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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. - so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →

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S.T.S. tells fans (and himself) to keep the faith on his latest single

STS
Sugar Tongue Slim

S.T.S. is addressing his fans as well as himself on his brand new track, “Hold On To Faith,” featuring singer Ebony Joi. On the first verse it seems like he’s talking to listeners and loved ones who have rocked with him for so many years, thanking them for their support throughout the struggles of his career and asking them to remain faithful to him as he continues his journey. The second verse sounds as if he’s talking to himself, using his rhymes to remind him of how far he’s come and to have faith that being a rapper is his calling. Continue reading →

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Red Bull Sound Select: See Who’s Playing

Sugar Tongue Slim | Photo by John Vettese
Sugar Tongue Slim | Photo by John Vettese

The Red Bull Sound Select is an live music series sponsored by the wing-dispensing energy drink company it’s named for, in an effort to promote new music and artists in emerging genres and styles. The concert series happens all over the United States and presents lineups consisting of up-and-coming artists alongside national names. This Saturday, September 27th, the Sound Select series, curated for this show by Jump Magazine, brings a varied group of artists, each known for their own unique “spin” on hip-hop, to Underground Arts. The lineup consists of instrumental hip-hop producing and djing icon RJD2, slick-lipped Philly boy  and “GOLD”-affiliated rapper Sugar Tongue Slim, and the Philly minimal electro-funk/soul/jazz/hip-hop/so-many-other-things duo known as Marian Hall. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Sugar Tongue Slim

It’s very fitting that the words “Poet Laureate” are tattooed on Sugar Tongue Slim‘s neck. The charismatic Philly rapper has a way with words, a gift of gab, and it plays tremendously into his music and his persona. Continue reading →

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Illvibe Collective’s new monthly party launches at MilkBoy with STS, Hezekiah and more

S.T.S. | Photo by John Vettese
S.T.S. at the Illvibe Collective party | Photo by John Vettese

“The Philly hip-hop scene needs something fresh,” Hezekiah told the audience at MilkBoy. The Philly MC was in literal master of ceremonies mode at the center city venue last night, hosting the launch of a new party organized by Illvibe Collective that had clever wordsmith S.T.S. (Sugar Tongue Slim) in the headlining spot. Hezekiah explained to the crowd that their goal was a new showcase of the city’s emerging talent that also celebrated its established names on a planned monthly basis. Last night’s kickoff was modestly attended – decent for a Wednesday night though – but the people who went were pumped to be there. “We’re family,” Hezekiah and DJ PHSH said throughout the night, and indeed there was a warm and engaged vibe among the people on the floor, and the talent on stage did not disappoint. Continue reading →

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Listen as S.T.S schools you on social issues in the new We Can Talk Politics & World Affairs EP

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

S.T.S. (aka Sugar Tongue Sllim) recently released his newest EP, We Can Talk Politics & World Affairs, via Bandcamp this week. Earlier this year, the Philly rapper released a cover of Marian Hill’s “One Time” as a part of his In the Lab with GoldRush project.

Featuring his 2013 single “Hell Wrong,” the new EP was produced by the talented local producer and multi-instrumentalist Khari Mateen. The beats are sparse, alien and very effective in accenting S.T.S’s raps. However, it is his socially-conscious lyrics that take the stage, as they rightfully should. Continue reading →

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S.T.S remixes #xpnfest band Marian Hill’s “One Time”

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Rapper S.T.S (better known as Sugar Tongue Slim), has premiered a remix of Marian Hill’s “One Time”. The song is a part of S.T.S’s ongoing “In the Lab with the GoldRush” mixtape project. Last week, S.T.S released a remix Jamie xx’s “Girl”. Previously, S.T.S. released Gold Rush I and II with remixes of songs by artists like Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Kanye West, Fun. and Sleigh Bells.

Marian Hill is a talented, local ambient-electro duo, consisting of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gogol. “One Time” is off of their debut EP Play. Read our review of the EP. The first track from Play, “One Time” has an infectious mix of brass instrumentation, rhythmic beats and sultry vocals. In late March, the duo did an energetic Key Studio Session. Last month, they released the video for “Lovit”, following the release of “One Time”.

S.T.S. takes the insanely catchy beat of “One Time” and raps some sweet lines over it, along the same themes he explored late last year in “Hell Wrong.” The video takes you behind the scenes into S.T.S’s studio, where you can watch DJ BearOne remix the beats and S.T.S. record. The malleable nature of “One Time” points to the elastic nature of Marian Hill, able to transverse between electronic, hip-hop and jazz easily.

Catch Marian Hill at the XPoNential Music Festival on Friday, July 25th. Get more details here. Watch S.T.S’s take on “One Time” below.

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Local rappers Pooda Dappa, Chase Allen, and STS unite for Inner City Country Club this Sunday at Silk City

Photo courtesy of the artists
Photo courtesy of the artists

While associations between the idea of the inner city and that of country clubs may not be immediately recognizable, it all makes sense in the context of local hip-hop’s elite. Inner City Country Club is a project that features collaborations between Philadelphia’s finest talents (rappers, singers, musicians, producers, etc…), embodying the theme of brotherly love.

This Sunday, we’ll see it in action as up-and-coming rappers Pooda Dappa, Chase Allen, and STS share the stage at Silk City in Northern Liberties. Pooda Dappa’s Take Notes EP hit the web in the earlier half of last year while STS dropped quite a few new videos in the latter half from his upcoming project. Allen opened for DMX last summer at The Blockley and released his new album D.A.R.K. in February. Get tickets here.

Continue reading →