Philly Moves
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Philly Moves

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Duo Hip Hop Alternative




"New Canadian Music - Philly Moves"

"Philly Moves is a duo from Ottawa who have quickly garnered respect for their seamless lyrical prose and fine-tuned production zing. The songs simply peel and burn with sincerity. " - New Canadian Music

"Ottawa's Golden Age of Hip-hop"

"A big dose of undiluted your face...well" - The Ottawa Citizen

"Philly Moves - LeBreton Flats"

"Philly Moves really showed just what separates their herb from the underground hip-hop chaff. Sounding more Luciano than Sublime, Tragic and Rockwell focused extensively on the feel-good groove of each track, a refreshing departure from the insecurity-fuelled bravado so many Canadian rappers are coping at the moment." - Exclaim!

"Philly Moves Into The Spotlight"

Ottawa duo Philly Moves have hit the ground running, establishing themselves as a buzz-worthy Canadian hip hop group in just a short period of time.

“We really only started doing shows this time last year,” admits one half of the group, Tynan Phelan, aka MC Tragic. “We had an album out, we sent it out to all the college stations and they all eventually got back to us and said ‘your album’s been charting here for months.’”

That was in ten markets across the country, giving Philly Moves the motivation to take things to the next level.

“We used all those contacts and the confidence that we built off that to book a Canadian tour. We had only performed maybe four or five times before we went on that tour — 25 shows coast to coast, 20 radio spots. It was pretty ambitious but we worked hard at it and made it work.”

Philly Moves just finished recording their third mixtape; this one is all alternative songs from the 90s. Their previous two were adventurous as well — the first was all songs by female pop singers. The next one was songs from the 60s and 70s — think The Beatles and Hall and Oates. - Metro Ottawa

"The Nation’s Capital Brings The Heat"

"Philly Moves did not disappoint. A group that has seen much success around the country already, Philly Moves is a hip hop duo that bring the party to the stage with them. All smiles, Tynan “Tragic” Phelan, Jon “Rockwell” Desilva, Hassan “Dj So Nice” Hamdan played a set that kept the energy high and worked off of audience participation." - In a Nutshell

"Putting Ottawa on the map"

"Putting Ottawa on the map" - Metro Ottawa

"Philly Moves moving hip hop along"

"entertaining and upbeat music with lots of soul." - The Ottawa Sun

"Philly Moves send “Dear Hip-Hop” letter to rap game"

"Ottawa’s premier hip-hop collective" - Martyr Magazine

"Spotlight- Philly Moves"

"Together, the two are like musical dynamite, and the passion for their craft emanates from every word." - Performer Magazine

"Feel Good Hip-Hop with Philly Moves"

FOUNDED ON A 16-year-long friendship between Tynan “Tragic” Phelan and Jonny “Rockwell” Desilva, Ottawa-based hip-hop group Philly Moves is gearing up for the release of their latest album, How To Drink Yourself Famous.

“This album is a new direction for us,” says Phelan. “This is definitely our most eclectic music yet.”

Influenced by old-school hip-hop bands such as Gangstar, De La Soul, and Wu Tang Clan, and by the lyrical stylings of Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly, Philly Moves’ distinct sound is easily recognizable in a genre often limited by electronically produced beats and uninspired lyrics.

“I think our diverse music taste gives us a unique sound,” explains Phelan. “A lot of times artists try to be unique and it comes off as too different and doesn’t appeal to anybody. I think we’ve managed to have a distinct sound but still appeal to a lot of people.”

Their use of classical instruments, such as the piano and acoustic guitar, replaced sampling used in their early recordings, a technique recognized as illegal without the proper copyright licensing.

“Our manager suggested that we start using more live instruments, which is something we hadn’t really thought of,” says Phelan.

Despite the drastic change in musicality, Philly Moves proved able to release songs true to their genuine sound.

“The live instruments opened up a lot more doors on live performances as well,” adds Phelan.

While there’s no doubt the group’s sound sets them apart from most hip-hop groups, their positive and generally tame lyrics also add a distinctive element to their overall appeal.

“We’ve always thought of ourselves as being positive, without being corny,” explains Phelan. “We’re generally happy people, and I think that comes through in our music. We want to make people smile, dance, and have a good time.”

The likability of Philly Moves comes mostly from their projected image of down-to-earth and simple-living musicians.

“The message that comes up in our songs is not a conscious effort—it’s just who we are as artists and who we are as people. I think the fact that we’re being ourselves is really appealing to listeners,” says Phelan. “We’re making songs that we enjoy listening to and, thankfully, it just so happens that other people like them too.”

While charmingly modest, the members of Philly Moves are no strangers to recognition and accolades as Ottawa’s Metro News and Faces Magazine recently crowned them “Ottawa’s Favorite Live Act.” But, for Philly Moves it’s their fan base that gives them the most satisfaction.

“The best part is the interaction with fans,” explains Phelan. “Seeing results after all the hard work put into it is really rewarding.”

With the upcoming release of How To Drink Yourself Famous on Jan. 21, there is no doubt 2012 could very well be the year of Philly Moves.

Grab yourself a copy of How To Drink Yourself Famous on iTunes or at live shows, and be sure to catch Philly Moves at Winterfest on Jan. 20 at Ritual (137 Besserer St.) and Jan. 21 at Carleton University. - The Fulcrum

"Philly Moves Up"

With a showcase at Canadian Music Week under their belts and glowing reviews coming from every direction, the hip-hop group known as Philly Moves has got a lot to be content about. But Jon “Rockwell” Desilva and Tynan “Tragic” Phelan aren’t about to let a little attention go to their heads. A hip-hop group with a reputation for being easy-going and yet hard-working, the duo is pumping out a steady stream of content, such as their most recent free mixtape aptly titled The 90s Called, They Want Their Mixtape Back. Last month saw the release of a new video for their song “Beats Me.” And if the mixtapes and videos weren’t enough, they plan to release a new full-length album this Fall. Not bad for two gentlemen who happen to be living close to two-thousand kilometres apart; Jon has been in school in Atlanta since January, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of the most talked about local acts this year. And, with the addition of a world-class DJ, the venerable DJ So Nice aka Hassan Hamdan, to their live show, Philly Moves is poised to take their dynamic act to another level this summer.

Amidst the hype and buzz, Tynan Phelan has remained as genuine and egoless as when we last spoke in December, before Jon went south for the winter. Returning to the scene of the initial interview, a Bridgehead on Wellington Street, Tynan seemed excited about the group’s burgeoning fame, if not slightly stressed. As well as being the MC, Tynan makes up what he refers to as the marketing division of the business enterprise that is Philly Moves. And lately he’s been pushing harder than ever, constantly communicating with his fans and cultivating new contacts. So much so that he feels it’s been getting in the way of his creativity. “I get stressed out if I’m not at home emailing people or facebooking people,” he says, “And so I have to block off two hours and say ‘Okay, I’m going to have to try to write something.’” Not everyone is aware of the amount of work that goes into getting people talking about a band. Tynan describes a nearly all-consuming regiment of emails, phone calls, and press-kit writing. And when he’s not knee-deep in the business end of things, he’s writing lyrics for the forthcoming album while Jon mixes the beats from his temporary home in Atlanta. “A lot of people are like, ‘Man, you’re living the dream! Doing shows, chicks all night, getting hammered…’ I’m like, yeah, there’s the once a month when I do that. The other twenty-nine days you’re working.”

Still, it’s clear that he wouldn’t want it any other way. Philly Moves seems only to be gaining momentum as their fame grows, and their success is due in no small part to their work ethic. “We’re just happy,” Grins Mr. Phelan, “It seems like every day we’re getting some sort of good news.” The pair are fresh off their showing at Canadian Music Week. Tynan describes their reception: “Since it was our first year, they threw us in a dingy little theatre. You could tell they thought it would be shitty. But we have a good Toronto fan base and there were eighty kids there. It was a tiny venue, so it was packed. It was so sweet.”

The pair have built a reputation on being the nice guys of the hip-hop scene and Tynan puts their popularity down to exactly that: “We’re personal,” he says, “Especially at shows. A lot of hip-hop artists are stuck on this ego thing where they stay in the green room until their show, play their show, and then leave. But, we show up at eight and we’ll watch every single act, we’ll stay after, talk to all the bands, thank everybody for coming… and that shit does make a difference. Ego does not get you anywhere.” Oddly enough, it was this very thing that the bigwigs of the music industry took some issue with at CMW. “One guy we talked to was like, ‘You guys are great, your music is great, but you have to work on your image. When you guys walk into a show everybody in the room should know that you guys are performing, even if they don’t know who you are.’” Tynan laughs, “And I don’t know what that image is. I guess we just have to start being trendier or something?”

But Jon and Tynan’s approach seems to work for them. They are no larger than life, and they like it that way. A great example is their the new video for their song “Beats Me,” a song which paints a none-too-glamorous picture of what it’s like to be a small band on tour in a big country. The video is as stripped down as the musical stylings of the band as a whole. “It’s definitely super simple,” says Tynan, “So many hip-hop artists will get a twenty-five thousand dollar grant to make this huge crazy video with tons of cars and all this shit but I don’t think people care about that anymore. It just wouldn’t be us.” The video features the two men rapping in a darkened room as a single floodlight reflects off their sunglasses. It’s simple and clean, the product of the mind of director Andy Wood.

With three mixtapes under their belt, an EP, several videos, a full-le - Apartment 613

"Philly Moves Ressurects The Soul Of Hip-hop"

Arriving just in time to mushroom through the digitization of media, hip-hop music quickly evolved from a raw, street-level form to a massively commercial genre dominated by superstars with big-label backing. Ottawa’s Philly Moves are part of a grassroots backlash movement hoping to re-inject some soul into the hip-hop sound.

Tynan “Tragic” Phelan (emcee) and Jonny “Rockwell” Desilva (producer/live hype), both 26, met in grade 9 at Ottawa’s St. Mark’s High School. Although Desilva now lives in Atlanta, Georgia (where he’s studying sound engineering), Philly Moves has performed widely in Canada and are at work on their second album, having already established a strong rep for all old-school approach to hip-hop with a humble message.

Noting how the genre initially caught hold as a way for artists to express themselves in a unique way, Phelan feels strongly that “hip-hop from the golden age —1992 to 1998—represented this the best. The music had a message but was also in the mainstream.”

Today, however, much of that individuality has been replaced by commercially safe tracks that rely on formula, not fearlessness.

“There are a lot of artists currently making music that also represent hip-hop's foundation but unfortunately these artists aren't able to break into the mainstream because it is clogged with cookie cutter, marionette acts,” contends Phelan. “Our whole mission statement is not recycling the past or making antiquated music that’s not relevant, we are trying to bring back the soul of hip-hop."

Bypassing entirely the hyper-masculine, often violent and ego-driven ethos of gangsta rap, Philly Moves offer a subtler and more complex kind of lyrical rhyming that looks at everyday experiences for inspiration.

In the track “Beats Me,” Phelan rhymes about the grind of touring: no showers for days hours pass hours fade / minutes seconds and hours just devour the days / I was brave and the road got a powerful gaze / too late to look away great now im a slave / saturdays and sundays wake up to the sunrays / can food lunchmeat wake up in the front seat / weak crowd weak vibe man that shit cuts deep / but i seen more this damn country than the dude from one week

And in “Broke is the New Black” the lyrics consider the struggle of the average Joe: penthouse livin, private jets and bugattis / while 90 percent of the world got malnourished bodies / recession is a word that the wealthy find funny / while most lose it all fat cats stack more money / keepin up with jones's makes the forbes set smile / it aint them that losin when you cant afford that style / you tell your self, ima stay outta that pattern / but your aint wife aint wanna be caught drivin a saturn

Though Philly Moves have been performing for just over a year, it’s been a busy year.

“After only performing a handful of times in and around our home city, we booked and managed a two-month coast to coast Canadian tour in the spring of 2010,” said Phelan.

“It was a bit ambitious—understatement of the year—but we learned a lot and worked really hard to make it happen. Our first album "Basics to Back it" was very successful on the Canadian college charts and this gave us the confidence, and the contacts, to book the tour.”

Currently Phelan performs under the Philly Moves name with the newest member of the team, DJ So Nice.

“When Jon comes back in October we will discuss a possible move to a new location,” says Whelan, “but our management team is Ottawa-based and we truly believe that we can all work together here to make our hip-hop scene something special.”

While Phelan admits that Ottawa’s relatively scarcity of “hardcore hip-hop heads” can make it a challenge to draw crowds, he’s pumped about the future.

“That is definitely changing and we feel like we are a big part of that and are proud to be at the spearhead of the Ottawa hip-hop movement,” Phelan said. - Guerilla Magazine

"Philly Moves like whoaa."

Their album - 25 Years it's called - makes me picture driving through Canada with the sun beaming down on the car, windows wide open, music cranked, and a bunch of friends singing along.
In other words, I like it.
There's this road-trip-cross-Canada concept throughout the album which I think is pretty cool, especially when I hear places that I know or have seen come up. It really makes me want to rent a car and take off for a month to explore, all the while blaring me some Philly Moves.
The song "Heading Home" in particular over and over, because it's my favourite.
If you're into chill beats and happy times and Canada/patriotism you should check them out. - Music She Blogged

"CMW Spotlight...Philly Moves"

It has certainly been a while since some banging hip-hop has come from the capital of Canada where a lot classics began. With both the east and west coast dominating the scene as of late, both Tragic and Rockwell of Philly Moves are aiming to take the crown where it definitely belongs. What was once something to make cats laugh, Philly Moves are now doing just that-MAKING MOVES. It’s time to start paying attention to the hip-hop circuit folks because this duo is keeping the real hip-hop culture alive. And there’s nothing wrong with that. FERNTV caught up with Tragic to figure out why that’s how it was and that’s how it is... - FernTV

"Philly Moves Blend Old With New"

Has this ever happened to you?

You hear an old favourite on the radio, only to be disappointed when you realize your beloved tune has been cut up almost beyond recognition.

That’s the work of a horrible DJ. A solid DJ knows how to blend old with the new, mash vintage beats with a new raps.

That’s Ottawa hip hop duo Philly Moves speciality. Sixties soul, 70s’ pop, British psychedelic, commercial theme songs and pop divas, there isn’t anything the feisty duo of rapper and lyricist Tynan ‘Tragic’ Phelan and DJ Jon ‘Rockwell’ Desilva won’t sample.

Need proof? Who else would dare sample such tunes as the Electric Light Orchestra’s Telephone Line and Loggins and Messina’s Summer Breeze? Even Tracy Chapman.

“Jon has an ear for choosing samples,” Phelan says. “He finds stuff that nobody else would even think of. It gives us a unique sound. I want to be like the Red Hot Chile Peppers. You know who it is as soon as you hear it.”

It goes well with Phelan’s lighthearted, old-school style raps that used to be mainstream in the 1990s. It’s a little retro because it’s still the style Canadian rappers are best known for, most comfortable with and that’s the way Philly Moves like it, before rap went gangsta and got a nasty attitude.

Philly Moves is more Will Smith than Fifty Cent.

“I’ll drop an F-bomb for a little oomph,” admits the Ottawa team’s frontman.

“But we generally try to avoid all that stuff. I prefer sending out positive messages about being yourself and money isn’t everything between clever wordplay. We’re catchy enough we don’t have to follow the hallow.”

Wait a second, did he just improvise a rap? Follow the hallow?

A stone mason by trade, Phelan and his friend DeSilva started writing raps a couple years ago, but didn’t get serious until they released their first album Basics to Back It in Oct. 2009.

That got the ball rolling. A hit on the campus radio circuit, it created enough demand to see the boys live. They did a cross-Canada tour of 25 shows in 2010. Phelan plans to visit DeSilva in Atlanta later this summer where they’ll use the state-of-the-art facilities at the School of Audio Engineering to record their second album. A fall tour is planned for September when DeSilva finishes his studies.

In the meantime, they’re heading to Canada Music Week in Toronto next month as well as a bunch of dates around the capital region. The boys have an online radio show The Movement Radio Show on Mondays at - The Ottawa Sun

"Artist Spotlight - Philly Moves"

Name: Philly Moves
Age: Tynan & Jonny 26
City: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Style: Rap
Online Store:
Reverbnation page:
Electronic Press Kit:

Brief Bio:
Philly Moves is an upbeat/positive hip-hop duo from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Consisting of MC/Lyricist Tragic and Producer/Hypeman Rockwell in the traditional MC-Producer dynamic the pair strives to create music that makes listeners dance, smile and think. Completely independent, Philly Moves writes and produces 100% of their work in-house which not only ensures a genuine body of work but also gives them their signature sound. This sound is the first thing that draws fans in; engaging, sample driven beats combine effortlessly with charismatic and thought provoking lyrics in a harmonious musical marriage.
Undeniably influenced by the pioneers of hip-hop like Gangstarr and Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Philly Moves also draws inspiration from their wealth of life experience, current events and present artists like Classified and Pacewon and Mr. Green. As hard working as they come Philly Moves has toured Canada from coast to coast, released 2 EP’s, 1 full length, 2 mixtapes, numerous singles and 3 official music videos. They have charted across Canada on EarShot’s Canadian college charts and performed dozens of times in and around their home city of Ottawa; all of this in a year and half! The future is bright for these two; with a new full-length in the works, a showcase opportunity at Canadian Music Week looming, shows constantly being booked, press opportunities popping up and a recently signed management deal with The Sound Syndicate all adding to their growing work load they vow to maintain their tireless work ethic and honest, feel-good approach to music. Hip-hop isn’t just music its a way of life and they hope to secure a career devoted to the growth of the hip-hop scene on a local, national and global scale. - The Fresh Future

"Junior's Cave Music Now Spotlight - Philly Moves"

"Philly Moves is a great example of what true Hip-Hop represents" - Junior's Cave

"Philly Moves - Summer Breeze"

Philly Moves is a must for all of you true hip hop heads looking for a break from the norm - Donuts and Milk

"Philly Moves: Spark Plugs of the Ottawa Hip-Hop Scene"

Philly Moves is one hard-working hip-hop act. Last spring, they left their home in the capital for a cross-Canada tour in support of their 2009 LP Basics to Back It. The two members, vocalist/MC Tragic (Tynan Joseph Phelan) and producer/hypeman Rockwell (Jonathan Patrick Desilva), drove coast to coast in the space of a month and half, playing more than twenty stops along the way and sleeping in the back of their van to keep costs low. For most bands, a tour like that would be exhausting enough, but Tynan and Jonathan used whatever free time was available to write and pre-record a new album (2010’s 25 Years), record a music video on the streets of Toronto, and video-blog the whole thing. Now that they’re back, they’re showing no signs of slowing. As well as playing numerous shows, releasing new videos, and preparing for an upcoming Canadian Music Week showcase, the band has been releasing free mixtapes online.

Their combination of clever, smooth vocal lines with solid beats and samples feels fresh. Danceable, catchy, and decidedly non-mainstream – their music is packed with personality and flair. It’s accessible without being simple. Though the pair have only been Philly Moves for a few years, they’ve been recording together since they were in high school and their experience shines through on every polished track. It’s easy to see why these guys have become a staple of the local scene. - Apartment 613

"Ear Shot College Charts"

Check this link for all of the charts info for Philly Moves debut LP "Basics to Back it"

- Earshot-Online

"Philly Moves wins "Readers Choice" in Verbicide Magazines Unsigned Contest"

"Philly Moves’ signature sound feels like a hip-hop love letter to the 1990s, getting the job done with a combination of tight flows and soul samples." - Verbicide Magazine!


Still working on that hot first release.



An award winning, mc/producer duo based in Toronto, Canada; making compelling, alternative hip-hop since 2009.

Philly Moves has been featured in dozens of blogs the world over and in numerous print publications in North America. In addition, they have been very successful on Canada's college charts (several number ones locally and regionally and several top tens and top fives nationally on EarShot spread out through three releases, including the #1 independent hip-hop album in the country in 2012) and on the equivalent charts in the USA (twice in the top 25 on CMJ). 

Played with:

ASAP Rocky, Action Bronson, Blueprint, Blackalicious, Swollen Members, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Mac Miller, Lupe Fiasco, M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch, Choclair, D-Sisive, Saukrates, Inspectah Deck, MSTRKRFT, Canibus, Smif N' Wessun, DL Incognito, Eternia, Jeru The Damaja, Walk Off the Earth, Moka Only, Ghettosocks, DJ Skratch Bastid.

Festival creds:

Canadian Music Week 
North By Northeast 
Ottawa Bluesfest
Indie Week Toronto 
Spring Music Festival 
COCA National Conference 
House of Paint UrbanArts Fest 
Under Pressure International Graffiti Festival 

to conclude...

Hardworking, devoted and undeniably talented, get on the bandwagon now before Philly Moves is huge and you're just another one of the sheep!

Band Members