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R&B makes a comeback at 2014 PhillyHip-Hop Awards

"The 30-somethings, they want their hip-hop back," says the Philly Hip-Hop Awards' Sonya McDuffie.

Rising R&B singer Milton is no longer a shy guy. He’s set to be a featured performer at the 2014 Philly Hip-Hop Awards, Saturday at TLA on South Street .

“I haven’t performed in a while,” says Milton, who goes by just his first name (his last is McCauley). “I don’t want to give out too much.”

Well, it sounds like he’s still a little reticent. Milton is the Maryland native who’s been making waves on the 215 scene. He’s been working on a new album, “Simple Pleasures,” an ambient flow of neo-soul and atmospheric grooves produced by Philly’s Rob Devious. His track “Everybody Knows” is up for Song of the Year.

Why, you ask, all the fuss about an R&B cat at a show with hip-hop in the name?

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“R&B is back,” says Awards chairperson Sonya McDuffie. “There’s an unprecedented amount of groups that are here in Philly. There have always been R&B groups but ... it’s really about bringing back that authentic black entertainment.”

“Hip-hop is not just black, we have a very diverse show. But as far as black audiences, they’re getting increasingly turned off from the live show experience because there isn’t one,” she continues, referring to the widespread use of backing tracks for hip-hop artists.

But now, with R&B acts, the live experience is coming back, McDuffie says, “and people are excited.”

There are more than 30 artists vying for R&B awards in the male and female categories.

The Urban Celebrity magazine crew,which includes Duffie, have their fingers on the pulse of the city’s music scene and this is their fourth awards show. Meanwhile, Lihtz Kamraz, Good Girl, Asia Sparks, PnB Rock, Dave Watson, Santos, David Lyve, Jeremy Isaac, Da Troopa, Quilly Millz, Summer Valentine, Tev Geez, Zero, Phinatic, Reese Rel , Luv and War and Milton are set to perform.

Boxer Danny “Swift” Garcia, DJ Jay-Ski, Hilltop Hustlers, Corey Wims, aka “The King of Hooks,” and Live Nation regional president Jeff Gordon will be honored in the legends category.

Keeping it local

It’s notable that the hit city duo Moosh and Twist will not be in the house, nor are they on any of the nominee lists.

They’re currently touring Europe.

"We’re always proud of our artists who go out on the road and travel aboard and perform overseas — that’s great, we don’t want you to always stay local,” McDuffie says. “The Philly Hip-Hop Awards are just that, the Philly Hip-Hop Awards. When they come home to perform, they’re going to sell out because they’re a very popular group, they have a rabid fan base. But when we considered the nominees for the Philly Hip-Hop Awards, you have to have a city-wide impact and we’re talking about in the streets. What are the DJs playing?”

The 2014 Philly Hip-Hop Awards are Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Theatre of Living Arts (334 South St.) Tickets are $29 at www.lnphilly.com.

 
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