We were fans of Philadelphia Slick long before they won the opportunity to perform on the OurStage.com stage at last summer’s Warped Tour, and so we’re very happy to feature the band as this week’s Pro Artist of the Week.
Describing them as a hip-hop group, while not inaccurate, fails to represent the breadth of the music they create. Each Philadelphia Slick song is a verbally punctuated vibe “ a lush atmosphere created out of organic loops, horns, pianos and other keys, strings, and more.
As for the raps, Slick delivers attention commanding streams of consciousness that you’ll spend at least five rewarding listens parsing. It’s a rapid-fire series of thoughts and references that end up as a whole, in contrast to the more meaningless, non-stop pop-culture references you might be used to from some of the renowned clever hip-hop artists out there.
Check it out.
Sometimes, your average, run-of-the-mill hip-hop just won’t cut it. You need some beats and rhymes that are a little…different. This week, OurStage’s own technical liaison Jordan has put together a playlist for all those alternative hip-hop fans out there. Here’s a mix of rappers who are all thinking outside the box, creating odd combinations of sounds and lyrics to form a synthesis of head-bobbing tunes. These unusual rap songs from artists like Outkast, Philadelphia Slick, Gorillaz, and many more are sure to give you a whole new way to look at rap music. Post up, and contemplate the unique stylings of alternative hip-hop.
More like this:
Yesterday we began unveiling the twenty-two regional winners who will perform alongside Larry g(EE) on the OurStage.com Stage during the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, and today we’re announcing three more acts. You can view the winners below, stream their music and discover which dates they will play. For the full stage lineup and more, head to the OurStage.com Stage official Tumblr page.
Performing at: Central Florida Fairground
City/State: Orlando, FL
Date: July 27
Performing at: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
City/State: Uniondale, NY
Date: July 21
Performing at: First Niagra Pavillion
City/State: Burgettstown, PA
Date: July 12
Stay tuned for more regional winner announcements in the coming days.
The weather over the last few days has been marked by an overcast, chilly gloom, and after being teased by summer so frequently I feel like my taste in music may have switched seasons a bit too early. I find myself constantly drawn to warm, sample-heavy hip hop”a sound that’s quite removed from the over-synthesized, over-produced, dance-hop populating the airwaves currently, and more inline with the vinyl crackle infused genre of the ’90s (heck, a couple of these songs actually come from the ’90s). The lyrical content places more of a focus on conveying a story rather than shocking the listener with clever one liners (ahem…Drake). In the words of Masta Ace… “this is how hip hop is supposed to sound”. So find your best pair of cans and switch the outside world off for a little bit.
To cap off this week’s Needle in the Haystack, we’ve got a great interview with the band Philadelphia Slick. Check out the video below and download the free track from earlier in the week if you haven’t already. It’s definitely worth checking out and sharing with friends. As always, another great artist will be featured in next week’s Needle in the Haystack, so stay tuned!
Philadelphia Slick, the hip hop band from”you guessed it”Philadelphia, are no strangers to visual stimuli. If you don’t believe us just check out their wacky music videos, the vibrant and creative photos on their OurStage profile or the live performance footage on their YouTube channel. They also have a Web site riddled with cool merch and videos along with witty blog updates. Needless to say, when they gave us the heads up that they just wrapped yet another music video, we were pumped.
Check out their new video for “Everything Must Go” the new single off of their latest release, the EP Everything’s Game. We may not know exactly get what’s going on, but the cool characters and costumes and slick beats were enough to make us hit repeat.
I don’t care who’s behind the boards or on top of the mix, I feel boredom settin’ in like the top of the 6th, poppin’ a disc, dismissed, I can resist”
– Noesis of Philadelphia Slick, “R&B Stole The Show”
And resist they do. MC Noesis and his gang of instrumentalists (a.k.a. Philadelphia Slick) have successfully abstained from the realm of insubstantial, pop-oriented hip hop for nearly three years. With group size ranging from 3 members to 12 members and lyrical content covering everything from Philly crime to the current pop music scene, this versatile act has earned a devoted fan base within the city of Brotherly Love and beyond. Their OurStage profile is replete with judging excellence badges, connector icons and top channel prize awards”several of which are first place. Not content with having two superb albums under their belt, the band keeps their nose to the grindstone in hopes of reaching music’s promised land. Their chances of breaking: very likely.
Sonically, their noise is locked tighter than a baby band’s budget. So compact it might as well have been produced by a computer with looped samples and an internal metronome, but it wasn’t, making everything that much more impressive. Unlike the many instrumental hip hop acts that force their overzealous musicianship into genre not meant for musical virtuosity, the players from Philadelphia Slick keep it cool, calm and collected. You won’t hear any wayward solos or elementary tones sprouting from these horns; they know exactly what they’re doing. Besides, excessive instrumental variation would only dilute MC Noesis’ poetic prowess. With lines like Stand back/ rock anonymous atop acropolis/ the shots persistent as the oppositions lock position/ there’s a lot of vicious competition/ optimism is a pompous schism/ so drop and listen, this guy is skilled. When his fistfuls of verbiage float above the well-oiled beats, the resulting sound is what hip hop was always intended to be.
Gonna Get Over is an upbeat rabble rouser guaranteed to ignite inspiration in any heavily burdened worker. starting with, To my people out there who ain’t livin’ legit/ all people out there creatin’ diggin’ for hits/ all workers out there straight clickin’ through shifts/ tune out for the minute and say/ Gonna Get Over. After these words, they spin the angle back towards themselves Try to make it with an honest rap/ be new but pay homage back. And finally, they unite both parties with the line Everyone out there that’s still strugglin’/ Survival got you buggin’/ But you’re alive on arrival/ even if your boss downsize you/ put your hands in the air and say/ Gonna Get Over. The moral of the Gonna Get Over story is to focus on the good. Conquer the bad (you’ll feel much better when you do) and get back on track. Because let’s face it, you don’t really have a choice. Musically, bass and drums lock together in the beginning of every verse until the descending xylophone enters, resolving straight into a perfectly synchronized saxophone and xylophone riff in the chorus.
Hunt V. Kill paints a disturbingly realistic picture of street crime in Philly and gun control in general. The overcast verses emit an eerie vibe, no instruments but drums, bass, some sort of synthesized harp and airy vocals from singer Jenn Z. During the choruses, they insert sound bytes from police press releases and news stories on crime around the Philadelphia area. Presumably, these reports are depressing, but the group is able to represent the seemingly indifferent attitude of those not immediately affected these events with the music. The chorus is major and carefree, like rampant violence is no big deal at all. With la-la-las sung by Jenn Z’s ethereal voice and a steadily repeated 1-4-1 chord progression, the sound produced is very ironic when juxtaposed against the lyrics.
The second to last audio clip in the song presents someone giving a speech on handgun regulation, saying that the only purpose of handguns in the city of Philadelphia is not to hunt animals or target practice, it is to kill people hence the title Hunt V. Kill. R and B Stole the Show is self-explanatory. Beginning with a quirky, distorted polka beat, the song eventually transforms into a four minute and twenty-two second insult aimed in the direction of modern pop music. R and B stole the show/ It don’t know how to sing don’t know how to flow/ R and B stole the show/ It’s not quality but that’s how it goes. With lines like Do us both a favor/ And turn the radio off, we can be sure that Philidelphia Slick is confident in their unique identity, an essential personality and musical trait in the rapper-eat-rapper world of hip hop.
The group is about to embark on a mini tour in support of their new album, Oil, released in May. Check out their OS profile page and their recently debuted website to see if they’re coming to a venue near you!