Lizzo raises her voice in song and on social issues at uplifting TLA set


Lizzo | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

A sermon. A therapy session. A protest. An evening of self-love. What do all of those things have in common? Lizzo offered all of that and more to her fans during her Saturday night performance at the TLA.

As fans, covered in glitter, sequins, and pastel wigs filtered into the South St. venue they were flanked by multiple signs stating that the Lizzo show was “100% sold out,” the sentiment mirroring Lizzo’s song “Truth Hurts” where she decrees that is “100% that bitch.” According to Lizzo, this was a far cry from her first show in Philly where only about 100 people who showed up. Continue reading →


“It made me feel safe and seen.” Reflections on the ten-year anniversary of Santigold’s debut

Santigold | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

For the first time in life I felt like I had good taste in music. Thank you, Santigold.

Growin up, my musical taste were vapid at best. I thrived off off bubblegum pop, and top-40 Hip-Hop. *NSYNC’s self-titled album was my first cassette. Britney’s Baby One More Time was my first compact disc. By the time I made it to high-school, I discovered Fueled By Ramen and was having a field day with Gym Class Heroes and Panic At The Disco.

Then 2008 entered like a wrecking ball, and in came Santigold right behind it. I can’t recall the first time that I heard “L.E.S. Artistes”; I imagine a song or two from the self-titled Santigold may have popped up on my MIA Pandora radio. But I do remember being enamored by this weird black girl. Her yelps and whoops on songs like “You’ll Find A Way” threw me off, and made me uncomfortable in a good way. I was also taken aback by the fact that she made little effort to look and be cool. Contrary to what I was accustomed to, Santigold didn’t have to put on airs.

Here, I have the option to be objective when talking about the work of Santigold. But to be honest, I would not be doing this review justice if I did not contextualize it with my own experience. My thoughts on Santigold, and her debut album more specifically, are deeply intertwined with my own identity. At a time where I was struggling to find an identity for myself, as many 17-year-olds do, Santigold presented herself as the weirdo black girl role model that I didn’t know I needed. The songs on Santigold were introspective (“you don’t know me, I am an introverted excavator”) and self-affirming (“I am a creator, thrill is to make it up”). Santigold’s music made me feel safe and seen. Continue reading →


Cheers for the Freakin’ Meekend: A triumphant Meek Mill headlines The Met Philly

Meek Mill | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

The King has returned, and he did so with much fanfare. March 15 was the start of the Meekend, and Philly’s favorite rapper, Meek Mill, kicked it off with his first sold-out headlining concert at The Met Philadelphia, his first hometown show since his release from prison last year.

Meek’s welcome home was a rather grandiose experience. Social media was plastered with images of Meek exiting SCI Chester, hopping on a helicopter heading to the Well Fargo Center to catch a Sixers game court-side with his son.

With the support of part-owner of the Sixers, Michael Rubin, as well as District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Jay Z, Meek has become the celebrity face of prison reform. This new role is an interesting juxtaposition for an artist who has been very vocal about his involvement in illegal street activity, though the two are not mutually exclusive. The reason for Meek’s latest incarceration stint was arguably low stakes — a probation violation that stemmed from a guns and drug case that he acquired when he was 19 years old.

For a while, Meek was going through a seemingly never-ending series of L’s, of course significantly less consequential than his incarceration. These losses included a highly publicized beef with Drake, where the Canadian rapper released to back-to-back dis songs, before our local fav could even get a word in edgewise. Meek also found himself single after he and his long-term girlfriend Nicki Minaj broke up. Funny enough, Philly folk did not hesitate to bump any of Drake’s diss tracks. Despite all this Philly still loves them some Meek and it showed during the Meekend. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lissa Alicia’s top five shots of her first year photographing concerts

Junglepussy | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributor Lissa Alicia shares her favorite photos from her first year shooting concerts.

To some degree, I have always been interested in photography. At the start of 2018, I decided to purchase my first DSLR. I figured that since I already did a lot of written concert coverage, that it would not be that difficult to get into concert photography.

With the exception of playing around with a friend’s Canon t3, I didn’t have that much experience being behind the camera — honestly, I still don’t — but I am learning. Continue reading →


Five essential songs from Philly hip-hop collective State Property

State Property | photo via The Fillmore Philly

With his prison reform campaign and a new album, Meek Mill has the city in the palm of his hands. But to be frank, Meek wouldn’t be where he is now without the forefathers of Philly hip-hop: State Property.

The collective formed in 2000 with members Freeway, Beenie Siegel Peedi Peedi, Oschino, and Omillio Sparks, and the Young Gunz (Young Chris and Neef Buck), many of whom went on to successful solo careers. State Property was a movement: in addition to multiple chart-topping songs, the collective had two movies and a clothing line to their name. Simply put, State Property is legendary — and they’re back on the local stage this weekend. Continue reading →


Tank and the Bangas and Big Freedia bring NOLA to the TLA

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Even without the beignets, po’boys, or steaming pots of gumbo, Philadelphia was able to taste the full-flavored robustness of New Orleans on Saturday evening thanks to The Head Banga Tour that made its way to the TLA. The show featuring all NOLA acts was headlined by Tank and The Bangas and included performances from Big Freedia and Naughty Professor. Continue reading →


Junglepussy, Queen Jo and Rayana Jay play a commanding, empowering set at The Foundry

Junglepussy | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

When one consumes a curated collection of art, regardless of the medium, there is more often than not a blatant artist statement or verbal declaration of intent. On rare occasions, one may come across an assemblage so carefully put together that even the slightest explanation would do it absolutely no justice. This was the case at The Foundry’s Wednesday night show that included Queen Jo, Rayana Jay, and headling act Junglepussy. Three women at the mic, backed by two women at the DJ decks, delivered seemingly endless prideful, raunchy and unapologetic lyrics for an empowering set that commanded the audience to take charge of their sexuality, identities, lives. Continue reading →


N2N Festival pays homage to the Queen of Soul with Kathy Sledge, Kindred, Monica and more

N2N Festival | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Baltimore Avenue’s first Neighborhood to Neighborhood Festival happened 23 years ago, and though it’s been on and off over the years, it came back to the bustling intersection in a big way in 2016. Since then, N2N has hosted performances from Music Soulchild, Common, and Robin Thicke; last year’s festival served as a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and the Time as well as Sheila E.

This year, the N2N Festival decide to honor the late Aretha Franklin, who passed away on August 16th. In order to appropriately pay homage to the powerhouse soul singer, the N2N team curated a show with some of the best vocal talent in R&B, includingPhiladelphia natives Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and Kindred the Family Soul, as well as Jean Carne, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, and Monica. Continue reading →


R.I.P. Rich Quick, a unifying voice on the Philly hip-hop scene

Rich Quick
Rich Quick | still from video

At around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, rest in peace shoutouts began pouring into Richard Strey’s social media accounts. As it appeared, the Woodbury, NJ underground rapper, better known as Rich Quick, had passed away.

His passing came as a shock to many. On his Facebook page, numerous heartfelt eulogies, memories, and mentions of disbelief flooded the page of the late MC who had strong ties to the Philadelphia hip-hop scene. Continue reading →