Icepack | May 21-28

Local eateries continue to cope with COVID-19 and Meek's new beef

Restaurants
As restaurants still scratch and claw to stay afloat during the pandemic, are some efforts to assist on a statewide and local level going to be enough? | Image provided

Thanks for keeping the buzz going on my food-fatality PW cover, “Hunger Games,” from last Thursday.

Exhaustive as it is, several things came to light as the cover hit print: 

  • The curbside cocktail bill chefs and CEOs discussed in the piece passed in the state Senate with Gov. Wolf claiming he’ll sign it much sooner-than-later. Good. But. Will Philly drinkers be cool with their 64 oz., and bring them home, or will they do like Manhattan and Brooklynites did last weekend and pack the sidewalks in a wack un-socially distancing fashion with their take-out cups? Ugh.
  • Speaking of NYC, something that never came up in Philly: Big Apple Mayor Bill DiBlasio’s three-prong restaurant reopening scheme includes opening doors and filling rooms only to 25-to-35 percent, a plan that’s pissing-off NYC restaurateurs. “Is the landlord going to charge 25 percent rent?” asked one Brooklyn restaurateur in the Post. “Is the insurance company going to charge 25 percent insurance?”
  • The Philly Mobile Food Association had a Zoom meeting with the city, and is working on getting wheels onto asphalt, but in a limited fashion: safely distanced in proposed parking lots in the Northeast and Port Richmond. Really? That’s it? 
  • Now, open for take-out as of the weekend: Spice Finch, Vernick Fish, Urban Farmer and South Jazz Parlor, the latter of which has some special C-19 live hopes-plans in the offing.
  • Looks like, sadly, coronavirus has claimed its first two victims when it comes to restaurants being able to hold on through the pandemic: Farmacia in Old City and Manayunk’s Mad River – the latter spot where I actually used to spin hip hop on Friday nights, and the owner kept requesting Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”

COVID fundraiser 

If you’re going to go COVID-19, go big: The PHL COVID-19 Fund announced it will host an old-fashioned variety show fundraiser, PHLOVE, for May 21 with various big performers tied to the area. Clocking in at one hour, starting 7 p.m. on 6ABC, CBS3, NBC10, 96.5 TDY, 98.1 WOGL, B101.1, KYW Newsradio, Radio.com and Inquirer.com, PHLOVE is presented by local philanthropists, the Middleton family with ESM Productions (an offshoot of ROC Nation) with Live Nation Philadelphia and Live Nation Urban, and will feature Daryl Hall, Questlove, Patti LaBelle, Jerry Blavat, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Amos Lee, DJ Diamond Kuts & Friends, Jeffrey Gaines and more. 

Since March 19, the PHL COVID-19 Fund, powered by Philadelphia Foundation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), has raised $16 million and aided nearly 400 regional nonprofits. They need more. Bill Golderer, president & CEO, UWGPSNJ writes, “As successful as the Fund has been in raising money and identifying and addressing immediate and pressing needs in our community, the nonprofits at the frontline of the crisis still struggle to meet the increased demand for services. Additional funds raised from this event will not only make sure their doors remain open for those hardest hit in our community but ensure we stand ready to address emerging needs as well.”

Gas station freestyle

Philly’s Lil Uzi Vert made an artist/fan’s dream at the Exxon on Spring Garden and Columbus Boulevard when he jumped out of his car, with an “Eternal Atake” hoodie yet, and started improv-rhyming with West Philly/Overbrook rapper Dre HAVIK . HAVIK  – stands for “He’s a very intelligent killer” – recognized Vert’s car due to its anime décor, hit the gas station, put on the track to freestyle to Uzi, only to have Vert jump in. 

All In winner

Talking about making fan dreams come true, Philly’s Kevin Hart randomly chose NJ anesthesiologist Henry Law as the winner in his All In Challenge – one raising charitable money to feed kids during COVID-19. Hart was looking for a C-19 health-care worker and found one in Law, whose gift will be a speaking role in an upcoming Hart film with all the VIP/five-star amenities. Now, we just have to start making movies again. Hart, always on and always busy, is planning to jump on the VERZUZ bandwagon with a possible comic viral battle, and something filmed with its founder, Swizz Beatz. 

DotOrg is ours

Pennsylvania’s Public Interest Registry – they own the Dot-org, or “.org,”  domain for nearly 11 million websites, predominantly nonprofits – was actually up for sale earlier this month to a private equity firm (a $1 billion offer too from entrepreneur Eric Brooks’ Ethos Capital) when SaveDotOrg petition-eers (scared of increased prices) got the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to block the sale. DotOrg is ours! Vive la.org

New album

Once upon a time, Baltimore rapper-producer Naeem Juwan – in the guise of Spank Rock – roamed and ruled through Philly in the early to mid-aughts, looking for a label deal (prior to the release of 2006’s “YoYoYoYou”), hanging with equally raunchy local rapper Amanda Blank (of occasional Sweatheart fame out of the old Space 2016 Gallery when it was on Arch Street). Both Juwan and Blank, independently, have moved to Los Angeles since their Philly days, and Juawan is prepping his debut album under his real name for June, Startisha. Yet, the Philly pals couldn’t stand being apart from each other, and collaborate (with Micah James) on the hard, hot club rap of  “Woo Woo Woo,” and its socially-distanced new video

Uber masks

As of Monday, Uber and UberEats began requiring that all drivers and passengers wear masks for every ride and that operators start each shift by snapping a selfie with masks – you know so that the Uber uber boss can make sure all are practicing safety and following protocols. Know what’s weird? I thought this mandate would’ve already been in full effect. WTF? 

Is Meek Mill set to go to war with recently released rapper turned snitch 6ix9ine? All signs point to yes. | Image: PW File photo

Meek’s new beef

Philly’s Meek Mill may have changed some leopard spots and be all about reforms and referendums, but at heart he’s a North Philly rapper and has plenty of feuds left in him. Taking the place of his 2015 feud with Drake (now squashed) is Meek’s attacks against 6ix9ine, the rapper-informant who just got out of jail, and scored internet-breaking, mega-chart-action with his return track “GOOBA,” a cut that broke Eminem’s record for most views in 24 hours. 

To all this, Meek Tweeted on May 10 that “I gotta crush you for the culture, you chump. How you sleep at night.” Before that, however, Mill had not been about the rude, rainbow rapper and has taken down 6ix9ine as far back as early last year, when he believes that he saw 6ix9ine flipping to becoming an informant (a racketeering case against Nine Trey) around the same time Meek himself was getting out of stir. 

“That’s a shame when I came home everybody was like he got some real dudes backing him. I was like, ‘How?’ Y’all better stop running behind rappers acting like y’all ready to throw y’all lives away over some stupid shit,” he tweeted. “I seen this coming a while ago.” https://t.co/b5itD2pt8V

This Meek/6ix9ine beef gets worse before it gets squashed. Believe that.

  • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

    A.D. Amorosi is a Philadelphia-based journalist who, along with Philadelphia Weekly, writes for numerous local, national and international publications including Variety and the Philadelphia Inquirer.