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The Key Studio Sessions: Taylor Dunn

Philly-bred MC Taylor Dunn got his start in music while playing basketball at LaSalle University, and his rap style has a coolness and focus that probably came in just as handy on the court as it does behind the mic. He debuted in 2011 with the Daydreamin’ mixtape (the one with the catchy Where the Wild Things Are cover art) and followed it up the following year with On the Contrary. Skillful with wit, wordplay and pop culture references – listen to his Key Studio Sessions set for references to Sister ActCarissa Explains it All, the Branch Dividians, old school Nintendo games and more – Dunn’s rhymes are free-associative and fun, and he has impeccable taste in music to mine for beats (with all due credit to his producer and creative partner Philth Spector).

Samples of Erykah Badu, The Roots and old soul records pepper his songs, giving him the vibe of a classic rapper who might have come up at the same time as A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets; “Orange Juice and NowAndLaters,” on the other hand, is positively crunk, and his overall sound and style recalls a young Jay Z…seriously. See below for a video of Dunn performing that last one in our studio, download the entire set and hear more on the new Collective Theory mixtape, available for download now at Soundcloud.

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Watch the East and West Coast inspired video from Philly rapper/producer, Taylor Dunn

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Photo via Philth Spector

Rapper Taylor Dunn recently released a new video for “Supreme,” a song from his 2013 mixtape Collective Theory. Dunn is from State College, PA and graduated from LaSalle Universit here in Philadelphia. The video is directed by Mike Haffey (who has worked with Odd Future in the past) and Mike Koziel.

The track is inspired by both East and West coast musical vibes. The first half of the video is set in Philly and the second half, in Califonia. When the beat drops, it’s instantly infectious and has a soulful sample. Dunn is extremely confident. His rap style is near flawless and he appears comfortable throughout the video. His lyrics are smart, witty, well-crafted and accurate.He references several different cultural figures (Emeril Legasse, Roger Federer, Ray Lewis, Willie Mays) who are all masters of their own craft. Often rappers like to tout themselves as being the best, which more times than not comes off as egotistical. Dunn is no exception to this rule, but he just might be “the top shelf of the Illadelph.” As the sound turns from jazz based hip-hop to 90′s West Coast gangsta rap we hear his true versatility as an artist.

Watch “Supreme” video below and listen to the entire Collective Theory mixtape here

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Lee Fields & The Expressions (and you) to cap off the second annual Make Music Philly on 6/21

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

On June 21st, Make Music Philly presents a full day of free genre-spanning musical performances all throughout the city to ring in summer solstice. The festivities will commence at Love Park where the date will be declared Make Music Philly Day followed by Philly Drum Project‘s “percussion party” where all local drummers can bring their equipment and join the group jam session.

The day will end with a performance by R&B singer Lee Fields & The Expressions at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Fields releases a new album, Emma Jean on June 3rd. Additionally, harmonica players will have a chance to shine as they are invited to join others who play the instrument for a harmonica jam session. Other events represent music across genres in different parts of town including performances from over 150 artists in neighborhoods and venues all around the city of Philadelphia.

Stay up-to-date on all the events happening near you by visiting Make Music Philly’s website beginning May 15th where you can search by neighborhood, genre, and time of day. Below, listen to Fields’ cover of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia” from Fields’ forthcoming record.

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Watch Philly rapper Taylor Dunn flow in various center city locales in “Water”

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 1.51.08 PMLate last year, Philly rapper Taylor Dunn released his latest mixtape, On the Contrary; this week, we got a music video for the single “Water.” In sweeping camera shots around various recognizable (and sometimes not-so-recognizable) center city locales, Dunn – who is a LaSalle basketball player in another life – delivers his free associative, lively rhymes over a punchy beat, owning his hometown and celebrating its grandeur as quickly as its scuffs. Check out the video below and look for a cameo from Key contributor Dan Brightcliffe (aka beatmaker Philth Spector), and find out more about Taylor Dunn at his Twitter.

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