Hip-Hop Heritage spotlights GREATNESS with student-written EP - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Hip Hop Heritage class at Palumbo | photo by Michael Boyle | courtesy of the artist

Last year, we introduced you to Hip-Hop Heritage, a youth-oriented after school program from South Philly’s Academy at Palumbo. The organization specializes in teaching kids the craft and culture of hip-hop through classes, recording sessions, and guest speakers, and now they’ve shared the fruits of their labor, GREATNESS. This six song EP was written and performed entirely by the students, and if it’s any indication of where Philly hip-hop is headed, the city is in good hands.

GREATNESS kicks off strong with “Moving_OUT”, a smooth, soulful number that boasts personal, laid-back verses and a sick, jazzy bassline. Meanwhile, following tracks “Stay Strong” and “In_My_Zone” feature trap-heavy production, benefitting from their positive messages and playful braggadocio, respectively. The wordplay is strong throughout, but I have to give a special shout-out to the latter track for choice puns like “Come to my city, get a-Philly-ated.” They keep the energy high with “the Fullest,” a no-holds-barred hype track; then, they take things down a notch with spacious, propulsive cloud rap jam “Success.” Finally, they cap the whole thing off with a bang on the appropriately titled “Stand_Out,” which has some of the fieriest verses on the whole EP.

There’s a palpable optimism to these songs that makes them especially refreshing to hear. Producers t.utain and n.pyfrom, collectively the Odd Couple, provide varied, lively production for the young rappers throughout, but otherwise, this is all the students’ doing. It’s an inspiring listen, and you can stream it below.

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