Thee Phantom & The Illaharmonic Orchestra brought their unique style of music the World-Renowned Kennedy Center on Sunday, December 31st Mixing the elements of Hip Hop & classical music, the show was the perfect way to close out 2017.
Thee Phantom got his start at the wrote when his first rhyme at the age of eight and later made his first beat by mixing the instrumental from the Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere” with Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” at age twelve. His love of music was evident throughout the night as he covered hip-hop favorites from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, and Talib Kweli. Phantom’s covering of West’s 2005’s “Touch the Sky” was a particular highlight as The Illaharmonic Orchestra were able to bring out the soul in the song with ease.
The second cover highlight of the night was his wife’s cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life”. Performing under the stage name The Phoenix, Thee Phantom’s wife take was breathtaking to hear. Now I’ve never been a fan of Minaj, however hearing the song performed by someone else, gave me a new respect for the song.
The show wasn’t a night of all covers as the Thee Phantom performed original material as well. Showcasing content from his sophomore album “Making of an Underdog,” I was immediately impressed with his lyricism. Showcasing different topics such as love on “A Song for You,” where he spins tales of his three loves; Philadelphia, Hip-Hop, and his wife. Or showcasing a mashup in the song “B-Boy Meets” Beethoven.” “Jackin for Keys was the highlight of the original material for me, though. Leading into the performance of “Jackin for Keys, Thee Phantom instructed his DJ to play instrumentals of hip-hop songs that all feature piano sounds for the accompaniment.
After a brief intermission, it was time for the DJ to shine. While Thee Phantom took a break, his DJ entertained the crowd with classic eighties hip-hop tracks. It was a nonstop party for a diverse audience. No hip-hop show is complete without a b-boy, aka break-dancer battle. Thee Phantom’s b-boys engaged in a battle of traditional break dancing and friendly competition.
There are very few rappers that I will shell out money to see LIVE. For a long time, I’ve felt that hip-hop has lost its way. We’re living in a time where anyone who makes a catchy song can be a star. With the Thee Phantom & The Illaharmonic Orchestra, not only are they a skilled group of musicians, but their leader also brings a fresh voice to the music known as Hip Hop.
Final Grade: A-