By Donte Chase Bridges
Emotion stirring, love expressed through notes and words, the only way classical music should be respected and blended into mainstream Hip Hop Culture. These are only a few articulations that describe the trailblazing performance put on by Jeffrey McNeill and the Ill harmonic Orchestra.
“It took my breath away. I was expecting a nice night out, and now the hairs on my arms are raised, and it’s only the first act!” Said patron, Natalie Winfield.
On Saturday, August 24th, Jeffrey McNeill, better known as Thee Phantom, along with Illharmonic Orchestra, performed one of the most thrilling concerts of the summer, Hip Hop Orchestra at the legendary Auditorium Theatre, located at 50 E Ida B. Wells St, near Roosevelt University. The Self-proclaimed “part B-Boy, part Beethoven” is revolutionizing the way classical music is blended with modern Hip Hop by putting rap songs, such as Kanye West’s Flashing Lights and CL Smooth’s They Reminisce over you, to an orchestrated symphony.
Thee Phantom & The Phoenix
Lead by the married duo, Phantom and Phoenix, the classically trained Hip Hop couple produced a melodic yet bold sound that can be traced back to their East-Coast roots. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Jeffery Mcneill, better known as Thee Phantom, humble beginnings started at the age of 8 where he composed his first piece by mixing Beastie Boy’s Paul Revere and Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Since that very moment, Mcneill has dedicated his life to mixing classical instrumentation with the gritty sound of the streets.
The Mistress of Ceremonies herself, The Phoenix, is the feminine touch that complements this Hip Hop Orchestra. Born in New York City, NY, Phoenix studied classical dance at Drexel University where she met her husband, Jeffrey Mcneill. Along their journey, Phoenix cemented her position as Phantom’s counterpart by going toe-to-toe in a section of the show called, 88 Bars and 88 Key.
The Illharmonics are a classically trained Orchestra that can conduct a full symphony to precision, as well as remix Rap/R&B songs, such as Future’s Mask on Mask off, Fugees’ Killing me Softly, and Kanye West’s Touch the Sky. Along with DJ Maj on the 1’s and 2’s, The Illharmonics prove themselves as being the backbone of the electrifying performances created by The Hip Hop Orchestra.
“The Flute Solo performance put chills down my spine, really special time. I brought my grandson here because he wanted to see it, but I’m enjoying it myself,” said patron Barbara Stanton.
It’s one thing to view a high-quality performance, such as what Jeffrey Mcneill and the Ill harmonic’s executed, but there’s another thing to witness two individual’s love for music and each other, come together to create a concert that hypnotizes the body and spirit, while allowing the mind to reminisce on Hip Hop/R&B songs that painted the portrait of our young lives. I only expect greatness out of this married couple and 3-piece orchestra for years to come.
For more information on upcoming Concerts go to: http://www.theephantomhiphop.com/