Known for their energetic performances, Philly hip-hop collective Hardwork Movement will bring the party to Underground Arts tonight; Kuf Knotz also plays. The band recently released For The People, their first recording as a full band. Hardwork Movement members Becca Imani and Dani Gershkoff recently joined The Key to perform an a cappella rendition of “Don’t Block the Sun” — listen below, and watch the full band Key Studio Sessions performance of “Walk It Off”. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Sunday, October 8th, 2017. It’s technically autumn, but the weather is still warm, comfortable — if a little wet, care of a lingering shower from the morning hours. Philadelphians are exploring the nooks and crannies of City Hall, at the nexus of Broad and Market Streets — from the Dilworth Plaza Oktoberfest market to installations of Mural Arts’ Monument Lab project.
In the catacombs of the building’s east passageway, Becca Imani and Dani Gershkoff of Hardwork Movement find a resonant alcove to perform a song a cappella. Normally, they’re part of the instrumental sprawl of local hip-hop collective Hardwork Movement, playing trumpet and flute and contributing vocals to their bandmates’ fierce rhymes. But for one song — the elegant “Don’t Block the Sun” — they take center stage, and them alone. And it always slays. Even as the sounds of the city’s cars and subway trains provide a rumbling accompaniment, Graham and Gershkoff are locked in the serenity zone, singing about (and radiating) inner strength. Continue reading →
Friday the 13th is about to get a big dose of spooky off-kilter oddity, courtesy of longstanding local experimental rockers, Upholstery. The puppet-speckled crew will take over Johnny Brenda’s on this hallowed, eerie day to celebrate their band’s self-described “sordid and salacious past.” Continue reading →
Tomorrow night, Philly hip-hop luminaries Hardwork Movement headline their biggest hometown show to date at Underground Arts. Tomorrow morning, they’re dropping a new project — For The People, their first collection of songs recorded as a full band.
Tonight, the Movement gave us their first taste of that record in the form of “Like This.” Continue reading →
Okay, seriously, can we talk for a minute about how great Hardwork Movement was at XPNFest yesterday? From the opening “City Bars” to a freestyle over an Anderson.Paak bassline, Chill Moody and Joie Kathos joining in to cover Future and the always incredible closer “Living Legend,” the Philly hip-hop crew brought a ridiculous amount of energy to the Marina Stage for only 12:30 in the afternoon. (Seriously — listen back here.)
Hardwork Movement is a hip-hop ensemble rooted in community and positivity, and they definitely showed up with the good vibes flowing for their performance on the last day of this year’s XPN Fest. As the performance began, those in the audience not familiar with the group would be excused for thinking it was one-man show with a backing band. That is, until a second emcee joined in. Then another…then another. By the end of the first song the whole of Hardwork Movement had joined on the stage nine performers strong. Continue reading →
Day Three of the Firefly Music Festival brought out superstar performances from Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper, and The Weeknd, but it also brought out some of Philly’s finest including Mondo Cozmo, Chill Moody, Hardwork Movement, Vita and the Woolf, and a DJ set from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some great sets by Bishop Briggs, Sunflower Bean, and Kesha. Continue reading →
“High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.
Philly’s newest live-hip-hop collective is working this Spring on perhaps their most ambitious project to date. Historically, where Hardwork Movement’s live shows boast a full band with woodwinds and brass, their albums feature produced beats. But as MC Sterling Duns explains, for the first time, the crew has recently brought their whole band into the studio, determined to document the energy and sound of their shows with their first live recording. As Duns puts it, they wanted to “capture that, bottle that up, so people can take that home with them.”
Packaging the magic of being there into any medium can be challenging, especially when it comes to a crew like this one. The biggest thing about Duns, Jeremy Keys, RB Ricks and Rick Banks — the thing that comes across so immediately and infectiously in person (and, it’s pertinent to note here, what any written interview might also stand to lose, in translation) is their chemistry, the personality of each of the four of them as individuals that informs the rapport and the charm of the group as a whole as well. These longtime friends share history, and the love for music and for their hometown that serves organically to shape their shows, their compositions, their productions and performances, all styled with a wide and eclectic range of artistic influences.
They’ll play World Cafe Live Tuesday night for NPR Music’s sold-out Tiny Desk Philly concert. Later in the month, they’ll return to one of their favorite venues, Johnny Brenda’s, and for the first time will be featured at Firefly Festival in Dover this Summer, among other appearances this year. And in the meantime, they’re working toward a new album, and toward their commitments to supporting and mentoring the students of Play On Philly’s youth orchestra program too. Continue reading →
The all-Philly lineup will feature two hip-hop bands near and dear to The Key’s hearts. ILL DOOTS, a South Philly collective that just recorded a Key Studio Session last month, will perform after delivering an impressive Tiny Desk submission featuring their stirring and socially conscious anthem “Black Matter.” Hardwork Movement, a band we’ve loved since hearing their first single “Shine” a year and a half ago, is also on the bill on the strength of their breathtaking new “Becca’s Jam,” making its debut in their Tiny Desk submission. Two more artists will be announced closer to the event; stay tuned for more on that. Continue reading →