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Watch The Bul Bey throw down in a high-energy set for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show

The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href=http://racheldelsordophotography.com target="_blank">racheldelsordophotography.com</a>
The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly rapper The Bul Bey had a busy couple days last week. After kicking off the Beyond the Bars benefit concert at World Cafe Live, Bey returned to the venue’s upstairs stage on Tuesday April 19th to throw down at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show.

Bob Boilen and his team brought their popular video contest on the road this spring, and threw a party for a sold-out crowd upstairs at World Cafe Live that featured three standouts from the crop of 131 Philly submissions. Bey took the stage in the middle and immediately got the crowd moving with a high-energy performance backed by DJ John Morrison (a contributor to The Key), delving into his 2015 project Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies and telling the stories behind them. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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Celebrate Philly’s Tiny Desk standouts with Tutlie, The Bul Bey, Joy Ike and NPR Music at World Cafe Live

Tutlie
Tutlie | Photo by Morgan Smith | courtesy of the artist

NPR’s All Songs Considered crew is taking their popular Tiny Desk Concert series on the road, landing in Philadelphia on April 19th at World Cafe Live for an evening of live music, free Lagunitas beer and food.

Host Bob Boilen will be on hand for an evening of local acts hand-picked by WXPN and the NPR Music crew from the submission box of this year’s TDC contest; you’ll see chamber pop group Tutlie, soulful pianist/singer Joy Ike and hip hop artist The Bul Bey. The event is free, but you must reserve your spot here. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars benefit adds Queen of Jeans, The Bul Bey

Queen of Jeans
Queen of Jeans | photo by Kelly Kurteson | courtesy of the artist

Next month’s Beyond the Bars benefit concert was already going to be phenomenal, with The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, Milton and Lushlife set to perform in support of a program that gives music education opportunities to the city’s incarcerated youth. Now we have two more reasons to grab some tickets and head to World Cafe Live on April 17th: local “denimcore” trio Queen of Jeans and West Philly rapper The Bul Bey have been added to the bill. Check them out below and learn more about the fundraiser here. Tickets for the all-ages event (which begins at 5:00 p.m.) can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bul Bey at Kung Fu Necktie, Mother Moses at Bourbon & Branch, Settled Arrows at Buckeye Studio and more…

bul bey
The Bul Bey recording a Key Studio Session | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Local hip hop artist The Bul Bey performs at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. It’s been about a year since the West Philly native released his latest LP Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies, but we got another nugget of Amir Richardson’s talent on producer Rolled Gold’s debut effort earlier this week.  Check 2014’s “Where I’m From” below and pick up tickets for tonight’s 21+ show here.

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Philly producer Rolled Gold creates organic chemistry on his new Salty EP

Rolled Gold
Rolled Gold | Photo courtesy of the artist

A couple things grabbed me right off the bat on Salty, the debut EP from emerging West Philly hip-hop producer Rolled Gold.

One, there’s an incredible array of samples and source material – chopped and re-configured 60s garage rock, jazzy piano breaks, ominous film score set pieces. (Points if you can spot the sample of “Audrey’s Dance” from Twin Peaks.)

Then there is the choice roundup of MCs he gets to lend their voice to the project – scene faves from Philly, Camden and The Bronx including The Bul Bey, Visto, Ai-Que and more. Rolled Gold tells us he’s known and worked with Uncle Nate the longest, and has been friends with Rhetroic Wallace since they were both in high school.

“It was a very natural, mutual friend based selection,” Rolled Gold (offstage / out-of-the-studio name: Harry Metz) tells us over email. “I always tell the MC’s that i work with, ‘before we do business, let’s have a beer, listen to some records and talk some shit.’ It’s proven to create the best organic chemistry.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Max Swan at MilkBoy, Rosemary Fiki Band at Bourbon and Branch, The Bul Bey at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Up-and-coming Philly jazz artist, Max Swan will be hitting the stage at MilkBoy tonight alongside Ill Fated Natives and The Hollander-Crouse Duo. If you missed it, we premiered his latest single, “So Much Chime,” last month. Check him out tonight at Milkboy. Get tickets and more info on the 21+ show over at the XPN Concert Calendar, and listen to “So Much Chime” after the jump. Continue reading →

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Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds: The Bul Bey

The Bul Bey
The Bul Bey

Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds is our occasional, seasonal foray into summer vibes with our fave local “summertime” bands, in which we meet up, share a drink, and revel in the sunny weather (check out past editions here). Today we catch up with rising West Philly emcee The Bul Bey.

South Philly’s the best around the holidays, when row homes battle for “brightest” and “most festive,” and Old City’s gorgeous in the spring, when the national park gardens come alive. But I’ll take West Philly in the summer hands down, when everything is green and lush and farmers’ markets dot Baltimore Ave., yet the bars remain comparatively empty, the college kids and shore-goers all away for the season. Is it a coincidence that The Fresh Prince, in West Philadelphia born and raised, chose summertime as the subject of his epic, seasonal anthem?  Is there anywhere east of 40th you’d rather than be than your friend’s giant, wrap-around porch, drinking a beer, after Ethiopian / Eritrean / Vietnamese food at Gojjos / Dahlak / Vietienne?

Amir Richardson, who performs under the name The Bul Bey, is like Smith in that he grew up in West Philly; unlike Smith, he still lives there now. In fact, his neighborhood is the subject of his breakout music video “Where I’m From,” a lively and complex portrayal of a place where, yeah, you better lock your doors—but where there’s also a real sense of community, whether hanging with your crew at a house party or laughing at your drunk uncle’s block party dance moves. The video, with its bright colors and enthusiastic participants (Bey tells me he did not instruct the kids to dance; they just did it) is sort of the ultimate tribute to summers in Philadelphia. So who better to talk summer vibes with than Richardson, who not only created a new summer classic, but is also one of our very fave rising hip-hop artists in the city right now? Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Bul Bey

The Bul Bey is, hands down, one of our favorite rappers in the city right now. He’s sharply observational, witty, catchy and charismatic. His single “Where I’m From” caught our ear when it dropped last year and provided local listeners a slice-of-life lesson about embracing and showing love for your hometown – even when it can it can be kind of a rough town. In the time since, Bey teamed up with Illvibe Media to drop his full-length Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies – a dual reference to a Murs lyric as well as a practice among politicians acting smooth and savvy on the campaign trail. Appropriately, he’s been hitting the live music scene hard in the time since then, which is where we find him during this week’s Key Studio Session. Continue reading →