For a city so enriched by local hip hop lore and rich rap history, we haven’t got much game to show for it, live spaces in Philly where hip hop’s top tiers can gig and fresh faces can develop.
I’m not talking about DJ nights. I’m not talking about NOTO where rappers such as Meek Mill hang when in town. I’m talking about live venue-bars such as back in the day boites like the 5 Spot (home to The Roots and Black Lily events) and Silk City and the 90s Arch Street clubs whose names changed to protect the guilty.
That means we must protect and cherish the notion of THE AVE, Philly’s first live hip hop hot spot in forever. Located in famed real estate owner and developer Joe Grasso’s old Egypt nightclub space at 520 N Columbus Blvd, the high ceilinged, wide dancefloor location is run by a score of familiar faces from Philly nightlife of the past and recent past – some names we know from Live Nation booking, talent buyer Derek Dorsey from The Fire, and such.
After several LCB delays, the atmospherically lit urban hang suite is ready to go, starting with one live showcase last night (December 26’s Dirt Monkey) and a dancefloor furious Making Time party for New Year’s Eve with Dave Pianka’s DJ crew on December 31.
The most important dates on THE AVE’s still-fresh calendar, however, is tonight – December 27 – and January 11.
Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and his legendary “Black on Both Sides” partner from Black Star days, Talib Kweli don’t play together often anymore. Hell, Bey doesn’t play out enough, period, all but retired from the hip hop game is he. Yet, the pair are out and about celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Afro-conscious epic, and Dorsey snagged them for THE AVE for December 27 – one of his longest ever wants for his live promotion’s bucket list(Editor’s Note: at the time of posting, this event has been canceled).
Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man and his most valued associate (and acting partner) Redman (from the old Def Squad) take over THE AVE on January 11 with music from their full-length collaborative effort, “Blackout!,” and chunks of their “How High” flicks.
Check here for more upcoming shows as they get announced: https://www.theavelive.com/