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October 23rd, 2012

This Kendrick Lamar Record Is Sick


Today marks the day of the official drop for the Compton native’s immaculate good kid, m.A.A.d. city. It’s a stunning piece of hip-hop. Yes, Pitchfork gave it a whopping 9.5 and a Best New Music designation. But only a legit spin and listen to every song on this record can make a listener understand the depth of this record. One of the most likeable things about it? It’s not about guest spots (even though there are some impressive and well-executed collabs). It’s not about radio hits and not really about selling out stadiums. It’s a poignant family portrait and autobiography full of sophistication and smarts.

The 25-year-old’s signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, a group of South Central L.A. emcees who sometimes call themselves Black Hippy. Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul are the other three membbers of the four core homies. They often contribute to each other’s solo tracks, often without even getting credit for their appearance. But it seems like maybe Lamar’s exceeded his peers on this effort; or at least will bring Black Hippy to a new level with the success of this, his major label debut. After an EP and a digital-only iTunes released Section.80 (2011), Dr. Dre signed on as an Executive Prodducer and guests on the closing track, apropriately titled “Compton.”

It’s not a surprise to see a Dre connection. It’s hard not to envision Lamar’s Compton in relation to the Compton portrayed in Dr. Dre’s 1992 classic, The Chronic. The game’s changed a lot since then, but this record also testifies to the fact that it still stays the same – talent transcends trends. It doesn’t hurt that he was able to recruit already-strong talent in the form of Pharell, Drake, DJ Khalil, Hit-Boy and Just Blaze (among others). A classic trope of revealing hip-hop records is skits and voicemails, used perfectly on this one. Lamar’s mother is a character in this album, as is his father and his friends. The struggle of ghetto life is extraordinarily fleshed out through these and Lamar’s exceptional flow and lyrics. “Poetic Justice” deftly employs a perfect Janet Jackson sample. The insane “Backseat Freestyle” is a stunning feat of delivery. It’s full of sickening cuts.

Unfortunately, Lamar came through Philadelphia with a way-too-big clique in August. We need a date with him sans Wiz Khalifa and Wale. It’d be nice to see him sell out the TLA. We’ll no doubt be looking for a Lamar Philly date like a hawk and bringing you the news of his booking as soon as humanly possible. It will be a show not to be missed (bet the Black Hippy crew’ll show up, too).

It’s on Spotify. Go listen now. Then check out his Conan performance from last night on Conan.

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October 22nd, 2012

Go See Divine Fits Tonight After Watching Them Cover Frank Ocean


They’re at the UT tonight. Check em’ out. Tickets are $16-18.

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October 22nd, 2012

It Worked: Jessie Ware’s Coming To Philly


This Hail Mary I tossed up a month ago worked. Jessie Ware announced a short American tour and it’s got a Union Transfer spot on it. Hallelujah. It’s in January (Friday, the 18th), but tickets are only $15. SERIOUS. Her tour’s only got six dates on it. SIX! Boston-D.C.-NYC-Philly-L.A.-San Fran. How cool is that? UT’s getting realer by the month.

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October 18th, 2012

Someone Magically Sent Me These Beautiful RZA WESC Headphones And They Are Heavenly

RZA headphones

Sometimes you gotta take the perks when you can get em’. Not sure if you figured this out by now, but, I’m not getting rich by blogging. Every once in a while, you get a little bone thrown at you (like skybox suite tickets to Rihanna two summers ago). Last week, my editor gave me a voicemail heads-up that there was some sweet goods waiting for me in the office and that the interns who opened the mail were foaming at the mouth. But these two boxes had my name on it. And while I was impressed by the Heineken gear (XL t-shirts and fly baseball lids), it wasn’t really my style or size. But the headphones… my god the headphones.

In a massive box full of shredded paper, was in-laid another huge fabric box with a hinged toplid. When I lifted it up I found the dopest headphones I’ve ever put on my ears. When you spend hours and hours in cafes listening to records like I do, and cannot bear any kind of bus, car or plane trip without an iPod, you settle in with a set of headphones that just get the job done without making you uncomfortable. If money were no object, sure, I’d be rocking BOSE or big, huge multi-hundred dollar headphones. I’ve got phones that stay put for runs or workouts and $10 Sony wrap-around-your-ear phones for everyday listening. But noise-cancelling LED headphones with seemingly-bolstered levels of bass and snare opened my ears to what I’d been missing.

They resale for $170 and make Azaelia’s beats sound totally sickening. I have no idea who sent them to me or why. But I am eternally grateful. The least I could do is advocate for attending RZA’s comrade in Wu-Tang hi-hop, GZA’s date at The Troacdero this weekend. He’ll be doing “Liquid Swords” in full. Get yourself some headphones, listen to some Wu-Tang, and get a ticket to Saturday’s show.

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October 17th, 2012

Good News: Mad Tour Announcements With Philly Spots


Super exciting news, everyone. It’s becoming clear that a North American tour that skips over Philadelphia is few-and-far-between. Those tours are tours that can frustrate and infuriate. But we try to rejoice in the good and travel to New York or D.C. or Pittsburgh or New Jersey if necessary. That being said, check out these new dates:

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT – Monday, November 19th at World Cafe Live

MASERATI – Monday, November 5th at Kung Fu Necktie

MIGUEL WITH TREY SONGZ – Friday, October 26th at the University of Pennsylvania

BAND OF HORSES – Friday, December 14th at the Electric Factory

THE VACCINES – Saturday, February 2nd at Union Transfer

YEASAYER – Friday, November 16th at Union Transfer

PURITY RING WITH YOUNG MAGIC – Tuesday, January 29th at Union Transfer

MATTHEW DEAR WITH LIGHT ASYLUM – Friday, November 16th at Voyeur

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October 16th, 2012

Let’s Talk About Mykki Blanco


Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. is a rapper from New York who’s style is like none other. In his videos, he easily and casually oscillates between male and female. You can call him a bunch of things: a gay rapper, a trans rapper, a queer emcee, a gender-bending performance artist. None of it really captures the complexity of his talent. Not only can he flow and turn out a video, he can spit freestyle on a dime that’d put a bunch of heteroflexin’ mysoginist rappers to shame.

Now, to be real, before you start pushing play on these videos, they’re not very SFW. He peddles curse words and nastiness in his rhymes, but, that’s what he sees and what he knows. In the fantastic final video of this post, the confessional style of the video follows Blanco around uptown New York where he’s called Harlem his home for some time now.

The news is that the new video for this week is “Haze.Boogie.Flow” and it’s dope as hell. “Wavvy” has been poppin’ off in the club for a while now but we’re desperate for a Philly visit. Let this be an official written request. Mykki – come to us. We’ll keep our eyes open for potential future visists.

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October 16th, 2012

Sharon Van Etten Made It All The Way To Jools Holland


We love her. She’s a female rocker Philly can be proud of. No, she’s not really ours. She’s New Jersey’s and now New York’s. But she recorded the friggen’ amazing Epic here in Fishtown, and we’ve taken to writing about her extensively. She’s badass and in this clip from “Later… with Jools Holland” she kind of looks like an Annie Clark and PJ Harvey hybrid. She’s got makeup on and a dress and she looks elegant and raw. Bravo, Sharon.

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Here’s a LINK to her doing “Give Out,” too.

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