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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop World


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"Writtenhouse Open For Snoop In Atlantic City, Make New Fans"

You could almost see their ears pricking up. As Philly hip-hop foursome Writtenhouse took the stage, as the bass started to rumble through the House of Blues in Atlantic City on Friday night, the scattered crowd waiting for Snoop Dogg to perform began to condense and move toward them. By the time MC Charlie K began spitting the lines of his second verse, the crowd couldn’t help shaking their asses. Writtenhouse had them.

Despite being fairly off-the-radar as far as mainstream pop fans are concerned, the doobie-smoking Snoop fans (and during Snoop’s set, many a tree blazed) warmed to Charlie K’s breakneck rhymes slathered over the live production of Kush and Conway, pumped up by hype man Sleeves’ accents and emphases.

In an all-too-short set they showcased cuts from their new fabulous record While You Were Sleeping, and the couple mixtapes that preceded it, with an energetic live show that matched the line-by-line versatility and lyricism of the album. Behind the MC and hype man, the producers laid rhythms live—a point of pride for the group. Charlie took an opportunity for an interlude, instructing Conway, “Give ‘em the one,” who proceeded to lay a throbbing bass beat under a swelling soul sample, his fingers flickering over the drum machine buttons as if he were playing a bongo. Their stage time was too brief for any heavier improvisation from the producers, but the little tastes they threw onto their songs indicate a band capable of expansive embellishment, fully in control of their game.

Their sound was grittier and darker than Snoop’s West Side glamor, with that distinct Philly style heavy on syncopated rhythm, melodic samples, and tinkling R&B keys a la D’Angelo. Charlie’s lyrics touched economics, self-reliance, and an urgent sense of destiny.

Whether the partying crowd could catch the message that Charlie K put across in songs like “Cloud City” or “Keep It Movin” mattered little; he’d check up on them between songs, asking, “You guys like what you hear?” Their response was always a roar.
They couldn’t resist the grooves, such as the old-school soul riffs from Kush’s keys on “Mahogany Blu,” juxtaposed against the refrain, “I can see the sign in the change of times, so I can make it in mahogany blue.”

In their hunger for the audience’s attention, they’ve positioned themselves as the next big thing in rap music by developing a style blended in the richness of live instrumentals and vocal samples used as instruments, delivered against carefully constructed rhymes that unfurled against a rich sonic tapestry. Writtenhouse is slowly garnering more and more attention opening for headliners like Snoop, Wu Tang Clan, the Roots, and De La Soul. They just may be the next level of Philly hip-hop. They just need their own gigs to prove it. (Ada Kulesza) - Philadelphia Weekly

"Writtenhouse – While You Were Sleeping"

Philly hip-hop outfit Writtenhouse was a few finishing touches away from completing their debut LP when everything suddenly changed. Close to 90 percent done with recording their studio of choice was robbed, and all progress was lost. They were left with no choice than to start an entirely new project, and a few months later the release is here as While You Were Sleeping.

Much of what Writtenhouse takes pride in is their stage presence and ability to put on a rockin’ live show. In an interview with Philadelphia Weekly, head MC Charlie K said the album was a semi-complete picture of who they are as artists, but in order to get the full picture you have to see it performed live. If what Charlie says holds any water, While You Were Sleeping proves that these guys must put on a damn good live show.

MC Charlie K takes center stage as the project runs through non-stop rapid-fire wordplay for just under 40 minutes. Content wise, the album is deeply rooted in reality, touching on hip-hop progression, lyricism, and positivity. It’s easy to classify this album as “conscious” hip-hop, but fitting this album into a category would be a mistake. “Cigarette Smoke” purveys a positive message about overcoming addiction in everyday life without coming off as preachy. Charlie K takes a well-produced, well-paced album to a whole new level with intelligent wordplay that doesn’t rest for the whole listen.

Producers Chris Conway and Kush Shalimar put forward a diverse sound palette deeply rooted in 90’s boom bap percussion that creates great cohesion and smooth flow through the entirety of the album. “Excel” takes a smooth jazz sample with a chopped up Nas vocal for a make shift chorus that would make the late Nujabes proud, and have any long time hip-hop listener’s head nodding. At the opposite end of the spectrum “Gorilladelphia” boasts a hard hitting break beat and a sharp guitar riff that brings the album near it’s close on a high note.

Plain and simple, Writtenhouse hit the mark with While You Were Sleeping. The rich Philadelphia hip-hop scene has something to be proud of with this release. Much of the same characteristics that made Diamond District’s 2009 effort In The Ruff so successful are what helped Writtenhouse succeed on this release. No groundbreaking new sounds, no experimental lyricism or album construction, just a great straight up no frills hip-hop record. With everything in hip-hop today, it’s a very welcome breath of fresh air. - Potholes In My Blog

"Fill in the Blanks with ... Writtenhouse"

What follows the colon coming up doesn’t contain an ounce of hyperbole: The De La Soul/Native Tongues-ish Germantown rap group Writtenhouse are the most dynamic, fresh, ethereal and unique hip-hop artists in the city. TRUTH. People in the industry are starting to notice, too, which is why the group—made up of verbal mechanic Charlie K, live beat producers Chris Conway and Kush Shalimar and hype man Somerville Sleeves—is being asked to open more and more high-profile shows as time goes on. They’ve been getting cushy with Black Sheep, Wu Tang Clan, the Roots, and this week, Kidz in the Hall at the TLA. Be sure to get there early to catch the live mixing they do and what is absolutely, to our minds, the best show hip-hop has to offer.... - Philadelphia Weekly

"Philly's Writtenhouse Effect brings Native Tongue feel to Midtown"

The exciting Philadelphia hip-hip trio Writtenhouse performs at the Midtown Tavern on October 23 as a part of the popular Midtempo Thursday series. Show scheduled to begin at 10 p.m.

MC Charlie K., drum machine player extraordinaire Chris Conway (see video below) and producer Kush Shalimar bring sophisticated J-Dilla-esque beats, complex lyrics and a positive feel-good vibe a la the Native Tongues (especially A Tribe Called Quest) crew of the early 90's.

Over the past few months Midtempo Thursdays has featured dozens of high quality local and national unsigned hip-hop acts. Writtenhouse is undoubtedly the cream of an already rich crop.

If you love pure hip-hop -- beats, rhymes and mic skills -- you should head to to this concert!

I know I will be there. - PennLive.com

"WrittenHouse is Anything But Square"

Transcribing interviews is a meticulous exercise even when they follow the standard format. But in the case of WrittenHouse—a tightly knit crew quick with the in-joke—it’s nearly impossible. The guys talk over one another, crack jokes that make no sense without proper context, make countless references to something that happened earlier, and seize a word or words and make it the night’s catch phrase (on this night: “DO BETTER!” and “BROWNED!”). On tape, the thing must’ve sounded like an absolute train wreck. In person, it was a ball.?

WrittenHouse are producers Chris Conway, Kush Shalimar and emcee Charlie K (with hypeman Somerville Sleeves thrown in for good measure during live shows)—four friends who have known each other for close to a decade or more, and, by natural extension, have an affable, easygoing relationship with one another. (Imagine your family at Thanksgiving, provided they actually get along.)?

Their positivity together as friends bleeds out in their work as a group: a breezy, jazzy A Tribe Called Quest-?inspired pastiche that’s best displayed on their newest mixtape Sunshine Philadelphia Vol. 2 , which is highly listenable and remarkably upbeat for Philadelphia-based hip-hop, which can often veer toward the gritty. ?

The unique tact of the group speaks to the way they came together: as seasoned vets who’d studied hip-hop and formed WrittenHouse with a game plan.?

Charlie K found major label success early in his career. It was everything it was supposed to be, but left him wanting.?

“In the studio it would be cats drinking, poppin’ bottles, champagne, girls; recording a song and leavin’ straight from the studio to Emerald City or whatever club, walkin’ over to the DJ, hand him some money to play a song, lil’ groupies in the club, and we’d take pictures with ’em, take ’em to the hotel. But the thing was: I didn’t like the music,” he says.?

He began stepping out on the label, rhyming on the side over beats produced by Kush, and basking in the freedom of expressing himself without the ever-?watching eye of label overlords who’d nitpick his words and take away their meaning. ?

“They wanted party music. They wanted commercial. They would give me the beats and I would write the songs and they’d say, ‘No, I don’t like this. This one’s too conscious. This one’s too wordy. But I like this one because it’s got a party feel, so rewrite it with party lyrics.’ And they’d give it back.”?

The label deal eventually fell apart as most label deals eventually do, and in addition to his work with Kush, Charlie began rapping over beats produced by Conway.?

Conway is a tech-savvy Internet fiend (he can talk Blu-ray downloads till he’s blue in the face) and Temple grad, who, through his work on the street team at Okay ?Player—the 10-plus years and going strong hip-hop site and message board created by the Roots—was able to attend loads of free shows. “Mos Def, the Roots, Talib Kweli, the Spitkicker tour with KRS-One and De La Soul,” he ticks them off. ?

At the same time, Conway began immersing himself in production on his laptop, coming home inspired from, say, a Dilated Peoples show, and staying up all night making beats—sometimes as many as 40 per week. ?

“If they used some sample from an obscure saxophone player, I would download his whole discography and just go through it like, ‘Okay, I’ll just take bits and pieces,’” says Conway. “Not what they used, but bits and pieces of his other dope stuff and just start knockin’ it out.” ?

Conway noticed the hip-hop shows he actually enjoyed seldom suffered the ills of the hip-hop shows he didn’t—the late start times, the long, momentum-killing pauses between songs.?

“The part in every hip-hop show I hate: ‘DJ, put it on track two! Nah. Nah. Track two. That’s track four!’ And then you’d stand there and wait for them to get it right. With these guys, it’s always hittin’ hittin’ hittin’,” Conway laughs.?

“I hate ‘rapping-over-a-CD’ shows. And if the CD skips? Forget about it,” Kush laughs.?

“The worst!” Charlie K laughs.?

Always laughing, these three.? - Philadelphia Weekly

"Wu-Tang at the Troc"

The Wu-Tang Clan has an undeniable legacy, and a major factor in that is their live shows. With millions of records sold worldwide, countless classic albums and the most rabid fan base in hip hop, each concert tends to be an unforgettable event. The December 19th, 2008 show at the Trocadero Theatre only added to this legacy, as well as the reputation of their hard to please crowds.


The Germantown based group WrittenHouse would be next up, and out of all the opening acts, they certainly seemed to get the biggest reaction from the crowd. Charlie K's lyrics with Chris Conway's MPC drumming and Kush Shalimar's keyboard playing translates extremely well live. Combined with a hype man who plays the role perfectly in Summerville Sleeves, WrittenHouse's set definitely impressed. Not to be outdone by Burke, WrittenHouse brought out their own special guests as they called emcees A.U.L.P.U.R.P.I.S. and Fatnice of 84 to the stage. After the two traded verses with Charlie K, 84 went into a song of their own before exiting the stage and letting WrittenHouse wrap up their set to cheers from the packed crowd. Anybody that's been to a Wu-Tang Clan show in Philly knows exactly what an accomplishment this is, and if they weren't quite sure, the next two acts would drive the point home. - Phrequency.com

"Got Party Beatz"

"...Writtenhouse & [ft.] Eshon Burgundy’s “Way To Go” brings back the early ’90s hip-hop vibe, allowing you to choose between a head-bobbing lounge session or some smoothed out grinding." - Philadelphia CityPaper.net

"Resolutions I'd like to see music make in 2009."

Philadelphia rappers Writtenhouse were one of the stellar acts booked by the Troc this year. They opened for Wu Tang (who went on at 1:11 a.m.). I'd like to see the rest of the Philly hip-hop community resolve to drop the bullshit bravado and take some notes from Writtenhouse, who go about their business with a poetic vibe that's more De La Soul than DMX. - Philadelphia Weekly

"Immortal Technique at 941 Theater"

Although Immortal Technique was the highlight of the massive underground hip hop show that took place at 941 Theatre on November 29th, each and every artist that took the stage provided the packed house with dope beats, lyrics and incredible energy in what was one of the best hip hop shows of the year.


Not too be outdone by the assortment of talent that made the trip down 95 from New York, Philly got it's chance to shine when the three man group Writtenhouse took the stage. The group has quickly gained recognition throughout the city and surrounding area for an amazing stage show that combines raw emceeing from Charlie K. with live keyboards and drums from Kush Shalimar and Chris Conway, respectively. The group provided one of the best performances of the night, bringing the the energy level noticeably higher. - Phrequency.com


While You Were Sleeping (LP, 2011)

Sunshine Philadelphia vol 2: The WrittenHouse Effect (Mixtape, 2008)

.: ON-AIR :.

WPHI 100.3 FM
WXPN 88.5 FM
WRTI 90.1 FM
WLEH 88.1 FM
WKDU 91.7 FM

Cloud City
Cigarette Smoke
Time's Tickin'
Inna Light
The World
Mahogany Blu


Y-Rock on XPN, WXPN 88.5 HD1 (Univ of PA Radio)

Off The Top!, WLEH 88.1 FM (Brown Univ. Radio)

The band's music has also been featured on podcast and internet throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.



.: HONORS :.

2010 Creative Ambassadors for Philadelphia

Two.One.Five magazines "Band's To Watch For"


The Roots
Wu-Tang Clan
Snoop Dogg
De La Soul
Raekwon & Ghostface
Mobb Deep
Dead Prez
Black Sheep
Electric Wire Hustle


NXNE Festival, Toronto, 2009: We were selected to play at this world-class event and it certainly lived up to all our expectations! We got to play two nights which really put us in our best light as we played two different sets. That was cool to us because people who saw us play on Friday got to hear something completely different Saturday night. Plus, Toronto is an awesome city and the people support the arts and come out to discover their new favorite bands!!

A3C Hip Hop Festival, Atlanta, 2009: Being selected to play this event was truly special to us because we got to return to the A and reconnect with our fans and friends there. The showcase we were featured on, the URB Showcase, had us share the stage with B.o.B. (p/k/a Bobby Ray) and the vibe was right! We got to sell our merch and make some coin in the process.

Thanks Sonicbids for getting us on these platforms!!!

.: BIO :.

Hailing from a city that is known for it's grit and grime, Philadelphia-based band Writtenhouse is an alternative to the generic rap message of guns and drugs that is so prevalent on commercial radio, and their upbeat songs reflect the energy of the organic nature of their genesis. Forming in March of 2008, the band burst onto the scene by getting out, touring, paying their dues, and polishing their live show, which is a collaboration of an MC (Charlie K) and two producers (Chris Conway & Kush Shalimar) who create the beats live, un-sequenced, in real-time on stage. The band has often been referred to as "the Grateful Dead of Hip Hop" in that every show is a different sonic wall of fresh, original material that resonates well with audiences. Crowds are moved as the chemistry of the live instrumentation coupled with the energy of a dynamic master of ceremony draws participants into the creative process. In nearly a year and a half, Writtenhouse has played roughly 60 shows in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. The band's grassroots, indie initiative has paid dividends as Writtenhouse was selected to support noteworthy acts such as Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul, as well as being hand-picked to play memorable events such as the 2009 Roots Picnic, the 2009 NXNE Festival in Toronto and most recently, the 19th Annual Philadelphia Weekly Concerts in the Park Series.

Since 2008, Writtenhouse extensively toured the eastern seaboard in headlining positions in addition to memorable supports for national acts and have been featured in the following:


1,000+ Capacity

Electric Factory, Phila, PA
The Trocadero Theater, Phila, PA [2x]
House of Blues, Atlantic City, NJ
House of Blues, Boston, MA
Spinnaker Beach Club, Panama City Beach, FL

401 - 1000 Capacity

The TLA, Phila, PA
The Opera House, Toronto, ON
Toad's Place, New Haven, CT
Asylum, Portland, ME [5x]
Harper's Ferry, Allston, MA
Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY
The Blockley Pourhouse, Phila [2x]
The Philadelphia Room, Phila, PA

201 - 400 Capacity

Don Pedro's, Brooklyn, NY
The Note, West Chester, PA [2x]
New Earth Music Hall, Athens, GA
Johnny Brenda's, Phila, PA
Kungfu Necltie, Phila, PA
941 Theater, Phila, PA [2x]
The Arts Garage, Phila, PA [3x]
Starlite Ballroom, Phila, PA [2x]
North Star Bar, Phila, PA [2x]
The M Room, Phila, PA [3x]
Silk City, Phila, PA [3x]
First District Plaza, Phila, PA
The Fire, Phila, PA [4x]
Tritone, Phila, PA

200 & under Capacity

529, Atlanta, GA
Shantytown Pub, Jacksonville, FL
The Khyber, Phila, PA [2x]
Triumph Brewery, Phila, PA
Funk 'n Waffles, Syracuse, NY
Fat Baby Bar, New York, NY
Harlem, Toronto, ON
Cousin Larry's, Danbury, CT
Sully's Pub, Hartford, CT [2x]
Octoraro Hotel, Oxford, PA
Nuyoricans Poet Cafe, New York, NY
Club Reality, Baltimore, MD
The New Turntable Club, Baltimore, MD
East End Cafe, Newark, DE [2x]
Sputnik Bar, Brooklyn, NY [2x]
The Rotunda, Phila, PA
Doc Watson's, Phila, PA
Bubble House, Phila, PA
The Underground, Phila, PA
Liquid Charm, Phila, PA [5x]
Friends Neighborhood Guild, Phila, PA
Medusa Lounge, Phila, PA
Elana's Bar, Phila, PA


Festival Pier, Philly, PA
Bank of America City Center, Providence, RI
Rittenhouse Square, Philly, PA
Spring Break '10, Spinnaker Beach Club, PCB, FL
Rincon Criollo Casita, Bronx, NY
10 Krog St., Atlanta, GA
1330 Canoe Rd, Bensalem, PA
Durham Central Park, Durham, NC


Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
University of the Arts, Philly, PA


Karmaloop, Boston, MA
Ride 207, Portland, ME
Candy Shop, Hartf