Monday, June 5, 2017

OneWay & Illadelph Records

"Philly hip-hop super crew OneWay pools some serious talent.

Rolling with an entourage makes for rolling steady with the punches. That seems to be the creed behind OneWay, a network of Philly artists — Munk Wit Da Funk, Militant Mind State (Jared, Joe Will and Spreadlove), Stewey Nuke’em, K-Sara, Chops of the Mountain Brothers and DJ Cosmo — who formed behind the belief that there is strength in numbers.

This philosophy is substantiated on Civic Minded, the full-length collaboration on which every MC in the collective gets his own shine-time. Illadelph Records, started in 1995, is OneWay’s base camp, so to speak. Jared Kenny, one of the label’s founding members who produced all but two tracks on Civic Minded (the other two were done by Chops), explains how they chose the album’s title: "I guess we kind of used a play on the words. The album revolves around trying to keep a level head and think morally upright. At the same time, everybody on the album is from the city."

On the production side of things, Civic Minded often has an unmistakably old-school feel to it, which could work to OneWay’s benefit considering the newfound appreciation for what is now being called hip-hop’s Golden Age. Jared breaks down his theory of how that era of yore manifested itself on the album. "A lot of people always say that my beats are, I guess, verging on what Pete Rock sounded like. Usually a lot of people say I format my stuff [on him]," he admits, while also declaring his open-mindedness for varying styles. "We try to tap all aspects of the hip-hop genre, so we really might have some stuff that might go old school a little more as far as the beats. Some of it we’ll try and pump up to the new level. Not that we don’t like to expand, but we do try to keep the raw essence to it."

Regardless of what "school" Civic Minded is classified under, these seven MCs are holding rhyming class. Chops’ witty punchlines steal the show on "Puffed Heads," where DJ Cosmo cuts on the chorus. Munk shows mad versatility over mellow xylophone and horns on "Been Here Stayin" by switching from his regular wealth-centric cheddar boasting to shed a didactic rhyme. Spreadlove comes off almost like Rakim on "Get Over It," backed by live instruments including piano played by Drew Gillis. One of the album’s definite stand-out joints is "Drama," which features Rahsheed (of Ill Advised fame) and fierce violins composed by Jared. Chops then stirs up an equally intense remix of the track. The song has gotten some shine-up in underground magazines Blu and Urb, but it’s not the first time Illadelph Records has incited tremors in music’s subterrain."

12" - 1995 - Illadelph Records  

"1996 was a good year for Illadelph Records. Munk’s "I Blame My Neighborhood" made it to #1 on Power 99’s hip-hop countdown, while Militant Mind State’s "Bottom Line" got regular play on Urban Expressions. "

12" - 1995 - Illadelph Records  

"Over the next few years, they put out singles that got spins on Cosmic Kev and J-Ski’s 8 o’clock Mix-Tape, L.A.’s syndicated Sway and Tech’s Wake-Up Show, The Box, and Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito’s hip-hop show in New York. Ego Trip, On The Go, Echoes, Underground Soundz, Straight No Chaser and even City Paper paid attention to the buzz around Illadelph’s single dropping.
All this has given Jared enough clout as a producer to draw in new talent. Reggae artist Singing Melody, whose debut is being produced by Sly and Robbie, makes a cameo on Civic Minded’s "No One’s Better Than You." And the dominoes keep falling in the right direction. Singing Melody suggested that Jared produce a 12-inch for Sincere and D-Lo, two MCs out of Brooklyn who have done rhyming intros for Pete Rock’s Sunday night Future Flavors show on Hot 97 in New York. "Even New York is coming to Philly
for production," says Jared, "because we’re proficient in what we do."
by Hamida Kinge

May 11–18, 2000
Philadelphia City Paper 

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