On March 14 2014, local rapper, producer, and sound engineer, Kenneth Sullivan released his self-titled mixtape. On the same date, Sullivan performed the 14 track take in its entirety to a packed crowd at Kung Fu Necktie.
The night started out simple enough. Door were at 6 and up until about 8pm Kenneth and his crew were shoot pool and slow sipping on brews. At around 7:45 a steady stream of people made their way into the Fishtown venue. Daps and kisses were abundant and it was clear that Sullivan had a strong and close-knit fanbase.
First to take the stage was rapper and Southwest Philadelphia native Bey. His lyrical prowess was accented by snare and 808 heavy production. The first half of his performance Bey’s sister supported his flow with seemingly effortless background vocals. He sealed his set with his version on 2 Pac’s “Keep Ya Head Up”. An attempted call and response for the lyric “The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice. The darker the flesh the deeper the roots.” failed when the audience fumbled to figure out the correct wording.
Next to the stage was Ganou, a 23-year-old French-born songstress and composer. Ganou took to the stage unannounced drawing the attendees away from the bar and closer to the stage with her dreamscape production. She entranced the audience with a set full of ambient yet powerful singing. While transitioning into a new song, Ganou accidentally hit herself in the face with the microphone. The clumsiness did not interrupt her smooth as cream crooning. Ganou ended her performance with wall-to wall applause from the audience.
After two amazing openers, a sober Kenneth Sullivan hops on the stage. Before performing any songs, he encourages the crowd to buy him drinks. Almost instantly, an unknown man weaves thought the audience and hands Sullivan a cranberry and vodka that he downs within seconds of receiving. The cocktail ignited a spark in him that fuelled his opening song “Pilot Gear” featuring Ganou. The crowd responded to his simple yet hard hitting lyrics with whoops and cheers. This particular vibe was ever present throughout his entire set. The audience and their energy continued to grow along with with the liquid libation gifted to the headlining artist. Sullivan maintained a solid cadence while rapping about balancing the his life as blue collar worker and a musician.
The show ended with sweat and body heat permeating Kung Fu Necktie. All of the performers looked joyous and upbeat as they began to make plans for the evening. Whispers of an after party were in the air – clearly the turn up was only beginning…….
To hear some tracks from the mixtape and the rest of the Parkhouse crew click summin