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The 5 Spot Remembered
by Haile Campbell
 

Editors Note: The 5 Spot caught on fire and is no more but the memories that building contained and the people it's touched will live on. Haile Campbell, a frequent visitor of The 5 Spot decided to put her thoughts on the site and we hope that you will also share your thoughts on this important landmark in Philadelphia musical history. Please send any thoughts on The 5 Spot to music@geoclan.com and we will update this page in the near future. Thanks and live on, live strong!

Up in Smoke...

I stepped off a plane and I turned on my phone, as usual but all of a sudden my Sidekick was bombarded with e-mails and texts. The words were simple, but they broke my heart. "The 5 Spot burned down." I felt an immediate wave of sadness come over me. Then a thought crossed my mind that made me laugh. I realized this home to so much music housed it's last party, hosted by Skipmode and Flipside, ironically titled "Hip-Hop Lives". It couldn't have been a better send off. The 5 Spot sent us a final message.

It wasn't like I or many of my crew have spent much time in there in the last year, but it was always like a home to me for in the preceding years. Hearing the news felt oddly like someone telling me that my childhood home had been torn down. The 5 Spot was indeed the place where I fell in love with Philly and it's sound.

The 5 Spot was an amazing little place. It did not look like much from the outside, in fact if you walked down the alley looking for it, it was entirely possible to pass it completely. Yet, when you walked through the doors, a whole world opened up. On the downstairs there was usually a DJ holding it down, making people shake their booties on the dance floor, while the more timid looked on.

While the downstairs was the party spot, it was the upstairs that made the place legendary. Walking up the flight of stairs, energy could be felt. Energy of dreams being built gained power with every step. The door opened up to a world of talent and creativity bubbling and grooving. At any given moment you could catch a new performer honing their skills, or big names hanging out and feeling the vibe. This place has seen everyone from local acts to big names like Erykah Badu and Prince grace it's doorstep and many times it's tiny stage.

Yet, the star-power wasn't the drawing point. The true signature was the intimacy. The stage made you feel connected to the performer (they were face to face with you, after all) and your fellow attendees. Many friendships were built and a community cut its teeth here.

I met and fostered relationships with some of the most interesting and influential in my life. If it wasn't for The 5 Spot, who knows what direction my life would have turned. Thanks to The 5 Spot and it's staff for giving birth to a wonderful legacy. The 5 Spot will live on through our memory and the movement in which it fostered.

And now...
We thought that we would share a few quotes from friends and members of the World Family.

"I'm deeply saddened by the loss of The 5 Spot because it was one of the very few venues that would feature Hip Hop left in Philly. I was just there the night before it caught fire for the Hip Hop Lives event! I had a lot of great times there and got to see and be part of a lot of dope shows there. I met a lot of good folks there too! R.I.P. 5 Spot." - DJ Ultraviolet

"The 5 Spot in Philadelphia was the type of place that every artist both deserves and cherishes. Events such as the Black Lily, Beat Society and Hip Hop Lives always nurtured artistic expression that went against the grain." - DJ Phillie Blunt of the Illvibe Collective

"The 5 Spot at one point was a magical place, my fondest memories wereTuesday nights when the Black Lily would showcase Philly's amazing talent to an audience that appreciated what the city had to offer." - Rame, GeoClan.com Webmaster

Before entering the Philly Hip Hop scene, I knew of three things: The Liberty Bell, South Street, and The Five Spot. I remember when I first started working for WPHI I was told to check out Beat Society. I was so excited to finally see and experience the place I had heard of so much. When I entered the spot I was in love. The atmosphere: "Real", the sound system "Bangin", the vibe "Authentic" The Staff "Friendly". I was excited to be apart of the legacy, being a part of No Excuse Thurs. and attending so many the shows showcasing local groups (Hip Hop and otherwise). You will be missed... - Tactics (Skratch Makaniks)

"I will always have fond memories of The 5 Spot . Not only did I get to experience great music from The Roots to Kindred and The Jazzyfatnastees but it was also the place I met my wife!" - William Baptist, GeoClan.com Politics Editor

"The 5 Spot was one of the few venues we as Philadelphians and musicians could always rely onto support events of quality and substance. We will feel its loss" - DJ Statik of the Illvibe Collective

"About seven years ago, when I first came to Philly in 1999, the 5-spot was the first nite place I visited. It was so different than anything Cali offered. At the time, people across the country just started hearing about the Philly Sound, me included. My favorite night at the 5 Spot has to be the Black Lilly night every Tuesday. I can't count how many times Jag, Jill, Flo Brown, Mercedes or Tracy just killed it and left me breathless. It was pure heaven. One I think we won't find again anytime soon in Philly. It was our moment in time." – Joni Bishop, GeoClan.com contributor

TO truly be able to say you know what Philly Hip Hop and the spoken word movementwas all about you would have to step into spot where it always took place! Peace to The 5 Spot!" - Cast from Schoolz of Thought

"The 5 Spot wasn't just a building but an institution of our culture. It was a place where young artists could nurture their craft. It will surely be missed." - Norman "B.O.B." Green, GeoClan.com Assistant Music Editor

"I met a lot of good people there. It was a magicalplace and I'll miss it." - Dice Raw

"When I reached the ripe age of 21 The Five Spot was one of the first clubs I went to.In fact it was my first Black Lily . I saw Floetry( and for those of you who know me know that was the first time i fell in love with the songstress) , and The Jazzys(Jazzyfatnastees for those of you that dont know).That was just some of the highlights of that night...Jill Scott popped out of a room in the back! It was the first of many wild and crazy nights I encountered at the Five Spot. From The Black Lily to so many album release parties, Scion parties and just regular parties there was a feeling of family at the Five Spot. It feels like the cousin you only see once and a while is not there anymore. 5 Spot you will be missed but the memories will live on forever. - C.A.B Calli, Jack of All Trades/GeoClan Music Liaison

"The 5 Spot was the first place I could access those Philly based artists I listened to when I was gaining my musical tastes and was a beacon of light to the power of the Philadelphia sound made famous a generation before me.Along with the Philly based acts it was a place some "nobody" could cut their teeth and gain confidence and acclaim! It was nothing for me to see The Roots, Kindred, Jill Scott, BIlal and The Jazzyfatnastees there and I was always amazed at how many people heard of it from all over the world! I just was just Philly to me! I turns out it was so much more. Those Black Lily nights, hosted by Riva, were some of my most memorable nights and I hope we can get just a glimpse of that shine back in one location in the future!" - Clayton Ruley, GeoClan.com Editor In Chief

 

 

 

 

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