Written by Joe Langham (@JoeLang92)
Hip-Hop Isn’t Dead truly lived up to its name putting on a memorable show of some of the UKs finest rappers. English Frank put together a massive line up, both in names and size, which included talent like Skinnyman, Klashnekoff and organiser behind the Hip-Hop mini-fest, English Frank. The setting, Brixton Jamm, despite being on a main road had the feel of being underground, which was rather fitting for the night.
Reveal, the former Poisonous Poets member, opened the night with a selection of acapellas and a couple of songs from his back catalogue. His solid flow over old school beats helped warm up the crowd for the night of real Hip-Hop ahead.
The second performance of the night came from Nate, opening with a freestyle before launching into ‘My Life’, a personal truth of his life and struggle living in the UK. His short but enjoyable performance was full of powerful lyrics and hard beats and proof that Hip-Hop is very much alive. A short interlude from music allowed co-host Big Cakes to take to the stage to do a few shout outs and keep the crowd entertained with some call and response and playful banter. He then threw respect toward Reveal and Nate for their performances and to the rest of the acts for coming to perform on the night before dropping a short freestyle before Genesis Elijah took to the stage.
Nottingham artist Ms Tempz took to the DJ decks for the duration of Genesis Elijah’s set. Performing tracks including ‘Psalms’ from his ‘Painkillers and Pilkington EP’ and giving the crowd a preview of upcoming EP ‘I Ain’t Even Charging Bruv Vol.2’, before dropping some bars over a grime beat. Genesis’s energetic performance was exhausting just to watch as he left no part of the stage untouched and no one member of the crowd standing still. He even took his lively performance into the crowd to bring an already close performance even closer. With hindsight Genesis Elijah’s performance was a personal favourite and definitely a crowd highlight of the night.
Kasha Rae provided an almost equally lively set, keeping the crowd bouncing throughout the majority of his performance. As well as the more hyped tunes, he played a couple of more relaxed tracks with a chilled Hip-Hop feel, offering the crowd moments of respite following the previous energy charged performances from Genesis Elijah and himself. To end his set, Rae performed an acappella before English Frank took to the stage to introduce the following act, Harry Shotta.
Starting out with a fairly chilled performance, possibly catching his breath from the energy of the previous acts, Harry Shotta spat some deep bars. This respite did not last for long before Harry Shotta upped the tempo with an energy laden performance. His set was like a lyrical rollercoaster, switching from tracks with a rapid delivery that left your brain struggling to keep up with your ears in deciphering the bars to tracks of a more leisurely tempo.
Despite needing no introduction, British Hip-Hop legend from the London Posse and co-host for the night, Rodney P came to the stage to introduce the next act. Before making way for the next act he treated the crowd to a short acappella, leaving them thirsty for more from him.
Logic of People’s Army opened his performance with ‘Begging You’, teasing the audience with multiple rewinds, before bringing Rodney P back to the stage to perform a couple of tracks with him, much to the crowds delight. He followed with some deep political tracks. His cool flow and relaxed stage persona along with his playful performance with the crowd ended with a freestyle provided a very enjoyable and lyrically educational set.
Klashnekoff’s performance showed no sign of fatigue despite playing straight after a three hour drive from Bristol, picking up two speeding tickets on the way. Getting straight into ‘Lionheart’ and then ‘Refuse to Die’ his non-stop performance was probably similar to his journey to the show. Klash took a moment of breath and bigged up his producer Joe Buddha before continuing the show and playing more classic tracks from his repertoire including ‘Black Rose’ and of course, ‘Murda’.
Another UK veteran followed Klashnekoff in the form of Skinnyman. Playing a fairly impromptu set singing catchy hooks such as “We buy any draw” and interacting with the crowd with numerous call and response exercises, freestyles before playing some of his well-known songs including ‘Fuck the Hook’. Skinnyman’s active performance was almost as infectious as the some of the hooks he was dropping, with most of the crowd jumping around with him.
As the night was slowly drawing to an end, English Frank brought political rapper Mic Righteous to the stage. His meaningful lyrics offered the crowd a musical education on Mic’s political views. With a mix of spitting over beats and just acappella, his set showed more serious side of Hip-Hop, his passion evident throughout his set shown via his convicted lyrical delivery. ‘Sack City’ ensured Mic Righteous ended his set on a high, with the whole crowd singing and dancing along to the track.
To top off the night, the brains behind the event ended the night of live performances. English Frank thanked all the artists performing on the night and everyone else that had come down before playing a flawless set. ‘Music’s My Sister’, ‘Bars of Truth’ and an array of tracks spat over various grime and Hip-Hop beats saw a great end to a night of excellent talent.
Credit is also due to the DJs on the night which included DJ Shabs, Ms Tempz and Chunky Bizzle. They played brilliantly throughout the various sets of each artists as well as providing classic Hip-Hop tunes for the crowd prior to the event starting and between performances.
The night was one that would have been a bargain at five times its £8 ticket price and proved that Hip-Hop is definitely alive and well with its lifeblood flowing as healthily as all of the acts that performed at the event.