The Roots‘ Black Thought recently spoke on the lack of unity between Philadelphia rappers and why past emcees like Will Smith should have made stronger efforts.
Thought described the struggles Philly emcees go through to rep their city.
“I wish artists like Will Smith and some of the other artists who were popular representing Philly in the ’80s and ’90s had [reached out] because what it does is it’s good for morale,” he explained in an interview. “It’s just a good look for the city and I mean, it just opens doors for the next generation of artists coming from your hometown…It breaks down a lot of barriers or apprehension that people might have about reaching out to a different sort of artist. Maybe the Beanie Sigel‘s and Peedi Crakk‘s will reach out to the Santogold‘s and the DJ Diplo‘s but that just like it would be unwelcome. So we send out a positive signal with a positive vibe by breaking genre barriers.” (Hip Hop Game)
Beans is known for trying to unite Philly rappers in the past via anti-violence events.
Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Gillie Da Kid and more have linked with Nike to provide fans with an upcoming “Brotherly Love Concert” in Philadelphia December 2008. Presented by Nike’s All Conditions Gear (ACG) shoe brand, the Philly-bred emcees will unite to show local fans their commitment to working together despite prior rap beefs in the past. “ACG’s are the official hood boots and I support what they do in the community,” Sigel said in a statement. “I had an idea to put everyone together in one building and on one stage to start a movement here in Philly and promote unity.” (Press Release)
Philly rappers aren’t alone in their plea for help, the West Coast’s Crooked I previously called out rap veterans in his region for not reaching out to up-and-coming emcees.
“You’ve got all these people on the West Coast,” he explained. “The ‘Men’ stands for ‘mentality’: No country for this old mentality. We don’t want to deal with this mentality that says we can’t like each other, we can’t unify…After this stuff, man, I’ve been really thinking. That [album is] cool. That’s something that needs to be said. But right now … I’ve been in these [life-threatening] situations before…My focus now is if Ice Cube, Snoop, Dre, none of them dudes wanna reach down and help the new dudes, that’s fine. Maybe I’ll call them and have a healthy conversation about it and move on. I’m not in that zone no more. I want to leave a body of work behind that matches a Biggie or Pac.” (MTV)
The Roots will kick-off their second annual “Picnic” festival in Philly this summer.
TV On The Radio, Asher Roth, Kid Cudi, Public Enemy, the Black Keys and Santigold are among the acts handpicked by The Roots to play the band’s second annual hometown “Roots Picnic” on June 6 at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Public Enemy will perform the classic album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” in its entirety backed by The Roots and Brooklyn-based Afrobeat band Antibalas. The Roots will also play two sets, opening and closing the festivities. The event runs from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm. (Billboard)