Tonight’s Concert Picks: Drake at Wells Fargo Center, Emily Yacina at PhilaMOCA, Ween at Festival Pier

Drake | via

Back in July, Toronto rapper Drake set off on his Summer Sixteen tour in support of his fourth album Views, released in late April of this year, and tonight he heads to the Wells Fargo Center tonight for one of two Philadelphia performances on the four month long tour (the next will be his penultimate stop before two final nights in Newark). Grab tickets and more info on this show by heading over to the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the music video for Views’ track “Hotline Bling” below. Continue reading →


Drake’s new album cover is giving us vertigo. Also he’s playing Wells Fargo Center in August.

Cover art for Drake’s Views from the 6

Quite possibly, it was staged or Photoshopped. And if is indeed real, Drizzy was no doubt safety harnessed and secured out the wazoo.[UPDATE: OMG yes it was totally Photoshopped, unless Drake is actually 12 feet tall sitting down.]

But dang, that is one intensely compelling album cover image Drake chose for his long-awaited Views From the 6, out this Friday on Republic Records. The man sitting on the very top of the 1,815-foot tall CN Tower, surveying his hometown of Toronto – as he said on Twitter last night, it’s for “the city I love and the people in it.” It’s a pretty epic, Cloud City-looking structure and expanse, and I’m getting vertigo just looking it. Continue reading →


Drake covered Jackson Browne’s “These Days.” No, we’re actually serious.

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Well those are two names I never expected to type back-to-back in a headline, but this is the world we live in now. Drake, the viral hitmaker / cell phone spokesperson / actor, has gone and covered one of the most covered songs of all time: “These Days,” written by Jackson Browne in the mid 60s and popularized by Nico when it appeared on her 1967 album Chelsea Girl.

Hers was the first officially recorded version of it, though Browne had been performing the song for a few years previous, and it appeared on his 1973 album For Everyman. The Nico version went on to be famously featured in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and “These Days” in general was recorded and / or performed by 10,000 Maniacs, Elliott Smith, Fountains of Wayne, Mates of State, Paul Westerberg, Denison Witmer, The Tallest Man on Earth, and now Drizzy. Continue reading →


Son Little couldn’t resist covering Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and that’s okay with us

Son Little | via
Son Little | via

It’s like the “Blowin’ in the Wind” of this generation, seriously. In the short time since it dropped this summer, there have practically been a bazillion covers, remixes, covers of remixes and remixes of covers of Drake’s uber-catchy megahit “Hotline Bling.” Some people are pissed about it, others are chill with it, and others still contribute to the fire. The latest comes from Philly future-soul singer and guitarist Son Little, who just released his own rendition. Continue reading →


Credit Where Credit Is Due? Drake Instagrams artwork by Philly’s Dewey Saunders without attribution

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

In the social media universe, sharing and re-sharing is the name of the game. Someone’s creative effort can be blasted out to a whole new audience with a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger that takes a fraction of a second.

Unfortunately, in this same universe, things like credit and attribution are handled in a bit more of a fast and loose manner – sometimes accidentally, sometimes out of laziness. Despite our best efforts, we’ve been guilty of it The Key on occasion in the past. We’ve seen it happen to the work of our contributors, too. Broadly speaking, when an artists’ work gets lifted without credit, it is often being presented to a limited audience – somebody’s personal Tumblr, for instance. Other times, it winds up before a whole universe of eyes.

The latter happened yesterday when Philly illustrator Dewey Saunders was re-grammed by rap mega-star Drake. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pattern is Movement at Spruce Street Harbor, Drake at Susquehanna Bank Center, Family Vacation at RUBA

Pattern Is Movement
Pattern Is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

Spruce Street Harbor Park‘s free summer concert series ends tonight with Pattern is Movement.  The duo of Chris Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux got home from touring with Wye Oak just a couple of weeks ago, supporting their own new self-titled record out on the road.  The album took years to complete and was introduced slowly to fans by way of a listening party mash-up at PhilaMOCA last year, where it was paired with an edited screening of There Will Be Blood.  The electronic / R&B duo will perform alongside Moon Bounce tonight.  More information can be found here.

Continue reading →


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2. Exclusive Listen: Amos Lee covers “Some Days Are Diamonds” from The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver

3. Album Premiere: Listen to the debut album by Wild Belle, Isles

4. Download Meek Mills’ Dreamchasers 3 mixtape

5. Download a new Drake song, “All Me,” featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean

6. Ballin’ Oates: Wu-Tang and Kanye West meets Hall & Oates

7. My Morning Download: “Recover” by CHVRCHES

8. Listen to J. Cole’s album Born Sinner

9. Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

10. Listen back to Helen Leicht’s interview with Paul McCartney


Review: Drake’s cosmic hitfest at Wells Fargo Center

Photo by Katrina Murray
Photo by Katrina Murray

Drake fans are pretty loyal. Despite the technical difficulties that prevented the October show from happening, there was a big turnout for the December return of October’s own.

Drake’s silhouette emerged amidst the triumphant sounds of “Tuscan Leather” and its first verse which the rapper delivered passionately like a boxer entering the ring, incapable of defeat. The mood remained celebratory as the hitmaker unleashed Take Care favorites “Headlines” and “Crew Love” before returning to “Tuscan Leather”, this time for the third verse. Vulnerability took the forefront when Drake turned to tracks like “Furthest Thing”, “Own It, and “Connect” from Nothing Was the Same.

Then came the party. Drake (aka most sought after rap collaborator) sent the crowd into full frenzy mode with hits he’s been featured on over the past two years including French Montana‘s “Pop That” (complete with graphics of bare-bottomed Betty Boop-like characters and sensual red lighting), DJ Khaled‘s “No New Friends” and “I’m On One”, 2 Chainz‘s “No Lie”, and most recently Migos‘s “Versace”.

The mere presence of Drake’s voice on these tracks and their subsequent instant success attest to his Midas touch on the rap game. As with any Philly hip-hop event, all you have to do is bring out Meek Mill and cue the music to “Dreams And Nightmares” and you’ll feel the venue shake as the crowd roars each and every lyric. Drake did just that and later brought out show opener Miguel (who had an explosive set of his own) and Future to sing the hook to Lil Wayne’s “Love Me,” which features both rappers. Then they letting Future shine on “Same Damn Time” (which resolved suspicions of why it was missing from his earlier solo set).

Photo by Mike Vasilikos

Switching back to introspection and reflection, Drake offered the crowd “Pound Cake” and “The Motion” then took a quick playful break to do “Come Thru” and before ending the segment with “From Time” where he was joined by stunning R&B newcomer Jhene Aiko whose soft, high-pitched vocals dazzled much like her chiffon dress. The screen above the stage (which provided stellar graphics all night) displayed fireworks interspersed with on-stage shots of Aiko who shined solo as the smoke on the stage whisked Drake away for a costume change. To keep the crowd engaged during the break, the DJ spun snippets of old Drake classics such as “Over”, “Up All Night”, and “Miss Me” from Thank Me Later and “Successful”, “Uptown” and the Lil Wayne-assisted “I’m Goin In” from his 2009 breakthrough mix tape So Far Gone.

Drake turned to the gods for “Hold On, We’re Going Home” as he sang the track dressed in white pants and a light blue graphic tank top amidst white smoke and overhead heaven-drawn visuals of white clouds and sunlight. Despite the change in on-stage attire and scenery, he still represented his rise from underdog status on “Worst Behavior” and “The Language”. The rest of the night found Drake using his levitating circular catwalk for a lengthy segment where he gave shout outs to countless fans in the crowd as they eagerly vied for his attention to the sounds of “305 to My City”. He was joined by surprise guest Big Sean on “All Me” before ending his elaborate, upbeat set with the come-up anthem of the year “Started From the Bottom” ending his Would You Like a Tour? in champagne-popping style.