Zayledo pays tribute to the Glass City
Toledo Rapper Philly B set to release collaboration with Zaytoven
Cornell Rice (aka Philly B) is proof that the City Paper knows what we’re talking about. In 2012, TCP listed him as an artist to watch. The last several years have taken Philly through life’s ups and downs, and 2017 is already looking like it could be his breakout— he’s releasing his collaboration with the Grammy-winning producer Zaytoven.
Where it all started
In 2009, Philly was a scholarship football player at Western Illinois University. A year later, he transferred to the University of Toledo, intending to play for the Rockets. However, a hand injury took him out of the game and that’s when he decided to switch gears and start taking his other talent seriously.
“I’ve been flowing my whole life”, said Philly. “I started rhyming back in the day, before football, but I didn’t take it serious until I got to Toledo.”
In 2013, he moved to Los Angeles, and began making connections and performing for a growing fanbase. He spent about a year out west until life took a dramatic turn.
“My friend’s mom (in Toledo) passed away from cancer, and she’s the one who helped me get to LA in the first place. On top of that, I was expecting my first son here”, said Philly, who now has two children, a son and a daughter, whom he lives with and supports.
Those circumstances brought him back to Toledo, and for a while, it seemed like that might be the end for his music career. In 2014, he got a job working at Chrysler.
“It felt like I had a million dollar opportunity that was chopped up and put in the blender, and that I would be a working man in Toledo for the rest of my life,” he explained.
As fate would have it, he wound up working at Jeep next to DJ Kaj Boogie of Toledo’s 107.3 WJUC, who saw his potential right away. One thing lead to another and Philly wound up getting the attention of Zaytoven, the Atlanta-based producer responsible for some of the biggest tracks in rap and hip hop. The same producer who works with Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Migos, Future and Soulja Boy invited him to an underground rap battle in Detroit, and then wound up giving him a track of his own to work with.
His first track with Zaytoven, “Yao Ming,” dropped in the summer of 2015. To date, it has about 230,000 hits on YouTube and has earned him a verified twitter account with nearly 20,000 followers (@PhillyB420).
“Yao Ming” tells a story of the heroin epidemic that has swept the nation in recent years and the glorification of drug problems by mainstream music.
“I felt like I had to embrace what’s around me”, said Philly. “The people who are really down in it don’t want anything to do with glorifying that shit. People don’t want to talk about it, but it’s a problem.”
The visuals in the “Yao Ming” video depict the mind of a child with no hope. “We’re showing what a child goes through being from the ’hood of Toledo,” said Philly. “He has nothing else, so he’s going to do what he has to do to survive. I don’t condone that shit. I want my children to know better.”
Impressed with his tenacity and style, Zaytoven has given him five more tracks to rap on. The forthcoming EP “Zayledo”, pays tribute to the Glass City, where Philly got his start as a rapper.
Much like the single “Yao Ming”, the EP highlights some of the grittiest elements of T-Town with a style and tenacity that, much like Philly himself, is impossible to ignore.
With a three month tour in the works for the spring, look for Philly B to rise in 2017.
Follow Philly B on Twitter: @PhillyB420