Underground, noun: 1) music too shitty for widespread appeal; 2) it's a regional thing; popularity is limited by a movement's geography.
Philly rarely embraces the latter scenario. Genres like grime, electro, dubstep and even hyphy are insignificant blips on the cultural radar here, even though they represent innovative urban music from a limitless global talent pool.
DJ/producer Gair "Dev79" Marking is the general of the eight-piece music collective Seclusiasis, who've spent the last seven years championing the "edgier underground urban bass musics" that might otherwise be ignored in this city.
"Philly is a weird beast, with the emphasis on beast," Marking explains. "People here love to hate, for better or worse. There are too many people doing the same thing. There's a big midlevel and an even bigger low-level. For a scene to be healthy, there needs to be more of a balance between the community creating and the community appreciating music and art."
Meeting the masses halfway, Marking's latest mixtape compilation Dev 79 Presents Street Bass Anthems consists mostly of crew-devised remixes of today's pop hits from artists like Mike Jones, JR Writer and Rich Boy. It reworks the aforementioned subgenres into a club/DJ-friendly atmosphere designed to cross over but still retain an innovative edge.
"Street bass" is a term Seclusiasis uses to loosely define the various sounds they represent. "It's not a genre--it's a sound," says Marking. "It needs to stay open-ended."