Five must-have beat tapes from the Philadelphia scene

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This article was originally featured on WXPN is the key on May 20th.

In recent years, the beat making community has grown into a global movement. Once a small, isolated guild of people with special skills, the knowledge needed to create beats has been democratized through YouTube tutorials, info forums, and more. Coupled with the fact that access to the technology required to produce tracks has opened up, it enables people from all walks of life to produce music for music communities around the world, and beat-making is thriving in the year 2021.

As predictable, this dynamic also exists here in Philadelphia. Our city has a great variety of producers who not only make tracks for artists, but also demonstrate their skills by creating and releasing their own independent instrumental projects. Here are five of the best recent beat tapes from producers with a deep connection to our city’s music scene.


Rolled gold, Archetype suggests vol. 4th

For years, Philadelphia-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Rolled Gold has been creating an unmistakable sound based on crisp kicks and snares as well as soulful chord progressions. For the fourth volume of his Archetype Beats Rolled Gold series contains nine airy instrumental tracks that are a perfect addition to a nice smoking or meditation session.


GentleJawns, GentleJawns Vol 2

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Under the name GentleJawns, Joie Kathos and Jacqueline Constance create beats that are colorful and reserved. With tracks like the dreamy neo-soul bop “After 2am” and “I Don’t Know” with its atmospheric synths, GentleJawns Vol 2 produces a bittersweet, rich and nocturnal sound.


AP, FREE WRLD

FREE WRLD is an impressive debut beat tape from aspiring producer AP. Whether it’s the soulful keys and bouncing drum break on “Eastcoast Sweatshirt” or the smooth, Fela-esque groove on “Afro”, the entire band is full of inventive tracks and it’s exciting to imagine what AP is next behind the boards will do.


Little Professor A Jawn Supreme (Vol. 1-3)

Small professor for 10 years jaw Series served as an outlet for the Philadelphia-born producer to develop his accomplished sample-turning skills. A Jawn Supreme (Vol. 1-3) is a high point in Small Pro’s long and varied career, with each volume showing its impressive and whimsical approach to manipulating and arranging samples.


Deion, Life is Beats Part II

Jersey-born, Philadelphia-raised producer / filmmaker Deion’s Life is Beats Part II acts as the score too Life is strange, a film that Deion independently created and released this year. With the film’s story centered on two brothers on the run from law enforcement, this soulful soundtrack sets a dramatic tone full of emotion.


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