Performer Magazine

Xerxes

Video Credit: No Sleep Records Official YouTube Channel

Talking to Calvin Philley on a Sunday afternoon in early October was a little bit like a therapy session between perfect strangers.

I’ve never met Philley. But the 22-years-old, who lives in Louisville and makes ends meet by bartending each night, sounds familiar. He works so he can play, and his ideas and sentiments are shared between millions of Millennials around the globe.

But Philley is also unique. He is the front man for the popular post-punk quartet, Xerxes, which has had a few incarnations since its genesis in 2009.

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How Wu-Tang & Suburban Rebellion Inspired Umass’ Beatspill Radio Show

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WMUA is housed in the back corner in the dingy basement of UMass Amherst’s campus center. Walk into this tiny studio, and chances are that you will find students busy putting together the latest and greatest playlists in all genres. Over the past few years, Miles Powell and John Holowitz have clocked a lot of time in this spot, co-creating the Beatspill radio show.

Beatspill, which started as a hip-hop blog, was the brain baby of four friends who met in high school and learned to love the genre as they got into college life. The guys were late bloomers to the hip-hop fandom, which shouldn’t be all too surprising considering they are middle class white kids from the suburbs of Boston.

“I grew up listening to all oldies music,” Powell says. “To the extent where I had such a stereotypical attitude of [hip-hop] music… I would be going to basketball games, and I’d be jamming out to the Bee Gees.”

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Moe Pope

By Alexandra Lane

Intrinsically motivated, quick-witted, Boston-based rapper Moe Pope has been in the game for the better part of the last decade, and is now releasing what is arguably his best work. It’s no surprise he just won the Boston Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Artist. Pope, who is known for his lyrical social commentary and casual persona, is creating old-school hip-hop in a new voice. Laying down rhymes on unique tracks of his own composition, Pope it upping the ante for up and coming hip-hop artists to not only talk about real issues, but to do it in an distinctive way. This month, we got the chance to talk with Pope about his upcoming album, his hometown influence, the music industry, and his creative process. (more…)