Review: Chill Moody celebrates at TLA
West Philly rapper Chill Moody has long offered locals a diet of challenging homey lyrics about growing up and out of the nest, agile, flowing vocal rhythms, and contagious electro-laced melodies. Moody's career trajectory - like Philly's other hip-hop su
West Philly rapper Chill Moody has long offered locals a diet of challenging homey lyrics about growing up and out of the nest, agile, flowing vocal rhythms, and contagious electro-laced melodies. Moody's career trajectory - like Philly's other hip-hop success, Meek Mill, when he was in his rising-star phase - meant popular self-released mix-tapes, radio airplay, spots on Power 99 FM's Powerhouse showcase, and, in 2012, a sold-out show at Theater of Living Arts on the heels of his then-new album, #RFM.
Moody is Philly rap's most special snowflake. All he needs for mega-success is a Meek-like mentor à la Rick Ross. This made him truly worthy of his own big 30th birthday party - #30IsTheNew30 - Saturday at TLA with fellow local hip-hop folk DJ Ricochet, Jacqueline Constance, Ol' Souls, Beano, and rocker Kid Felix. It certainly beat celebrating with just a birthday Italian rum cake.
In two sets (first with his DJ, then a night-ending band jam), the wiry MC with a high rap vocal range never failed to impress. Wearing a baggy Mitchell & Ness sweatshirt that dwarfed his lean frame, Moody did an introductory set for an intimate family-and-friends crowd that was a rapier-fast freestyle full of sound and fury - signifying nothing, but still homespun fun. For his final set, he ripped through the driving tribal rhythm of "Bombs," the haunting Roots-inspired "nicethings Fall Apart," and the hard dancehall-ish "Captain Hook" in what seemed like seconds flat. Most impressive, though, were his slow love-jams, such as the Teddy Pendergrass-sampled, Philly soul-orchestrated "Turn Off Tha Lights," and the oozingly contagious "What'sForBreakfast?" duet with Philly's Beano.
Handpicked by Moody, the opening acts were impressive. The Pearl Jam-ish Kid Felix was a fish out of water, not because they rocked but because they trafficked in grandeur and grit that seemed at odds with, say, Beano's emotively romantic but nasty live R&B vibe (his "One Shot" was smashing) and the party-ball-frat-boy rap of Lancaster's Ol' Souls and its good vibe funk. Jacqueline Constance was the opening's highlight with her gently nuanced brand of ambient soul-jazz and sampled vocal frippery reminiscent of Zap Mama. After looping a series of pops, clicks, oohs, and ahhs, her high, warbling voice drifted atop the Mount Airy sway of "Good Life" (with rapper Antwan Davis) and the spaced-out cocktail soul of "Addicted." She's one to watch.