By Dan Emmons
There is something in the air, something special. Walk past the cigarette smoke at the entrance, up the steps and settle in near the bar while the crowd files in front of the stage. Next thing you know, Hip Hop. Not Rap, Hip Hop. Are you still following me?
Filled with the boom-bap sounds of old, artists take the stage of the Trocadero to a crowd of people that have long ago turn their radios off and their own musical collection on. Fans of the old school style of Hip Hop where the message held more weight, fill the audience and our host for the evening and proverbial man behind the curtain, Jay Grady, takes the stage.
Lyrically Fit is one of the longest running hip hop events in city of Philadelphia and now expanded to Atlantic City, Wilmington and Newark Delaware as well as Brooklyn, New York. The head of Lyrically Fit is Jay Grady and as his team is getting ready for the launch of www.lyricallyfit.com on September 27th, I got the chance to talk to him.
“I remember having the old school tape deck ready to go when Lady B came on back in the day” Jay said, when asked about the effect Hip Hop has had on his life, “I grew up in an era where Hip Hop had a lot of positive messages. The lyrics spoke in their songs molded my thoughts and actions. “ He told me about hanging out with a kid named Joe, about 15 years old back in the Bronx playing basketball. That kid turned out to be Diamond D, producer for the Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest, and Busta Rhymes among others. Jay’s life has always seemed to be infused with Hip Hop from being part of a dance team, to family members becoming DJ’s.
That gives him good ground to judge today’s radio version of Hip Hop. “I challenge anyone to find 3 mainstream quote un-quote Hip Hop songs that was made between 2011-2013, that doesn’t speak about money, cars or women. The first person to find me 3 songs gets on the guest list for all Lyrically Fit shows for the rest of 2013!” Although the mainstream radio isn’t Jay’s cup of tea, he has found a home with the Undergound scene and shows like the IIourshow with T.H.E. and people like Phil Jackson from Side B radio. “I’ve also done shows with artist such as Sadat X, Jeru the Damaja, Narubi Selah, Camp Lo, Cee Knowledge aka Doodlebug & Butterfly (Digable Planets), Dj Too Tuff (Tuff Crew), Dj Tat Money (Hip Top Hustlers/Steady B’s Dj).”
Philly holds a special place in the heart of Mr. Lyrically Fit since that is where it all started. He even has a few favorite Emcees (not limited to just this city) like Reef the Lost Cauze, Mr. Fickle, The Roots, Omega Ice, Apollo the Great, Rich Quick, Wise Intelligent, Rich Raw, ShoreShot, Magnum O, CyMarshall Law and crews like Crazy 88’s and Corfu. “I recently had Skrewtape destroy the Lyrically Fit stage along with bringing out Mike Voss to close out their set with a Skumbag Millionaire joint.”
But Lyrically fit has bigger goals than to just be a Hip Hop showcase. Their slogan “Where the world becomes one with Hip Hop” is becoming more of a reality with the launch of their website on September 27th. Jay plans on having Hip Hop news, interviews, articles but adding an avenue which artists can network across the planet. From that point the brand can and plans to grow even further.
So, as we wait for the website to drop, there are still Lyrically Fit shows being planned, booked, and performed all along the Tri-State area. Which one are you going to?
Lyrically fit veterans:
Wise Intelligent – Photo by Larry Quinn
Four Horsemen- Photo By Flair Foto’s
Rich Quick– Photo by Smash
In Front- Mr Fickle Photo By Planetary P
Voss – Photo By BSMG Media
Milton– Photo by BSMG Media