Hip-hop show Phonicpalooza crops up next to Firefly

From left, Darnell “Primo Nellz” Cephas, Arshon “Ar$hon” Howard and brothers Ivan “Triiipy” Shockley and Jaleel “EwlLewl” Shockley make up the hip-hop group Champagne Gang. The local group will be one of more than 30 musical acts to play at Phonicpalooza today starting at 2 p.m. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Traditionally, a lucky local musical act or two has a chance to perform on one of the Firefly Music Festival’s stages. This year, Amillion The Poet of Dover, had that opportunity. However, for several years, a concurrent, unaffiliated music festival known as After Fly has been offering a venue to more local acts.

Today, a hip-hop show called “Phonicpalooza” will be hosted at After Fly, said organizer and local hip-hop artist John “Left Lane Didon” Graham.

“After Fly had been happening for years and they have a great setup with a stage and lighting on Persimmon Tree Lane across the street from Firefly,” said Mr. Graham. “Every year, all the local acts want to perform at Firefly, but that opportunity doesn’t always come along. They’ll bring on a local act every year, which is great and they do spread it around. But this is just an opportunity to include the local acts who didn’t have that chance and give them a platform.”

One such group is Dover’s Champagne Gang. Dover natives Darnell “Primo Nellz” Cephas, Arshon “Ar$hon” Howard and brothers Ivan “Triiipy” Shockley and Jaleel “EwlLewl” Shockley formed the hip-hop group about a year ago and have been “honing” their skills at local venues.

“We all started as solo acts back around 2009, but we decided to combine our efforts and form a rap group,” said Mr. Howard. “The local rap scene is still small, but it’s starting to grow a little. There’s still a lack of venues so their isn’t a lot of places for us to showcase our skills. Artists usually end up going to Philly, D.C. or Maryland to find bigger crowds. Allure Nightclub in Dover is one of the few places locally that allows hip-hop performances.”

The Champagne Gang released their first album — Champagne & OJ — earlier this year and also host a podcast available at champagnelounge.podiant.co/.

Phonicpalooza opens its doors at noon today with music starting at 2 p.m., said Mr. Graham. The event will feature 35 individual acts. Entry is $10 per ticket at the gate. Although the venue is east of the Persimmon Tree Lane and Kurt Drive intersection, Mr. Graham said parking and transportation will be available at 110 Persimmon Circle in Dover.

Several of the acts are from out of town as well, noted Mr. Graham.

“Most of the acts and the crowd will be local, but we did pull in a few other artists,” he said. “We have CRMC from Chester, Tha God Fahim is coming up from Atlanta and a few more. I think we’re going to draw a pretty big crowd this year though because we have so many local acts like Chris Skillz, Champangne Gang and Cypher Clique, involved. Basically everyone who’s active on the local rap scene is going to be there.”

Although setting up shop in the long shadow cast by the Firefly Music Festival — often drawing tens of thousands of music fans — Mr. Graham feels Phonicpalooza and After Fly are a compliment to the festival rather than a competitor.

“We’re trying to build and add to the culture of the festival,” he said. “A lot of out-of-towners come in for it, and that’s great — we love it. But, we want people in the city to feel the same way about it and feel some involvement with the festival atmosphere. We’re extremely proud to have Firefly come to our city and want to participate. When you involve the local scene, you add to it.”

If you go

Where: 110 Persimmon Circle in Dover

When: gate opens at noon today, music starts at 2 p.m. $10 per ticket

Artists featured: Tha God Fahim, J Hood, Immobiliare, CRMC, Stack Skrilla, Chris Skillz, All Hail Y.T., Stikk-Man, Cypher Clique, TUHD, SIKK, Lexx Bubble, Boatman, Freebandzzz, King Ceelo, Meta-Morphus, Attackthegame, Champagne Gang, Milli Allday, Pauly Deniro, Congo Gorilla Gang, Dee Black, Maj Miskotto, NAZ302, Songbird the Goddess, Ron Cox and more

 

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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