Posts Tagged ‘Public Axis’

Philly True School’s Next Generation: DJ PHRESH SELECT

September 29, 2014

Over the years I’ve taken in as much of the local music culture as possible wherever I visit.  Whether paying a visit to discreet record stores in Boulder and Pittsburgh; hitting the Access Music storefront in San Diego or Gramaphone Records in Chicago, or Turntable Lab in LA, I always ask for (1) the best local DJ mixes and (2) the events’ [fliers rack] and [usually] leave having experienced each.  I can say with certainty the Philadelphia hip-hop scene, even the overall party scene, revolves around a bunch of incredible DJs that conform to fundamental hip-hop aesthetics and can shake the floor without touching a top-40 track.  For my 12+ yrs living there, !llvibe Collective, Scratch Mekaniks, Nex Millen, Jim Redz, Sega, Emynd & Bo Bliz, Ultraviolet, the Seclusiasis DJs, NoPhrillz, Dave Cramske, The Philadelphyinz, and DJ Low B’s irreplaceable HOLLERTRONIX, [the platform from which Diplo soon-after rocketed to stardom], had been working and are still working.  Each one of these individuals/crews have all been *the* Philadelphia DJs of my generation [30-40 yrs], and now more than half of them tour nationally, if not worldwide… If I were to give only one example of Philadelphia displaying “brotherly love” inside of its city limits, no doubt it would be in witnessing living legends like Jazzy Jeff, Rich Medina and King Britt mentor younger DJs, like Statik- now the world-touring, Mr. Sonny James, as well as Lil Dave- co-host of Eavesdrop Radio on WKDU, with listeners from multiple continents tuning in weekly.

But with a bar set so by by such a large group of A+ turntablists, I often wonder about what younger DJs are deserving of carrying on such a legacy… It won’t be DJ Damage, trust me [whole other story]…  Really, there’s no better way to sell me on an unfamiliar DJ than a cosign from Mr. Sonny James… MEET DJ PHRESH SELECTS: I just peeped his first Mixcloud installment, and it’s the first time I can honestly call a mix full of apparent trap influence “engaging and tastefully done”, also “not-requiring several Red Bull + vodka pints to get me on [his] wavelength”.  Enjoy…

[press:] @RAEKWON (wu-tang) Live – 2.28.13 @TheBlockley Philadelphia

February 22, 2013

So, the Public Axis “kill-some-shit-with-live-shows” department is back open for business, partnering with dd Productions on a series of live hip-hop events at The Blockley, which was voted 2012’s Best Live Music Venue by PHL17 television.

Below the poster is the press release I wrote for the first installment with Chef Raekwon…

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

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In the ongoing conversation of the current state of hip-hop, to evoke the mid-90’s “golden era” is to recount an initiation of albums whose level of originality, many older fans feel, could never be rivaled by most contemporary fan favorites.  ‘When they reminisce over’ these tales of ultimate hip-hop-ness, it often falls on deaf ears with young crowds, many of whom had barely learned to walk before the seemingly-ancient, 20th Century trendsetters had been overshadowed by the pop culture influence ushered in Jay Z, Swizz Beats and others…

Now, 20 years since the golden era’s utopian existence, very- very- few of its legendary originators still remain tangible to subsequent generations of fans.  Even fewer have managed to evolve with the ever-morphing trends such that their appeal is as widespread as ever… RAEKWON the Chef, founding member of Wu-Tang Clan, is one of them.

Arguably the driving force behind the Wu’s enduring prevalence, everybody loves Rae.  While his subject matter as an emcee isolates thugs and black-market entrepreneurs rather specifically, his vivid lyricism and persona attract listeners from all walks of life.  Raekwon’s storytelling ability is hailed by critics; his poetic technique is admired by intellectuals, and his psychedelic references engage hipsters and coeds everywhere…

With extensive experience touring the world, as Raekwon’s audience continues to expand so does his eccentric kingpin aura…  Manifesting in the physical dimension for one night only in Philly- Thursday February 28th @ The Blockley– don’t miss this chance to ‘witness the God’.

#FridayFix: 5-Year Memorial … [Part 1]

January 8, 2013

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.

jun2007

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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).

apr2007

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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”.

oct2007

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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…

mar2007

#1 Instrumental Hip-Hop Album of 2012: *Cool Story, Pro* by Small Professor

December 31, 2012

On a hazy weekday afternoon circa 2005, during my occasional routine of MySpace “window-shopping” for undiscovered emcee talent to book on upcoming events, my attention was jolted by the name of a young, Philadelphia-based producer known as Small Professor.  My initial reaction, ignorantly misguided by his avatar of a vague, low-res ‘Wheelchair Professor-X’, was, “Okay, so is dude a paraplegic and/or scientist moonlighting as a beat-maker?  [Why else would someone justify such a bold appropriation a hip-hop pioneer’s namesake?]  …Whether an expression of homage or a convenient opportunity for self-deprecating humor, I better hear some BEATS.”

 Small Pro-black&white pic

Within minutes, my apprehensions dissolved in the echoes of Small Pro’s “Jamal Gray” instrumental (first track on the mix from link).  Its sublime harmony was most impressive for how perfectly it catered to Jamal Gray, aka THE LAST EMPEROR, our (coincidentally) mutual favorite emcee.  In the following seasons, Small Pro’s gift for absorbing specific techniques from a pack of influences and retrofitting them to a heavily melodic style.  Turning away from overdone 808’s and synths that suffocate the soul/funk/jazz elements inherent to Hip-Hop music built distinguished resume of contest victories and concept-based remix projects, plus instrumental collections, complete with irreverent titles and eccentric imagery, all of which amassed critical acclaim online for their musical vision and cohesive presentation.

…As the timeless saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.  For the forward-thinking Small Professor, the value of a melody is quite the same…  Since the early-2012 release of his Gigantic, Vol.1, MC compilation album, Smalls has continued to harvest his fan base through Bandcamp with a trilogy of sequels to 2011’s reliable Jawns instrumental projects, setting the tone for his latest musical evolution, Cool Story, Pro

csp1+2 (500x2)

Cool Story, Pro is not a drastic departure from its preceding releases, but it’s much, much more than an arbitrary collection of great hip-hop beats.  Best appreciated when played in its undisturbed entirety, each chapter of the glowingly soulful, 25-track opus is coupled with implicit titles like “She’s The One (I Think)”, “Signs”, and “Get Over It Already.”   The titles, as complemented by the dreamlike ambience, moody drums, and emotional vocal samples that weave throughout them, guide the listener through a kaleidoscope of all the sentiments that highlight the timeline of a romantic experience.  To me, Cool Story, Pro could play as the beginning-to-end cinema soundtrack to a love story that needs no dialogue… and subsequently wins ‘best movie’ at the Sundance Film Festival.

[PRESS] The Symphony Wins 1st @ BOTB w/ !llmind, Rook & S-1

December 25, 2012

Below the video and links to the official competition set on Soundcloud is the press release I drafted to celebrate my friend, Samik’s victory at iStandard Producers’ Beast of the Beats championship competition in NYC… You can also catch plenty of The Symphony’s latest music through The #BOARDROOM Living Compilation Album.

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THE SYMPHONY on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/#bau-symphony

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Saturday, December 1st:  a five-minute contagion of scrunch-face saturated Rebel nightclub during “Beast of the Beats VI” in NYC as Philadelphia-based producer, The Symphony, showcased an epic, 3-track set of music before a Grammy-winning panel of judges including S-1 (Kanye West’s “Power”), !llmind (50 Cent), and Rook from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League.  When the smoke cleared, The Symphony won first place out of 70 reputed beatsmiths, each of whose resume, at minimum, boasts a first or second place score in one of the many regional iStandard Producer Showcases across the United States.  Aside from generous supplements to his repertoire of production tools and personal supply of Monster Energy Drinks, he was also awarded the opportunity to spend a couple days in the studio with G.O.O.D. Music recording artist, Cyhi the Prynce, in Atlanta.

With the potential of some non-disclosed, A-list collaborations on the horizon, The Symphony anticipates the of release many bigger records in time, trying his hand not only in hip-hop but dub-step and house as well.  Never one to shy from challenging his own musical aesthetic or customs of the industry, he has also been a major contributor to The Boardroom, a “living album” project online that remodels itself in accordance with fan feedback.  Check it out to hear his latest single, “Everywhere”, alongside his Business As Usual Entertainment colleagues PT, DS and 2ew Gunn Ciz, plus plenty of other new music…

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Uptown XO (Diamond District) – “RUGGED” Video w/ Obi Say, Awthentik

December 18, 2012

Just got this in my inbox… dope as fuck.  Let’s just say it’s appropriately titled.  I miss videos like this; the style/scenery of the shoot reminds me of the old Redman “Funkorama” video, also below.

XO’s upcoming album Colour de Grey is coming soon courtesy of Mello Music Group.  In the meantime, you can cop his pre-release mixtape The Color Gray (featuring “Rugged”) for $7 on Bandcamp.  I grabbed this a couple months ago, still play it in my whip regularly.

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UptownXO

The Lost Public Axis Podcast (2010)

April 26, 2012

Sometimes, regression can be a good thing- like this podcast for example…

Assembled this summer 2010, Overhead & Undersells is a collection of  leaks, remixes and other unreleased joints- most of which are appearing for the first time on a cohesive project.  Amidst a cavalry of releases from Small Professor, Zilla Rocca, and Curly Castro during, and since the time this was compiled, the 40 minute gem mixed by DJ Son Raw fell on the backburner for a while, but it’s too nice to be forgotten.  And with the onslaught of expectation-challenging material still to come from the artists on this mix, Overhead & Undersells serves as a marker for some of the earlier aesthetic milestones of these artists’ ever-elevating sounds.

DOWNLOAD: Overhead & Undersells… Thanks to Fresh from 33 Jones for hooking up the cover art!

Public Axis Podcast Volume 1


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