Legendary rap duo Mobb Deep head to Philly tonight for a show at The Blockley. Known for their dark lyrics, Mobb Deep became rap icons in the 90s and, minus a brief breakup, have been making great music for the past twenty years. They are geared up to release a new album very soon. Playing along with up-and-coming Philly rapper Mic Stewart, this is one Sunday show you can’t afford to miss.
Philly rapper Mic Stewart isn’t an easy guy to pin down. He’s a tall, somewhat scruffy fellow with a long ponytail – but as the hook in “Peaceworld (Outro)” goes, “long hair / don’t care.” Like as if to say he won’t let himself to get caught up in your backpacker pigeonholes, something he addresses more directly in the snappy single “I’m Not From Brooklyn” (performed in a jammin’ medley during our Key Studio Session with two other cuts from his new Peaceworld LP). Aside from addressing stereotypes and presuppositions, Stewart’s music focuses heavily on a Zen-like drive for inner peace and self-discovery via razor-sharp rhymes – as the story goes, he dropped out of college to focus on his musical dreams, and after a heard-fought year (and collaboration with DJ Stradegy, who backs him in these recordings) he ultimately won a Red Bull-sponsored freestyle competition and began playing stages as broad-ranging as the 2012 Roots Picnic, Chill Moody’s landmark headlining gig at the TLA in December, and this weekend’s show at The Blockley with Mobb Deep (enter to win tickets here). At the risk of saddling him with the equally loaded, constrictive “positive hip-hop” label, there is something positive about Mic Stew’s music, message and story. Dig into it below.
Every summer, many a Philadelphia hip-hop fan is disappointed as they miss out on Rock The Bells in NYC, due to either distance or the $100+ ticket prices. Thankfully though, the organizers of the four-city festival took note this year, and partnered with promoters Guerrilla Union and House of Blues Entertainment to organize a very one of a kind tour featuring some of the iconic RTB artists. There will be two separate legs of the tour, the first of which stops in Philly tonight and will feature Raekwon and Ghostface Killah performing their 1995 hit album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, as well as duo Mobb Deep performing their breakout LP The Infamous from the same year. The second leg of the Rock The Bells tour will stop in Philly on September 11th at the TLA. That date will feature Black Star (aka Mos Def and Talib Kweli) performing their 1998 collaborative album Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. Damn! Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Mobb Deep perform at the TLA at 7:00 p.m.; tickets to the all-ages show are $42.