April 6, 2013 |
Do you remember the pulsating beat and powerful lyrics of Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, or LL Cool J? Those artists were some of the key figures of old school hip-hop. They had a message, a unique style, a following, and no doubt a contract with a major record label. Today, the pioneer rappers have been replaced by Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Big Sean. The message, the style, and fans may differ from the past, but the biggest change from old school to new school is the use of social media.
March 20, 2013
I LIKE Mayor Nutter. He's always been nice to me. Our kids go to the same school. We exchange pleasantries when we see each other. That's why I felt so bad watching city union members jeer him as he tried to deliver his budget address last week. Maybe if he'd reprised his inauguration performance of the Sugarhill Gang classic, "Rapper's Delight," things would've turned out differently. Because, frankly, it's hard to boo a brother when he's delivering lines like: "I said, a hip-hop the hippie to the hippie The hip hip a hop, a you don't stop The rock it to the bang, bang boogie Say up jumped the boogie To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
February 27, 2013 |
GRANDPA sweaters. Pro Wings, with Velcro. Fur coats, extra fluffy. Fringed brown jackets. Footie pajamas - for adults. All cheap. All used. All . . . the height of fashion? Absolutely, according to the song "Thrift Shop," which occupied the No. 1 spot on both Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B/hip-hop charts for most of February. The creation of Seattle rapper Macklemore, producer Ryan Lewis and vocalist Wanz (who performs the addictive, Barry White-like hook), "Thrift Shop" is more than a sketch of West Coast trends, more than a YouTube sensation, more than a huge crossover hit. It's an anthem for a sort of secondhand style that's been part of Philly culture for a while now. And, it's getting bigger by the day. Exhibit A: Sara Semborski, the hip, 22-year-old manager of Circle Thrift on South Broad.
February 26, 2013 |
OSCAR PETTIGREW had a restless mind. He was always on the lookout for moneymaking schemes, some of which he'd try for a short time, then move on to the next venture. He was a store owner, street vendor, chauffeur, T-shirt designer and DJ, to name a few. He also had a heart as big as his body - 6 feet 9, 400 pounds. His generosity and concern for others knew no bounds. Oscar H. Pettigrew Jr. - who was also concerned with the safety, progress and cultural development of his community - died Feb. 18 of complications of sleep apnea.
December 20, 2012 |
Fashion insiders smiled and hip-hop purists gritted their grills last week when Kanye West performed in a pleated, plaid leather Givenchy skirt and "meggings" during the Sandy relief concert. The controversial rapper may have paired the womenswear with a Pyrex Religion sweatshirt and white sneakers. But the rugged accessories didn't matter. The reaction was swift and definitive. High-fashion folks cheered at the Rick Owens-meets-Alexander Wang-meets Betsey Johnson look, especially the small segment of the industry championing self-expression through gender-bending.
December 3, 2012
Pop Alicia Keys Girl on Fire (RCA ***) Girl on Fire ? Grabby title, and the song of the same name hangs its hat on a big, belted-out hook that demands attention. It's a misleading sobriquet, though, for Alicia Keys' fifth album, a bounce-back from the mid-career rut of 2007's As I Am and 2009's The Element Of Freedom . Maybe marriage and motherhood have something to do with it - her son Egypt shows up acting cutesy at the end of "When It's All Over" - but Girl On Fire is marked more by confidently composed maturity than an effort to set the night ablaze.
November 9, 2012
ON SCREENS Patriot acting The hit-and-run subplot on "Homeland" looks a little less frivolous as Dana (Morgan Saylor) proves herself once again as a teller of uncomfortable truths. But is coming clean even an option for the daughter of a potential vice-presidential candidate, much less the daughter of a would-be terrorist who's being handled by the CIA? And, oh, yeah, Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) get hot and bothered. 10 p.m. Sunday, Showtime. Big-screen opera British composer Thomas Ades debuts with the Metropolitan Opera as conductor in his opera "The Tempest," and gets the "Live in HD" movie theater exposure as well.
September 3, 2012 |
Jay-Z fulfilled his vision of bringing an electric and eclectic music festival to the heart of the city on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, headlining the first day of what he called the "first annual Made in America festival. " Jay-Z's razor-sharp and supremely confident performance, in which he enlisted the assistance of his partner in rhyme, Kanye West, as well as President Obama (in a prerecorded video), capped a nine-hour day filled with top-shelf performances from a range of rappers and electronic music acts and a smattering of indie rockers, giving Made in America a running start in carving out a niche as a uniquely urban-electronic mega-event in the crowded music festival season.
September 1, 2012 |
And so, it is finally upon us. The inaugural Budweiser Made in America festival, headlined and "curated" - the most overused word in pop culture these days - by Jay-Z will take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this weekend. It'll be the first-ever paid event on the city's museum-lined grand boulevard where free fireworks and music celebrations are held annually. With the most respected rapper in the game and grunge survivors Pearl Jam divvying up headliner duties, plus significant electronic dance music (EDM)
August 31, 2012
Chris Lighty, 44, an influential manager of hip-hop stars like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, and Diddy, was found dead Thursday morning at his home in New York City, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said that they were investigating the death as a suicide. A representative of his company, Primary Violator, did not immediately respond to requests for information. One of the most powerful figures in the hip-hop business, Mr. Lighty helped establish the genre as a major commercial force - complete with huge record deals and tie-ins with commercial brands - during its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s.