The Dope Shows Festival jumps off this weekend at the Mann Center.
Last year, North Philadelphia rapper and singer PNB Rock told me during a lengthy interview about his pride for his hometown and his hopes for its future-forward MC crew. “If it wasn’t for Philly I wouldn’t be here,” he said proudly, before mentioning those who would follow in his footsteps, as well as those of other top tier local rappers. proudly. “I felt for a long time that Meek (Mill) and I were pioneers – that there were people who looked up to us and trust us. There’s a lot of guys up and coming that are worth hearing. I’m just ready to keep it going and keep the love going and make it all positive.”
This weekend, a handful of those local up-and-comers – along with the brand name, nationally beloved likes of Pusha T and Lil Durk – will join PNB Rock in the first ever Dope Shows Festival at The Mann Center’s Skyline Stage, high on the hill on Parkside Avenue, deep in West Philly. (Saturday, July 6, starting at noon).
Stephen Piner and Jamir Shaw – both from West Philadelphia, both in real estate along with their promotion business, have been curating and pushing handfuls of Dope Shows along the eastern seaboard with rap giants such as Rick Ross, Gunna, and Jadakiss since 2017. The concept of a deep, day-long local hip hop festival – filling a void in the lack of festival events focusing on just the music of hip hop – comes just weeks after The Roots Picnic expanded its hip hop cultural reach and the physical footprint by stretching across the lawns and grassy knolls of The Mann and its surrounding areas.
Going back to what PNB said about the Philly-based up-and-comers that this city must tend to, this weekend’s Dope Shows Festival has on its bill local lights such as Brygreatah, SimXSantana, and Zahsosa, to say nothing of Rock himself, celebrating the music of albums such as “TrapStar Turnt PopStar.”