As we’ve mentioned before, live hip-hop and R&B in Philadelphia is alive and well in the capable hands of Hazie Blu. A backing band of considerable experience, their efforts find them supporting and working with a variety of artists, as well as projects with the band and in some cases as solo artists themselves. One member has recently taken the solo route under the name A’rin Leon, but brings the rest of them along regularly, including a recent show at Warmdaddy’s and in this, his latest music video, featuring appearances by bassist Wil Bond and drummer Keith Weatherley aka Tony Macaroni. Co-directed by the artist and Justin Thomas, “Live For It” finds Leon running into an old flame, which causes her trouble with the rougher crowd with whom she’s been spending time. The song has a definite reggae vibe, with ad-libs and eventually a bridge in full patois by The Hvddle. Anyone familiar with Leon’s West Philadelphia neighborhood will surely feel right at home. With lyrics reminiscent of Huey Newton’s advocacy of revolutionary suicide, Leon’s performance encourages the audience to “find something worth dying for, and live for it”. This being an R&B song, that something is in fact someone. Appropriately enough, the video’s tag consists of Leon standing up for the woman in question as she’s being thrown around by the heavies, one of whom reaches for a gun as the screen fades to black and shots ring out. Between this clip and the preceding one for “Paradox”, he has demonstrated a real flair for the dramatic, with storytelling in the songs mirroring the storytelling on screen.
The Bul Bey is another artist that works extensively with Hazie Blu. While he’s never been a member of the band, the rapper plays shows with them frequently. The next opportunity to see the magic they make together will be October 18th at Johnny Brenda’s, where they’ll be opening for underground legends Reef the Lost Cauze and Black Milk. The aforementioned Wil Bond and myself both have cameos in the forthcoming video for his latest release, “On”, out yesterday through local indie label Illvibe Media. Complete with clean version, instrumental, and trap remixes by DJ Skipmode and UGLYBASS, the single release is more of an EP, giving fans another glimpse of Bey’s upcoming project Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies. With fire production from Clark Kennedy and lyrics that manage to be both positive and party-starting, this has all the characteristics of a breakout single. These are both definitely artists to watch in the remainder of 2014!
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC