It’s a snow day here in Philadelphia, and Cody Kahmar‘s Instagram is full of pictures of his kids sledding. It’s a far cry from the scenes in the video he released yesterday for his latest single “Last Time”. Director Shannon Muir shot the pool party video in Los Angeles as summer was ending, perfectly suiting the song itself, which marries apocalyptic hedonist lyrics reminiscent of Jay Sean’s overly-specific “2012″ to the Nile Rodgers’ disco vibes of Daft Punk’s smash hit “Get Lucky”. Generalizing that ‘party as if you’ll never get to again’ attitude adds a distinctly Philadelphian touch to this slice of SoCal escapism, as the harsh realities of life in one of the most violent cities in America make such an outlook all too realistic. Escape is a common theme in Philadelphia, with our two most famous exports, Will Smith and Meek Mill, both spending most of their time in sunnier climes.
Kahmar, however, is less concerned with personal escape or even the imposing and mostly academic question of long-term solutions and more focused on what can be done to be positive in the moment. From injecting a sugar-rush of pop optimism into the conversation with his music to standing up for the struggling school system, his focus is firmly on the present, grounded in reality while making room for some good times amid the harshness. He does not find himself alone in these efforts, as a similar approach is being taken by artists in gangland Chicago like Chance the Rapper and the growing ‘bop’ scene, holding up a lamp of hope while honestly confronting the darkness in the tradition of ’70s-era Motown. Isn’t that, in the grand scheme of things, what we really want from our artists?
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC