January 21, 2014
THE GUYS from Hip Hop Fundamentals don't look like the performers who used to show up at my school assemblies. They arrive in fly Kangol bucket-style hats and mock turtlenecks. On their feet, they rock Adidas Gazelle sneakers or Clyde Frazier basketball shoes, by Puma. And if I say they dance their butts off, I'm not exagerating. Trust me. These dudes can pop lock, head spin and floor rock with the best bboys around. Watching them perform on YouTube videos, I couldn't help but wonder why they aren't big stars doing their thing on VH1 or Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" instead of leading school assemblies.
December 21, 2013 |
Mainstage Center for the Arts presents its annual Holiday Concert & Family Festival this weekend at the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theatre at Camden County College. The two-day festival will feature performances by the Harmony and Encore Show Choirs, members of the Mainstage Dance Company (and the School of Dance), and the Mainstage Hip Hop performance group. Featured vocalists will be opera soprano Robin Wilson, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, and country recording artist Sherry Lynn, who has performed with Crystal Gayle.
November 2, 2013 |
MEDIA Tyrone Gilliams Jr. billed himself as a man of many callings: A skilled commodities trader specializing in gold, oil, and diamonds. A hip-hop promoter with top-shelf connections. An up-and-coming philanthropist and former starter for the University of Pennsylvania basketball team. And, should circumstances warrant, even a part-time online preacher. But there was one job title the 46-year-old Media resident conveniently left off his resumé: Crook. On Thursday, a federal judge in New York City sentenced Gilliams to 10 years in prison for his role in securities and wire fraud schemes that bilked investors out of more than $5 million.
August 23, 2013 |
Become a doer, dream pursuer, purpose-driven Past meets the future in between no longer and not yet Rise up, young buck, never forget - From MK Asante's "Buck" MK Asante always seems in a rush, on the run, in pursuit. He had plenty of time to talk in a recent phone interview. It's the way he speaks and the way he thinks that fascinates. It's his extraordinary energy, his remarkable gift for thinking on his feet. He can hardly catch up with himself. The Philadelphia-raised poet, hip-hop artist, filmmaker, and university professor, who at 31 has accomplished more than some do in a lifetime, will be in town Thursday to read from his extraordinary page-turner of a memoir, Buck (Spiegel & Grau $25)
August 10, 2013 |
Run the Jewels is a band, and it's also 2013's best hip-hop collaboration. Rapper Killer Mike and producer/MC El-P are Run the Jewels, and their new eponymous album is both teamwork and a project that asserts its own identity, without sacrificing lyrical excellence or their usual whack grooves. Run the Jewels , the album, is not as seriously sociopolitical as El-P's Cancer 4 Cure , or Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music (which El-P produced). But with the exception of a fleeting few hard-line songs, Run the Jewels is a frank but funny friend-on-friend album - hip-hop's 2000 Year Old Man - that finds two of America's finest underground rappers convivially smack-talking.
July 18, 2013 |
Villa has been in the hip-hop fashion game since the baggy days of Cross Colors and Fubu. So execs of the retail chain figured if anyone could help designers from "the block" make fashion, they could. In winter 2012, Patrick Walsh, vice president of marketing, launched a contest calling on designers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and surrounding states to submit their best work. More than 250 entered, and the winner, Khaleel Salaam, 30, saw his collection of men's fitted T's, hoodies, and tanks produced by the Philadelphia-based company.
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.