Philadelphia is a city that has long been associated with African-American culture and music. From the jazz scene of the 1940s and 1950s, to the soul music of the 1960s and 1970s, Philadelphia has been a major musical destination. Names like Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass and Hall & Oates have all put Philadelphia on the map as a major music hub. The TV show “American Bandstand” even began in the City of Brotherly Love. In later years, Schoolly D stepped away from the microphone and took advantage of his musical talent.
He was involved in contributing and writing soundtracks for films, and composed the music for the popular Adult Swim television series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, for which he also occasionally did dubbing work. With his charisma and intelligent lyrics that often dealt with life on the street, Schoolly D managed to capture the attention of major rap radio stations of the time, becoming one of the most well-known rappers from Philadelphia since The Fresh Prince. In early 2000, he released his Roc-A-Fella debut, The Truth, which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard charts. The album also saw Just Blaze and Kanye West receive their first widespread exposure as producers. The Roots would release two more albums in the 1990s, which are often considered to be their best work.
Lyrically, Illadelph Halflife is perhaps The Roots' greatest effort, as both MCs show absolute prowess on the microphone from start to finish. The album includes special appearances by Raphael Saadiq, Common, Bahamadia and future member Dice Raw. The album showed a small deviation from the sound of live music that was so prominent on their first two albums, and had a distinctly more “behind the tables” sound. The production was handled by The Grand Negaz, Questlove and Kelo and, despite reducing the sound of live music, was highly acclaimed. In 1979, Philadelphia rapper Lady B (one of the first female hip hop artists) released To The Beat Y'all, putting the city on the hip-hop map. Read on to learn more about how Philadelphia helped define what hip-hop is today, as well as information on 50th anniversary events and concerts by local and national hip-hop artists. Originally from the rough streets of West Philadelphia as a graffiti artist, D picked up the microphone and quickly made a big impact in the mid-1980s.
In the late 90s, when hip-hop was a major commercial success, Philadelphia-born artists such as Eve and Beanie Sigel attracted public attention with publications on major record labels. The night in question was a back-to-school party, with a soundtrack from popular artists such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and The Meters. The Puerto Rican trap and reggaeton artist has collaborated with local artists from around the world, including Bad Bunny and Karol G, introducing new generations to the world of Latin hip-hop. Relax as several hip-hop legends such as TI, Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Cam'ron visit North Broad Street for a night of retro songs and hip-hop anthems. When he's not busy as a music producer, social activist and entrepreneur, Houston artist Lecrae shows us how he became the first rapper to win the Best Gospel Artist Award at the BET Awards. Visit us often to see other events such as 50th anniversary celebrations and Philadelphia hip-hop concerts featuring both local and national artists throughout the year. Two of the most influential voices in hip-hop take the stage in South Philadelphia for what is Drake's first tour in five years.