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Best local down-and-dirty diva: Phillippia

Staff Pick

Soul can be so predictable. Especially in Atlanta, where a strong tradition leaves little room for reinvention. Fortunately, PHILLIPPIA always revels in following no path but her own. For 10 years, the Miami native has been grinding it out in Atlanta while showing off her dynamic, jazzy-to-nasty vocal range on too many local stages to name. Tyler Perry even showcased the alto singing a song he'd penned in his ’05 film Madea's Family Reunion. But it's her ability to step onstage and conjure new meaning from well-known material that makes Phillippia the city's underground goddess. At her birthday celebration May 5 — which also doubled as the last jam at the now defunct Sugarhill — she went to chuuch (yes, chuuch) on Soulja Boy's street anthem "Turn My Swag On," twisting it into a grimy, gut-bucket romp that would've made Dade County proud. A few months later at Apache Cafe, she sung behind the beat and lifted a cover of Beyoncé's typically featherweight "Halo" to heights unknown. Indeed, sister-girl is downright dirty — and divine.

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