Why is Memphis Rap Legend Tommy Wright III Playing in Philly?

May 06, 2011

Memphis' Tommy Wright III is basically the last rapper whose name you'd expect to see on a flyer in Philadelphia. The lo-fi, tape fueled murder rap scene that birthed him is experiencing a minor renaissance right now, having predicted the curious work of internet age rap eccentrics like Main Attrakionz and SpaceGhostPurrp. Wright's name rarely comes up in conversations about those artists. He's a legend in Tennessee—and with creepy German fetishists who overpay for REAL BLACK MAN GANGSTA cassettes on eBay—but virtually unknown everywhere else. His Wikipedia entry was even deleted for failing to meet the site's "notability guidelines."

So it's not really clear why he's playing a Mad Decent party next Monday or who the performance is targeting. Is there some sort of secret cabal of Philly based hipster revivalists who gangsta walk ironically? Or an heretofore unheard of community of M-Town transplants—a Little Memphis, perhaps—on the outskirts of Philly? Is Mad Decent merely using this show as a tax write off to compensate for the cost of Diplo's ill advised live-in sushi chef? Whatever the case we should celebrate its existence. If you're Philly based you'll get to witness a rare up-North performance (his first?) from an unheralded Southern rap legend. If you're not in Philly, you can still watch the batch of Tommy videos on the next page. Everybody wins.

"Murder (Killin' Spree)" (1997)

Ten Wanted Men, "Wanted Dead Or Alive" (1993)

"Gangsta Forever" f. La Chat & Playa Fly (1996)

"Runnin & Gunnin'" (1995)

Why is Memphis Rap Legend Tommy Wright III Playing in Philly?