Is Schoolly D Philly’s Greatest Hip-Hop Crash and Burn?

Drawing by Mike Hague.

Drawing by Mike Hague.

First, the Founding Fathers came to Philadelphia to birth American democracy, the shimmering benchmark of freedom and self-empowerment that has alternately subjugated and enlightened the world for 300 years.

Things were quiet after that. The Phillies won the World Series in 1980.

Then, as a result of the stagnation of a bloated, pop-riddled late-’80s hip-hop scene and his own desire to move some damned wax, Jesse B. Weaver Jr. a.k.a. Schoolly D invented gangsta rap. He’s the progenitor, father of Ice Cube, grandfather of Tupac, Abraham and every post-gangster, Frooty Loops-hounding loudmouth, talented or otherwise.

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WATCH: YouTube Documentary Chronicles Questlove’s Trip to Cuba

Philly-bred Roots drummer Questlove took a trip to Cuba earlier in the year, and the whole thing is chronicled in a new documentary by Okayplayer that you can now watch on YouTube.

The film was directed by Jauretsi and Daniel Petruzzi. A synopsis: “In addition to two nights of DJing, Questlove made good use of his time in Havana, engaging in extensive cultural research both by digging up some classic Cuban-made vinyl and by visiting the legendary EGREM studios, where most—if not all—of those classic sessions were recorded.”

Check out the 13-plus-minute video above.

Q&A: Grammy-Winning Guitarist Jason Vieaux and His Philadelphia Connections

Jason Vieaux Header

Jason Vieaux‘s mother was a school librarian who bought him his first classical guitar for $50 when he was a young boy. Fast forward several decades later and Mr. Vieaux is now a Grammy-winning musician who tours internationally, performing to eager audiences at almost every major classical guitar festival in the world. Vieaux is also no stranger to Philly: He’s Curtis faculty, and he’s performed numerous concerts here. He’ll be returning to World Cafe Live on May 7th to perform with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble, part of the LiveConnections concert series which aims to pair unlikely artists for interesting music making. We caught up with Vieaux to discuss his upcoming show and why Philly is such a hotbed for classical music. Read more »

WATCH: NJ Woman Channels Flo Rida on Dining Out for Life Rap

A New Jersey woman is channeling Flo Rida in a new parody video in which she raps about why you should take part in tonight’s Dining Out for Life event.

Jade Gasper altered the words to Flo Rida’s “G.D.F.R (Goin’ Down For Real),” spitting rhymes like “Ordered just one app? You should have ordered five! / Get a few entrees but leave lots of room for pie.”

Check out the video above, and see her in person tonight a Villari’s Lakeside Restaurant & Bar in South Jersey, where she’ll be bopping from table to table asking for donations—and making sure you order dessert.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Dining Out for Life, the annual fundraiser where restaurants in the region donate 33 percent of every check to a variety of regional HIV/AIDS service organizations, including ActionAIDS, AIDS Delaware, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. See a full list of participating restaurants here.

Chana Rothman’s Rainbow Train Debunks Gender Norms

Chana Rothman

Philly-by-way-of-Toronto artist Chana Rothman is debuting her children’s album Rainbow Train on Tuesday, May 12th. Rothman tapped into personal experiences and her son’s early experimentation with gender expression to create the collection of songs that focuses on gender freedom, gender expression, pride and love.

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Our Q&A With Out Center City Jazz Festival Headliner Dena Underwood

Dena Underwood 2

Out musician Dena Underwood—who you may recognize as one of the fab piano players at Tavern On Camac— opened last fall’s OutBeat, the nation’s first queer jazz festival, and this spring she’ll be cutting the ribbon, so to speak, on another music event: the Center City Jazz Festival. As far as we can tell, Ms. Underwood is the only openly LGBTQ person to play the event, so we thought we’d throw her some support in the form of a Q&A. We caught up with her to chat about her music and why jazz is important to the gay community.  Read more »

New Live Nation Music Venue Coming to Fishtown

New Fishtown Concert Venue

Image from Google Maps.

The old Ajax Metal Co. building in Fishtown—situated across from SugarHouse at Frankford Avenue—is undergoing a $32 million renovation courtesy of the House of Blues Entertainment division of Live Nation. When finished, it will become a 141,000-square-foot entertainment complex, housing two live-music venues, a comedy club, 24-lane bowling alley, distillery and Italian restaurant.

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Couple Go Viral With Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Pregnancy Announcement

A couple from Oregon wrote and recorded a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song parody that effectively dropped the news to their family and friends that they’re expecting.

The video has since gone viral, being viewed on YouTube over 1.6 million times. The song, originally penned and performed by Philly rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, includes so-bad-they’re-good lyrics, like “I woke up in the morning about 7 or 8 and thought to myself, ‘Oh man, I’m late! ’Looked at the test stick, it was finally there. A little plus sign—we’re now three, not a pair.”

Check it out above; everyone else in the world did.

Worst Idea Ever: 24 Hours of the Grateful Dead on WXPN This Friday

WXPN promotional image

WXPN promotional image

Apparently, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the “legendary” band The Grateful Dead. (What, you didn’t know?) And to commemorate this sacred occasion, Philadelphia radio station WXPN is offering 24 hours of the Grateful Dead. They’re calling it the Day of the Dead. (Creative!) And they even have a hashtag: #XPNDeadDay. All of which has us ready to puke. Read more »

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