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Five mixtapes from the Philly hip hop scene you need to hear right now

Yikes the Zero: a Philly hip hop artist to watch
Yikes the Zero | Photo by Dom Savini | DomSavini.com

A couple weeks ago, I was trading Twitter messages with King Shampz, a Philly rapper on the come-up, and he said something that really struck me. “I’m trying to show people that there’s more to this city than Meek Mill.” With all due respect to Meek and everything he’s done in drawing outside eyes to the Philly hop hop scene, there are so many talented MCs on the grind and so few who get to the level of recognition as him. Or, say, the level of The Roots – though it should be noted, even they took 15 years to reach celebrity status. It can be a tough road, but the Philly hip hop community is a hotbed of talent, and people should sit up and listen, even when they’re not names you’ll recognize. (Especially when they’re not names you’ll recognize.) Here’s a rundown of five releases / Bandcamp EPs / mixtapes from the Philadelphia scene that impressed me this summer, and why you should lend them your ears. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free mp3s, incl. Dave Hause, Strand of Oaks, Kate Faust

Dave Hause
Dave Hause | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

NYC Taper paid a visit to the XPoNential Music Festival to record the Saturday performances, capturing the sets of wonderful acts like Dave Hause and Hurray for the Riff Raff.  Both of those recordings are now available to download for free.  Take a listen to “Here It Comes” by HFTRR below and download both complete sets here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: ReeK Da Rookie

I’m not a lyrics-first listener. By that I mean that while lyrics are undeniably important to music, and most of my favorite musicians are also incredible lyricists, the initial thing I listen for when putting on a piece of music for the first time is, well, the music. So when I put on Philly rapper / producer ReeK Da Rookie‘s debut mixtape F.a.n.T.a.s.Y. for the first time, I was struck by the way he structured the songs, the way he paced the album. The way he mixed highly accessible pop with seriously introspective rhymes, the sentimental in-between-track samples of children and families, the general sense of warmth as he explored themes of dreams and aspirations, the challenges of life, and personal identity. As the album faded down in my headphones, I thought “Wow, this reminds me so much of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

The next time through, the point of listening when lyrics usually begin jumping out at me, I noticed a line on the opening title track that I had not heard on the first go-round: “With Lauryn Hill’s ‘Zion’ on repeat I can’t thank you enough for not deciding to retreat.” My read was right; he pretty much spelled it out for me and I didn’t realize. Continue reading →

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Download an excellent new mixtape, F.a.n.T.a.s.Y, by ReeK Da Rookie

Reek
ReeK Da Rookie AKA Rookie McFly has released an excellent new mixtape, F.a.n.T.a.s.Y. The album features some of our local faves including Chill Moody, FreeWay, Beano, Reef The Lost Cauze, Kuf Knotz, Cody Khamar, Tiani Victoria, and Andrew Meoray. The album has a soulful, melodic vibe, and an impressive depth of musicality. String arrangements augment songs like “Day DReaming,” acoustic guitars sprinkle throughout “Hide-a-Away,” vibes and a touch of sultry sax lay down a late night mood on “ReGrets.” The mixtape is near perfect from start to finish.

Check out our interview we did with the rapper and producer here.

Download/stream the F.a.n.T.a.s.Y mixtape below.