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Jam out to the latest from Dice Raw, “How Will I Know”

Dice Raw | Via diceraw.net

Rapper, educator, activist and longtime Roots crew affiliate Dice Raw has been producing and promoting his hip-hop musical The Last Jimmy at various venues around Philly for the past couple years. But that’s not all he’s been up to.

We’ve seen him pop up at Bahamadia’s 20th anniversary gig at Johnny Brenda’s earlier this year, at the Roots Picnic (naturally) and occasionally with a new studio joint. Today we’ve got one called “How Will I Know,” which showed up on Spotify this week. Continue reading →

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Dice Raw premieres heartbroken “Sabrina” on Okayplayer

dice raw
Dice Raw | photo via Okayplayer

Dice Raw is back with his first new material since Jimmy’s Back, premiered on Okayplayer. Anchored by a crunchy synth and drum beat, “Sabrina” is a funky, smooth track that sees The Roots crew member rapping about a lost love. Dice tells the story of a guy who supposedly changes his ways after meeting a girl, only to have her disappear from his life one morning after she goes through his phone. He sings her name over and over in an attempt to call her back to him, but the melancholiness of the track leaves us to believe that probably won’t happen. Check it out on Spotify below.

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PREMIERE: Dice Raw joins hip hop duo Koncept & J57 on “Live Forever”

Koncept
​Koncept & J57 | photo by Matthew Sorensen

As often happens in the New York City way of life, a serendipitous meeting at a holiday party in Manhattan grew into a collaboration for hip hop duo Koncept & J57 and Dice Raw of The Roots. The song is “Live Forever,” taken from the duo’s forthcoming The Fuel EP, and we have the premiere of that track today.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dice Raw at Silk City, Ode to Omni’s Stevie Wonder Tribute at World Cafe Live, Seinabo Sey at Underground Arts

Dice Raw | via diceraw.net

As a sort of warm-up to this weekend’s Roots Picnic, Roots crew affiliate Dice Raw plays a set tonight at Silk City. If you’ve never seen him live, Dice cuts a charismatic figure and we can expect to hear songs from his records Jimmy’s Back and The Greatest Rapper Never, some of his Roots tracks and other collabs. Tickets and more information on the show can be found here. Continue reading →

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Dice Raw’s hip-hop musical The Last Jimmy will show at the Prince Theater next month

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

After the death of the Prince Theater’s board chairman and chief fundraiser, Herb Lotman, it seemed that the theater would be closing its doors for good. But next month, the Prince will be showcasing a new hip-hop musical, “THE LAST JIMMY!”

A stage performance created by local playwright Phillip Brown in collaboration rapper and Roots affiliate Dice Raw, it is based in part on Dice’s socially-charged Jimmy’s Back mixtape, which is a call-to-arms against mass incarceration. In turn, the mixtape and musical were inspired by Dr. Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, a study of race and the American prison system.  Continue reading →

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Dice Raw heads to Eastern State Penitentiary to discuss Jimmy’s Back on July 1st

dice-raw
Photo courtesy of the artist

Last year, Philly MC (and Roots crew affiliate) Dice Raw released a masterpiece concept album called Jimmy’s Back, in which Dice raps about the issues involved in the country’s prison system. Taking cues from Dr. Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book The New Jim Crow, the album creatively looks at how prisons disproportionately incarcerate black men and does little to prepare inmates for life in society once they’re released. In honor of this meaningful and culturally significant album, Dice Raw will head to Philly’s Eastern State Penitentiary for a performance, as well as a discussion on the impact the prison system has on the black community and society as a whole. The performance / talk is free and open to the public. Information on the event can be found here.

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Download Dice Raw’s “Runaways” from his (still in-progress) Jimmy’s Back

dicerawThis summer we were drawn in by the thought-provoking songs Roots crew affiliate Dice Raw leaked, all in promotion of Jimmy’s Back, a concept album taking a critical look at the prison system. It was set to drop in August, but when August came, the album never showed up. Today Okayplayer.com reports that it is still a work in progress, but it’s firmly due out on October 15th. Meanwhile, it shared an outtake from the Jimmy’s Back sessions for free download. On “Runaways” Dice pans away from the world of former prisoners finding their legs in society to study a different central character – a woman chasing dreams in Hollywood, but getting caught up in the rat race. It’s got appropriately cinematic strings and some alluring voiceover narrations in the mix; check it out below.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Dice Raw, Ape School, Diego Garcia

danafalconberry

Folkadelphia presented an otherworldly session from Dana Falconberry this week.  The Austin-based musician performed songs from her latest Leelanau LP alongside two tracks .  Stream and download “Crooked River” below and visit the Folkadelphia Bandcamp page here for the full session.

Local rapper Dice Raw is the subject of this week’s Key Studio Session.  The socially conscious artist has a new record called Jimmy’s Back, a project that looks at race and the U.S. prison system in a catchy and narrative style.  Dice Raw’s session pulls songs from the new album as well as two tracks from The Roots’ catalog.  Stream and download “Marching to the Beat of a Drum” below and get the full session here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Dice Raw

It’s rare that somebody can evenly straddle the worlds of social critic and entertainer, but man, Dice Raw pulls it off. A longtime affiliate of The Roots crew who in recent years struck out on his own with the Philly-centric Raw Life imprint, Dice’s focus these past few months has been the new solo LP Jimmy’s Back. It moves in step with Dr. Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book The New Jim Crow, a study of race and the the U.S. prison system, and Dice not only manages to make the subject matter compelling, but utterly catchy. As we hear in his Key Studio Session – performed with a production hand care of Khari Mateen, who we featured last week – the music can be moving and emotional (“Marching to the Beat of a Drum,” “Over”) as easily as it can have a hooky bounce to it (“Never,” which riffs on tUnE-yArDs’ “Gangsta” to tremendous effect). Meanwhile, Dice the narrator never lets his guard down. He spins stories, creates real-life illustrations of Alexander’s points, and even blurs the lines to the utmost on “Animal.” Is this a silly riff on Sinatra and showtunes? Is Dice playing a character? More like he’s theatrically catching your attention to make a point, and it’s one worth listening too. Bonus: the inclusion of two Roots cuts in his setlist (“Lighthouse” and “Now or Never”) was unexpected and awesome. Listen below, look for the release of Jimmy’s Back in its entirety on August 19th, and catch Dice Raw tonight at the City Hall Presents free concert series.

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head