On a warm, wet evening in early September, I made a long trek from South Philly to Broad and Girard. Armed with a laptop in my bookbag, I made my way up the steep winding stairs of Warehouse on Watts. After paying the door person $5, I entered the party. The event, Hidden Gems, is an open aux showcase, designed to highlight Philly music producers — picture an open mic night where the preferred musical weapon of choice can be a sampler, drum machines or a laptop. After putting my name down on the signup sheet, I greeted friends, rappers, poets, DJs and fellow beatmakers, ordered a drink and waited for my turn to play some music. The room was welcoming and everyone was equally supportive of the pros and the novices.

Founded in 2018, the event is organized and hosted by a core group of DJ / producers — Jabair, Love City DJs (aka Dan Fisher) and Justin “3xpo” Schliep. On the first Wednesday of every month, the Hidden Gems crew invites producers from far and wide to come and share their tracks with an attentive audience of music lovers and creators. In addition to the musicians who sign up for the open aux, Hidden Gems has bolstered its reputation as a showcase for the city’s finest talents by inviting a who’s who of Philly DJs and producers to come play featured guest sets, including Lil Dave, DJ Sega, Johann Sebastian and many more.

On January 8, a special edition of Hidden Gems will be hosted at Warehouse On Watts, Hidden Gems x Jazz Night Philly featuring 3xpo/Jabair. In addition to live beat performances blended with live jazz performances, open aux and open jam sessions, Jabair and 3xpo will also be rocking a set live alongside the South Philly Big Band.

Combining Hidden Gems with live jazz makes perfect sense on many levels. Historically, hip-hop and jazz have always been closely linked. In addition to this, the welcoming, collaborative, and open-minded environment that the Hidden Gems crew has cultivated at their event fits in perfectly with the best that jazz and hip hop have to offer. Get more on the event here, and listen to music from the featured artists below.