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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 →

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The Bul Bey addresses social issues on new track “Thoughts While Marching”

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly rapper Amir Richardson, aka The Bul Bey, is known for bringing the party as much as bringing serious issues into focus. When I chatted with him earlier this year, he mentioned how growing up on Philly’s Salford Street had to be one of the “worst places” he’s ever lived. Although he said living conditions were poor, he also noted the sense of community there was a huge positive aspect to his upbringing.

His new track, “Thoughts While Marching,” produced by Clark Kennedy, premiered over on HYPEFRESH® Magazine, and Erin Simon writes, “TheBulBey ties his personal struggles to the forefront in ’Thoughts While Marching,’ simultaneously discussing cultural topics within the African-American community.” Continue reading →

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Key Fest At-A-Glance: A set of simmering Philly hip-hop and R&B with Brielle, The Bul Bey, Jacqueline Constance and Tiani Victoria

Brielle
Brielle | Photo by Reji B. | rejibphotography.com

I kind of see our first-ever Key Fest as a tour of the Philly scene, from the basements to the coffeehouses and ending up in thenightclubs. Since the concluding night of the series happens to be on a Saturday, we had to make it a party by getting together some of our favorite voices in Philly hip-hop and R&B and bringing them to the MilkBoy stage. Here’s a look at what’s in store. Continue reading →

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The Bul Bey added to night three of Key Fest

The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com
The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com

The first ever Key Fest is just around the corner, with three nights worth of impressive local artists curated by The Key kicking off at MilkBoy starting April 23.

The latest hype is that Philly rapper The Bul Bey will be joining us for the third day of the fest, alongside Brielle, Jacqueline Constance and Tiana Victoria. Unfortunately Sugar Tongue Slim had to drop off the festival due to a scheduling conflict, and while we’ll miss him, this is still a lineup you can’t miss. Continue reading →

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Meet The Bul Bey: Philadelphia’s underdog MC performing at Ortlieb’s next week

The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com
The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com

Amir Richardson might come off as an underdog. That’s because he is. Known in the Philly hip hop world as The Bul Bey, he recently released his debut album with Illvibe Media, titled Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies. And although he’s been making, writing and releasing music since 2007, he refers to this album as his “formal introduction to the masses.”

He’s coming out of his shell and Richardson, 27, admits that he sometimes thinks it took him a while to get to this point.

Without completely cuing the Fresh Prince, Richardson is a homegrown West Philadelphian who’s been shaped and molded by his experiences in the city, both good and bad. Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies is largely a product of this upbringing – one laced, quite honestly, with paranoia and fear. Continue reading →