By Tone Trump, West Philly rapper
I’m a fan inspired by a lot of Philly artists. But if I have to pick my favorite rapper, I am going with ... me. Yeah, ME! I’m Muslim. I’m God-fearing and humble, but when it comes to my music and brand, I’m feeling myself right now. I’m working my ass off to take it to levels most artists don’t believe are possible.
In 2010, I was blessed to see my hard work pay off, and it’s a special feeling to win in a game most lose and most want to see you lose!
So here’s how I’m winning: I co-hosted “Philly Day” on MTV Jams, where my video “Wifey” debuted. I was on the cover of Straight Stuntin Magazine . I’ve been featured in a number of national magazines including a three-page spread in Urban Ink, and was named “Philly’s Next to blow” by Hip-Hop Weekly.
I have music spinning on Power 99 and 100.3 The Beat, and daily spins on New York’s Hot 97. DJ KaySlay broke my last six records. Funkmaster Flex is not only playing my music, but last month he personally asked me to perform at his website’s launch party, which supports my music and videos. And speaking of my videos, they’re featured on hip-hop’s number one site, Worldstarhiphop.com, gaining me millions of views. Just part of the reason DJ Cosmic Kev called me, “The King of the Internet.” I work very hard; even those who HATE on me will tell you that! At a sold-out event at BB Kings in N.Y.C. I won “Most Exciting Artist of the Year” at the Underground Music Awards. My Umi (mother) put the trophy next to my five Philly Hip-Hop Awards.
My goal is to make history, millions of dollars, and create opportunities through my music, movies and books. I’m making sure when people talk Philly, they’ll have to say TONE TRUMP! #letswin!
By Sarah Everton, drummer, Reading Rainbow
Punk is not exclusive to alienated, angsty, sloppy wastoid boys. There are plenty of alienated, angsty, sloppy wastoid girls who love it too. Case in point: the Philly-based DIY punk two piece Slutever.
The first time we met Nicole and Rachel was at a house show we played in December 2009. After one of the straight-edge college boys hosting the show brandished a bat because the bands played past 10 p.m., we were heading out the door when they introduced themselves. They said they were starting a band called Slutever and I immediately knew I would like them.
In much the same way people today mistreat “lo-fi” as a genre term, people use the term “riot grrrl” as a way to describe music. Riot Grrrl was a revolutionary movement started by feminist punks in Olympia, Wash., in the early ’90s. So for me to say Slutever is “riot grrrl revival” would be somewhat inaccurate. That said, Slutever can totally be considered a reincarnation of Bratmobile, not only because of the obvious similarities in sound—gutteral lady screaming, bratty lyrics and surfy guitar—but also because watching Slutever play makes me want to play too.
It might not register to some that being a woman in music is still just as frustrating and intimidating as it ever was in many ways. To see a couple ladies with the balls to name themselves Slutever playing simple, straight-up punk is inspiring to anybody with any concept of the tradition they are continuing and to the state of the music scene today.
By Justin Hallman, bassist, Do You Need the Service?
My days are numbered. I’m coming to terms with that. I’m getting old. I don’t get out so much anymore. Somewhere between laziness and disinterest, I just can’t hit the clubs like I once did. Still, I think it is very important to support my fellow Philly musicians, though I tend to do this in abstract, theoretical ways like ... thinking fondly of the band while I do my very best to not fall asleep before 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I step it up, however, by maybe purchasing a Philly band’s new album, or “friending” them on Facebook. But to go see a band these days, I need a guarantee I’m going to get a show. Rather, a SHOW!!
Consistently I find that, in Philadelphia, no band understands the weightiness of this task—the task of delivering a dense piece of visual and audial distraction that kicks you in the naughties—better than Black Landlord. Several years into their career and with a couple of recordings under their belt, Black Landlord knows how to be BIG. While Black Landlord is currently a nine-piece band, the bigness I refer to is actually in their delivery. It’s huge. Picture Jerome from the Time starting a punk club side project with James Brown. There are no ballads here. The Black Landlord isn’t interested in your feelings, only in making your ass move. A commendable approach to playing music.
The “Black Landlord” in question is leader Maxx Stoyanoff-Williams. You might know him as a third of the ’90s hip-hop group the Goats. He’s much more than just a landlord though. He’s the ringleader. The Godfather in the white suit. He’s not the landlord who wants you to turn the music down, he wants you to turn it up so he can come over and turn it into a real party.
Amongst its members, Black Landlord is roughly 348 years old. This would make most other bands just old. With BL, however, these are some very experienced 348 years. Absolute tight players. Maxx very intentionally and strategically assembled his band; picking the finest players from Philly’s punk and Indie scene. Former members of bands like the After Dinner Mints, Delta 72, Sugar Skulls, Omegalord, Shellito and many others fill out the ranks in the band.
At shows, the Black Landlord knows everyone in the crowd, even if he’s never met you. He knows your kind, and he’s got your number.
The 50 greatest Philly pop songs
PW's Summer Guide 2015