November is my birthday month and generally, I try to use this month as a time of reflection and preparation for the coming year. For a few reasons, this November feels charged up and chaotic. The news cycle continues to spit out a steady stream of horrors at an increasingly fast rate, the public discourse is toxic and there’s a seemingly insurmountable pile of records that I need to listen to. As always, a bright spot in my month has been Philly’s local music talent. From Santigold’s lovely Tiny Desk performance to new releases from Queen Jo and Dell-P, we’ve been blessed with a wealth of great musical moments from some of our city’s best acts. Here are a few Philly-related things that I’ve been excited about this month.
Dell-P – The People’s MC
West Philly MC Dell-P has been on a hell of a run over the last few years, releasing a handful of top-notch projects. The People’s MC is his latest and greatest, a record full of fiery bars and dope production. Dell-P shines solo on uplifting tracks like “The Most High” and trades slick verses alongside Peedi Crakk on the standout cut, “Good Night.” Full of great production and lyrics, The People’s MC comes straight out of hip hop’s heart and spirit.
Queen Jo – Bananas
Outside of the catchy, eclectic production, what immediately stands out about Bananas is Queen Jo’s commanding, technically precise delivery, her ability to construct and ride intricate patterns throughout the course of an entire verse. The title track “Bananas” and songs like “Drawlin” find Queen Jo putting on a clinic on the mic and her collab with Ballroom legend, Kevin JZ Prodigy, “Ice The Girls” is a joy too. Thematically, Bananas is crazy fun on some real hot girl shit and each song is lit up by the flame of Queen Jo’s boundless skill and charisma.
Santigold’s Tiny Desk Concert
NPR’s Tiny Desk crew has been killing it for a while now, but this one was extra special. Uptown’s finest, Santigold, appeared on the show recently with a lovely, stripped-down set. With Philly punk legend Chuck Treece on drums, Santi spoke on her origins and ran through a set of standouts including “L.E.S. Artistes,” “I’m A Lady,” and Stiffed’s “Ain’t Got Enough.”
Darko The Super – The Meeting Place
Unfathomably prolific, bizarre, and funny, rapper/producer Darko The Super is the spiritual son of Frank Zappa and Biz Markie. His latest album, The Meeting Place combines trippy beats and skits with incisive social commentary. Come for his timely reimagining of Gil Scott Heron “Billionaire Space Race (Leave Whitey On The Moon)” and stay for the self-effacing wit Darko piles into “Gym Teacher,” a bittersweet tune with a glorious beat from Baltimore underground rap legend, Height Keech.
Stereolab – Live At J.C. Dobbs (11/11/1993)
On November 11th,1993, French and English retro-futurists, Stereolab played a 7 pm all-ages show at Dobbs on South Street. Luckily, someone captured the set on video and it’s been a joy to watch. Vocal harmonies and Farfisa abound, the band run through early classics like “French Disko” and “Golden Ball.” Tickets were five bucks and I wish I had a time machine.