduling conflict, and while we’ll miss him, this is still a lineup you can’t miss. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. – so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →

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Key Fest

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Key Fest 2015

The Key is excited to announce the inaugural Key Fest, taking place at MilkBoy on April 23rd to April 25th. The three nights of local music will showcase a variety of genres that thrive in Philadelphia, from hip hop and pop punk to singer-songwriter and folk rock.

The opening night will feature sets by indie punk duo Slingshot Dakota, XPN Fest alums Commonwealth Choir and power pop trio Hurry, followed by the folkier side of the city on Friday with Dylan JaneRosu Lup and The Lawsuits. Key Fest wraps up on Saturday with a look at the hip-hop and R&B scenes, represented by Jacqueline ConstanceBrielle , Tiani Victoria andSugar Tongue Slim. Additional special guests are still waiting to be announced, so stay tuned for updates.

A WXPN Member pre-sale is taking place on Thursday 3/12, with general public, single-day tickets releasing 3/13 at 10:00 a.m. A limited number of three-day passes are also available.

[Tickets Here]

 

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