All you need to know about this Philly Hip Hop legend and local activist
As we shared in November’s paper, Dell-P’s “Wordsmith Experience” was recently featured in WXPN’s blog, where music writer Melissa Simpson highlighted his unique monthly workshop for underground rappers. But there’s so much more to this local talent, neighbor, and all-around positive community guy:
Dell-P (aka Verdell Smith) grew up in West Philly, 60th and Thompson. Overbrook. The very streets where some of Hip Hop’s biggest legends made their names — Will Smith. Steady B, Cool C, Da Youngstas. “So I’m seeing that it’s possible to make it in Hip Hop from my own neighborhood. And that stayed with me,” he told us in a recent interview.
He’s 41 now, enjoying life with his wife Zaina and step-daughter Maisarah. He lost his mom in 2007 but still feels her connection, especially through the music they both enjoyed: Run DMC, LL Cool J, Boogie Down Productions. These days his sound is just as infectious, and grounded in life experience that resonates deeply for fans, whether in high school auditoriums or Carnegie Hall.
The Wordsmith Experience is Dell-P’s opportunity to give back to Philly Hip Hop, by creating space for people of all different styles to come together and learn from each other, and even collaborate. It’s a meeting of minds, souls, and music: “Everybody who comes out, guaranteed to come back and bring a friend. It’s just that type of energy. People will just walk in off Fourth Street, ‘What is going on in here?’ It’s one of those grassroots events that the city needs right now.”
Let’s get to know Dell-P – here’s Five Quotes and Takeaways from our sit-down:
- The hyphen matters – he even has a song about it. “My name is D-E-L-L-hyphen-P. So I got to make sure everybody knows.”
- This summer he freestyled in the studio with Jon Batiste at Sway in the Universe’s Morning Concert Series on Eminem’s hip-hop radio network, Shade 45.
- He’s an actor, with a key role in “When George Got Murdered” (2021), an independent film that explores themes of justice and comeuppance through a day in the prison where the ex-cop who killed Mr. Floyd was being held (Amazon & Tubi).
- In 2020, Black Thought personally invited him to the first-ever Hip Hop Master Class which was held at Carnegie Hall, NYC (where he performed for a full house).
- His latest album, The People’s Emcee, has been widely hailed for its smart, mature, and layered compositions.
🎶🎤▶️ A Very Dell-P Playlist 🎶🎤▶️
With almost 30 years in Hip Hop, Dell-P’s catalog runs deep; he picked his favorites for us (and then we added a few of our own). Turn up your speakers and hit the video playlist here, including:
- Wordsmith “Obviously.”
- Don’t Forget the Hyphen “That’s a statement piece, there. Catch the double entendre?”
- The Most High “It’s me giving praise to Allah, and being grateful for all my blessings.”
- Unconditional “I did this with Speech from Arrested Development. I love this song.”
- Here for It 💓 “Dedicated to my wife, I premiered it at our wedding in 2022.”🌹
Break Rules with Chill Moody – The Philly vibe is strong here, with these two local luminaries at the top of their game (DJ Aktive)
Carry It On One time for Hip Hop, Two times for peace! This hook stays with you in all the best ways.
With DJ Antlive — live performance from 2019 with his late DJ, an irreplaceable friend, performer, and business partner, RIP (gone too soon in 2022)
AWARDS: 2017: Philly Hip Hop Awards Album of the Year Award Winner, PHL Live Hip Hop Artist of the Year, Black Gala Award Winner, Black Power Music Award Nominee 2018: Spiral Award Winner, Album of the Year & Artist of the Year 2020: Spiral Award Winner, Artist of the Year, Indie Music Award Winner, Single of the Year & Album of the Year, Philly Hip Hop Award Winner for Alternative Artist of the Year, Named a Top Indie Artist of 2020 by The Source Magazine 2021: Named the Best Kept Secret of Hip Hop by Philly Weekly staff, Nurture Award winner + citation from the PA House of Representatives 2022: Philly Urban Film Awards Best Male Musician Award Winner, Tri-State Awards, Independent Hip Hop Artist of the Year 2023: Philly Urban Film Awards Hustler of the Year Award Winner
⭐ Follow Dell-P @delp215 on all platforms ⭐
Got a favorite Dell-P song? Put it down in the comments, we’ll add it to the playlist!