When we toured UPenn, I noticed the abundance of blue safety lights located on campus and said, "No thank you, my sheltered suburban upbringing did not prepare me for this." Now I return, more than a decade later: street smart, intimidating, and afraid of nothing.
Philly is only a short ride from New York -- just over an hour by train, two hours by bus -- so it'll serve as an easy day trip. I'm riding out with friends from here and then another friend is meeting us from Houston. Right now, our plans are to do the Mural Arts Love Letter Train Tour, which takes you to see fifty murals painted by graffiti artist Steve Powers. "The project...collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their cherished neighborhood." The tour starts at ten in the morning and we're leaving on a seven thirty bus from New York, so we'll see if I'm actually awake for this thing. Wish me luck.
The most important question to answer on any sort of road trip is to figure out "what am I listening to?" At first I was just going to fire up J.Period's Best of the Roots and call it a day but then I realized that so many great artists hail from Philadelphia. So I took it upon myself to make the greatest Philadelphia mixtape. Hyperbole included.
Yo Adrian!All the artists from the mixtape are either from Philly, associated with Philly, covering a Philly native's song, or literally singing about Philly -- with one notable TV related exception. The songs lean heavily toward hip hop and New Soul, because that's the sound I personally associate with Philadelphia. As with the Ultimate Mraz, I broke the mixtape into two sides: "cheesesteak" is upbeat and "hoagies" is for easy listening. Or just mix it all up in one iTunes playlist and see what you get.
Track list - Zip file
Disc One: Cheesesteak
18 songs, 1 hr 12 mins, 95.0 MB
Disc Two: Hoagies
16 songs, 1 hr 06 mins, 86.4 MB
The biggest omission, aside from some rap artists, is Will Smith. I know, how can I leave off the Fresh Prince? Honestly, I couldn't find a song of his I wanted to put on the mixtape. The obvious choice is "Summertime," but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's winter now and the song would just be teasing me. So no Will Smith, and no"Motown Philly." I figured "Motown Philly" gets enough love already, and thus I opted for a lesser played Boyz II Men track.
I was delighted to learn that Hall & Oates are Philadelphia, and they're the only artist that gets two tracks. Everyone else receives one. I only got into Hall and Oates last year or so, and I was/am obsessed. Daryl Hall and John Oates met at Temple University and the reason they sound so damn good is because their producers were behind a lot of the Philly soul sound. I don't care if they were co-opting black music, it's too good! Hall and Oates deserved two selections.
Last thing: I pre-loaded images from the Love Letter Train Tour murals as the album art. When you pick a theme, you gotta go all the way right? Download Yo Adrian! today and let's ride.