Like most people, I’m prone to fits of nostalgia at the turn of a new year and, more personally, day dreams about how my life might be different (for better or worse) without the occurrence of certain events and milestones… Searching the seedy back-alleys of Google Images during “Christmas break”, I coincidentally managed to unearth a gallery of fliers from Public Axis’ founding endeavor, “The Friday Fix” at Medusa Lounge- the small, stageless, aesthetically-perfect venue’s first and only live hip-hop showcase- which ended abruptly a little more than five years ago after a solid 24-month run.
Here and there, the event played host to traveling independent acts like Qwel, Substantial, Cymarshall Law and Flex Mathews, but The Friday Fix trademark was its dedication to (and in some cases, introduction of) top shelf, Philadelphia-based underground emcees. It was also marked by emphasis on quality over quantity, mixing and matching 2-3, diversely talented artists on each month’s bill in an attempt to continually weld respective fan bases into a cohesive “scene”. At its pinnacle, rosters were booked five months in advance, and the potential for disappointment rested not on unheard-of performers (now a contemporary plague, see: too many rappers), but on Medusa’s moody speaker system. Ironically, the only potential for disappointment in the eyes of the bar’s owner was the high-likelihood of well liquor, blunt smoke, and spectator-emcees galvanizing unplanned cyphers and improvised sets that scared away all Spankrock fans among her hipster regulars (which my regulars loved).
Good timing was at the root of the project’s success. Along with the inception of 215HipHop.com, “Hip-Hop Lives” on first-Fridays, various !llvibe Collective monthlies, the activities Karma Response Unit Records, and wherever Reef the Lost Cauze was performing, FF played its part in creating an underground subculture outside the red tape of Clear Channel events and the influence of commercial radio-endorsed “crack-rap” that already laid claim as the “Philly hip-hop scene”.
Most importantly, and back to my original point, each flier triggers its own collection of memories that, in retrospect, carved my niche in the Philadelphia music scene and still today embody my company’s business model. If it weren’t for this event and the relationships made through it, it’s very possible that I’d be a different person, living in a different city with a different career. Without caring what “different” could mean, I’m thankful for Jim Redz, John Kahn, Young Harrison, Nex Millen, Portia (I still want to marry you), everyone that rocked without a promise of compensation, THOR Takeover, and the former members of Beat Garden Entertainment for helping to perpetuate this every month for two years…
Over the next few weeks, there will be more posts to come on the most notable installments of The Friday Fix…