• Hello Philly!
    I am planning to come to the US next summer and would love to discover some of Philly's real real hiphop clubs, festivals, block parties. I'm thinking May or June (most preferably June) I know it's early to be asking, but it is raining in London so I'm daydreaming about brighter days to come :)
    Any tips on websites, forums, blogs, mailing lists etc would be very greatly appreciated.
    And cheap travel options to/from New York city and/or Montreal would also be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you very much & happy hiphoping
    Adele x x
    Hey Adele,
    Here's the current list of "hip hop" clubs on Yelp, although I find a lot of them to be more "pop hop" than real hip hop clubs.


    Of those, I think Fluid is the one solid place for real, real hip hop, but you want to check their event and reviews for whoever spins on whichever nights you plan on going there. After Fluid, 700 club, Silk City, and the Barbary are more of "hipster hop" (hahaha, yeah), but at least not crappy pop stuff like some other places. Philly used to be so awesome, but good solid clubs are hard to find and depending on the night. Personal opinion, of course.

    Check out Philadelphia Weekly for up-to-date events around the city: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/events/

    Best way to travel: Mega Bus or Bolt Bus. Very cheap and comfortable so they are very popular with CSers visiting Philly.

    Thank you Al :)
    What is your/Philly's verdict on The Roots Picnic day festival?
    Is it worth the $$$ ??!!
    I hadn't heard of BoltBus so thanks for the tip.
    Adele x
    Also don't forget greyhound for getting from Philly to NYC. The Greyhound station is pretty bad here, but they have much more frequent trips from NYC to Philly than Mega/Bolt Buses and they're buses usually earlier/later in the day. I took the overnight Greyhound bus from Philly to Montreal to go to Osheaga Music Festival a couple of months back. I believe it was $136 RT and about 10 hours of travel time each way. Leaving friday night and getting back Monday morning. Not too bad of a trip. Montreal is amazing. About hip hop clubs, I don't know too much about that, but The Roots Picnic is usually pretty good, depends on who they book that year, but the Roots are always great. and they have the Made in America concert now every year that has a heavy hip hop influence.
    I haven't been to The Roots Picnic, but from what I heard it's worth it. Personally, I'm indifferent to the Roots since they seem to be at every Philly event since my college days.

    While I hate getting any political on the subject, I lost developing any interest for the Roots any further ever since ?uestlove came out and sympathized with a rapist/murderer who committed one of the most heinous crimes in Philly, 2 blocks from our house. It's a long story here: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/feature-understanding-the-man-who-killed-sabina-rose-o-donnell/ . His original take to lend excuse to the monster is here: http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/criticalmass/uestlove_on_donte_johnson.html . It's an ugly truth in some ways, no doubt, but too much sympathy and excuses for what was inexcusable.

    Sorry for getting heavy on the subject there, but it's a part of life in Philly here for us. :)

    Hey Al,

    Thank you so, so much for posting this. I had no idea this happened (I lived abroad the whole year in 2010) and Sabina's story has completely moved me. I read the articles you posted as well as more I found from google. The first one you posted, from phillymag.com, is a beautiful piece of journalism that I am just not used to seeing these days and has absolutely swallowed me up in this story. The second one was not so much an article as it was a re-posting of ?uestlove's tweet plus a massive record of public responses, which has been incredibly moving as well. And I mean that literally as well as emotionally - I jumped out of a my chair at one comment that has made me really want to do something and I plan on getting starting as soon as I get off work tonight...

    So I just wanted to say, thanks for sharing your knowledge and opening my eyes to something that I otherwise wouldn't have ever heard about which has inspired me in a big way to take action...

    Take care,

    ?uestlove helped raise money for the funeral of the victim of this crime, as it stated in the article. So to demonize him.... it is what it is.
    ?uestlove has done a lot of good things in/for Philly. I guess you can't outwardly reflect these days on your own personal life and your past and what could have been, or feel bad for people who have it really really badly, without endorsing all of their negative traits and actions? Well, for what it's worth, I too feel bad for people who are born into bad environments, through know fault of their own, and I also feel bad for the innocent victims of crimes.
    You are welcome, Julie. The whole thing hit us, as well as our neighborhood, pretty hard here since we know Sabina in passing from PYT, where she worked and where we frequented. She was murdered literally 2 blocks up on the same street where we live. We went to her memorial event at Liberties Land Park. Everything that transpired was edged in memory with a lot of emotion.

    Daniel, there are a lot of opposing takes on either side on ?uestlove's debacle. No one disputes what he has done in/for Philly nor the fact that he raised fund for Sabina's funeral. Still, neither of those contributions can excuse what he said, which sympathizes and lends excuses to the monster, especially when the pain was so fresh for many people at the time.

    First off, it's well-known that poverty, living conditions, and lack of parental guidance are all factors contributing to a poor upbringing. None of that is an excuse for raping and murdering, I don't care who can relate to such upbringing. There isn't any further "understanding" or more lights can be shed on it that criminologists and anyone who reads a little here and there don't already know. The fact that ?uestlove rose above all of that and became who he is now should be an example of what is possible. Instead of challenging the community and reflect on "look what I became, why couldn't this murderer and the rest of you do the same?" he chose "I understand how it could happen". This is both sympathetic and excusing.

    Secondly, the fact that he "was hoping that the murder was white" is too an excuse as if to say if the murderer were white, that would be out of the norm and conversely, being black and poor it was the expected norm.

    Thirdly, the "18 is a baby" comment can easily be construed as an attempt to draw sympathy. I'm sorry, but I don't care at what age you rape and murder someone, you are not a "baby".

    Ultimately, there is a big difference between objectively study, determine causes and effects, suggest and then act upon the reasons to prevent crimes vs. sympathizing/feeling bad for people living in a bad environment. We already know the causes, what are we doing to do about it? Why "try to understand" or sympathize? Sympathy for criminals only make you feel better for yourself and doesn't do much to change/help past victims or prevent future criminals. Justice and activism, 2 things that ?uestlove should have gone after, much more impactful given his stature, would have been much more fruitful.

    I disagree, but that's okay. As the closeness of the tragic loss of Sabina's life and the horrible event that happened in your neighborhood is to you and others from that neighborhood... the closeness of growing up poor, black and amongst violence and murder (and seeing what becomes of so many young minorities) is to ?uestlove. It's obviously very personal to him, as so many people he knows have all ended up the same way, either dead or in jail.

    It's hard to judge a man until you've lived his life and walked in his shoes. Sympathy and empathy are good things to me. I didn't see anywhere that he tried to excuse the killer or suggest that he go free or he was justified in his actions.

    I also sympathize with child soldiers in Africa who are kidnapped and forced to carry around machine guns and machetes at the age of 8, and they're forced to kill their own families and rape people that they know. It's disgusting. Do they grow to become monsters? Of course most of them do. But I'm not a bad person, or wrong, or excusing their crimes, for having sympathy for that innocent child whose life has been wasted and destroyed by the surroundings that he had no choice over. It could have been me, or you, who were born into a war-torn country in Africa and been kidnapped and forced to kill. Does that make us bad people? Or just people who are products of environments that we had absolutely no control over? And I most certainly imagine that if a child soldier in Africa was one of the few to escape his captors and go on to live a normal or successful life, he would look back at the rest of the children who didn't make it out of the same place that he came from and feel an INCREDIBLE amount of sympathy for those "monsters" who are murderers and rapists.

    Just my opinion. Someone's gotta stick up for ?uesto. Dude's a legend and a good person. If empathy for people makes you a bad person... I don't want to be good.
    Don't confuse my lack of sympathy for an 18-year-old who weren't forced at gunpoint to stalk a helpless girl, try to rob her, rape her, then strangle her to death with her bra for the lack of compassion/understanding for the misfortunes of child soldiers. The similarities between Sabina's rapist murderer to a typical African child soldier end at "product of their environment" and the rest of circumstances couldn't be more different.

    Free will and having choices have a lot to do with it. No teenage American, living in America with all the opportunities and chances it affords, even in the poorest of environment, is forced at gunpoint and taught to rape and kill. This rapist/murderer is as much a product of his environment as pedophile priests are products of theirs. I would too loathe to think any middle age accomplished Christian man would sympathize pedophile priests and "understand" it. You can directly blame Kony and the likes of him for child soldiers, but you can't blame anyone directly for pedophile priests or 18-year-old rapist murderer, except themselves. It's coward for them to place that responsibility for their actions on anything/anyone else and lend credence to such actions as "understandable" in any way, shape, or form. Any attempt to sympathize by relating to personal life and begging to understand "why" is ultimately making an excuse. Excuses don't need to be explicit in words nor does it have to go the full way to make them reprehensible; and, the accomplishments of the man behind the words should play no role in the defense of making such excuses.

    It's a big stretch to blanket how I may feel about others and their situations based on my opinions and feelings about a rapist/murderer who is 18 years of age. I can absolutely sympathize, but with limits. I can see trying to understand acting out, fighting, beating, stealing because of growing up in "poor environment", but rape and murder? Really? Your poor upbringing in the ghetto, being black, with no one holding a gun to your head, makes it sympathizable that you raped and murdered? That's a lousy excuse and you will never pry an ounce of sympathy or understanding from me. Rapists and murders aren't like me, that's for sure, so forgive me if I can't walk in their shoes and feel for them like you or ?uestlove can.

    I will give you that ?uestlove hope that the murderer wasn't black is equivalent to Muslims hoping a recently heard terrorist act wasn't by a Muslim.

    My comment on the age was you are NOT a baby if you know to rape and murder. You are definitely not a baby at 18 and know to rape and murder. A child soldier who know how to rape and murder is not "a baby", except he was taught to do that and Sabina's rapist/murder wasn't. Even if ghetto kids are in the similar psychological state as child soldiers, there's a huge difference in doing what you were specifically taught and doing just because. I can make sense out of one, but not the other. For me, one is excusable and can be sympathized, the other cannot. I do sympathize and understand the plights and actions of child soldiers on a different continent an ocean away, but I cannot for this murderer in a ghetto a several blocks away. I find very little similarity and accept none of the excuses, the least of which is his age.

    I was not close to Sabina, but this happened in my neighborhood so it's much closer to home for me. Still, I can say without a doubt that if it happened elsewhere, to someone else I have never met and ?uestlove came off the exact same way, it would not in any way change my take on the whole thing. Then again, you don't really know me and how I approach every issue on its own merit and do my best to stay objective, so just my words. The difference between us, to your admittance in #1, is that you would have reacted differently if Sabina someone closer to you. Along the same line, you defended ?uestlove because his contribution and importance, "someone needs to defend him", so your defense is influenced by your relationship to the person. Personally, I find defense of a person base on my relationship with that person makes for poor assessment of the issue. Instead, I hold my view regardless of my relationship to the people in any event. This is why I irk my Jewish and Muslim friends equally in my view of the Middle East conflict due to their respective attachment/allegiance. If that makes me look like I'm judging, then so be it.

    Hahahaha...seriously now, Daniel? I'm far from "pissed" and I don't need to lash out at anyone. It's just mostly the same sorry excuses and defense of ?uestlove I hear over again from months ago. I spent time responding because I actually found some of your takes interesting, even if laced with enamored attachment to ?uestlove's contribution to the community. What he has done for the community, for Sabina, more or less than me or you, is absolutely irrelevant. I'm not sure why you insisted on his contribution and influence somehow makes my opinion on his sympathizing excuse less valid. I guess if I can raise more fund for Sabina and spin music, I would automatically be fair, accurate, and unbiased right?

    No one said ?uestlove demanded the the murder goes free or shouldn't be punished. Let's not make up things I DIDN'T say and ask me for evident for words I didn't speak. I'm not sure how I can be more clear. Having sympathy, especially in the nature and manner ?uestlove did for a rapist and murderer, is making excuses. It says you understand why it happened. Putting rape and murder on the perpetrator's background IS making his background an excuse. Excuse not necessarily to free the perpetrator, but excuse to rationalize his heinous action. If society gives credence to such excuse-bringing sympathy, the next perpetrator will just cite his background as the reason to commit the same crime, relinquish any responsibility for actions all within his control. Let's hope that the next victim is not someone close to you so you and ?uestlove can continue to sympathize the next "victim" for whatever self-nobilizing unbiased reasons that make you feel good about yourself at the expense of the real victims - a dead girl and her family.


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