Meet Philly’s punk-infused hip hop duo Old City

Old City is a band from Philly that makes hip hop using punk rock samples. With the sound that can be described as if The Clash met DJ Shadow at a basement show, or if Refused‘s ‘Shape Of Punk To Come’ was produced by Kanye West, they are a conglomeration of samples, genre, and attitude, while their self-titled ‘Old City’ EP is a punk rock’s ‘Paul’s Boutique.’

Filtering the ethos of punk through a hip hop lens, they’re redefining these genres. Their first offering – the ‘Old City’ EP – sets the stage for the sonic journey of their full-length self-titled release.

Teaming up with Buffalo rapper Tr38cho , Philly producer Old City sampled Green Day 32 times to compose ‘Get Sued’: their debut single released in 2019, and the second track on the EP. Along for the ride is another Buffalo rap native, Olmec: spitting a dry-mouthed guest verse in this stuck into the couch, waiting for the pizza delivery guy: instant stoner classic.

“My story ain’t like yours…” begins MURS in “Sixers,” a verbal onslaught overproduction that’s percussive, abrasive, and raw. Joining MURS on the track is Old City‘s main collab Tre Marsh (aka Tr38cho), a Buffalo native effortlessly balancing the tone.

Sampling Black Flag‘s iconic ‘Six Pack,’ Sixers’ is about the weirdos, the renegades, and finding your tribe through style. It’s for all rappers that favor other genres outside of hip-hop as an influence and suburban punk kids that only want to vent their frustrations in the moshpit of a sweaty basement.

Sixers” music video is animated in a rough, flipbook style; reminiscent of a high school delinquent sketching his dreams while in detention for cutting class.

Sampling Pennywise‘s 1997 song ‘Society,’ Old City‘s ‘Class Act’ features Shawna Potter from the feminist hardcore band War on Women on the hook, with Melissa ‘Winter’ Hurley from the bands BadXMouth and Pissbath and Nastya Pavlov of the Belarusian band Messed Up! on backing vocals.

The track is a shout-out to all the female and non-binary rabble-rousers in the punk and alternative scene – out there starting bands, writing zines, surfing crowds, and giving hell. ‘Class Act’ shines the spotlight onto the strong, independent women the band admires and all that they do: overcoming gender adversity to get loud at a show while taking no shit, and Old City offers the mic up to those very women. #CelebrateLoudWomen

‘Pipebomb’ is a bitingly satirical commentary on the destructive nature of an unchecked police force in the modern-day. The track is a genre fusion that samples Dead Kennedys‘Police Truck’ with the production stylings of ‘2001’-era Dr. Dre.

Written from the perspective of a corrupt cop joyfully indulging in police brutality, Tre invokes the braggadocious persona of a reckless officer safe from accountability with the protection of the Blue Wall of Silence. Faced against a legacy of extra-judicial murders, a bloated police department budget, and an unapologetic police union: the track serves as a blanket attack on the practices of militarized law enforcement in the US lacking accountability and forgiveness. #blacklivesmatter

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