Kweku Ackom-Mensah checks out RedBull presents The Future Sounds of Hip Hop..
Red Bull’s Soundclash chose garage legend, DJ Semtex to deliver a transatlantic heavy trap and softcore grime warm up set at NE London’s Garage. After the crowd got going, later on he was dropping the good stuff from the likes of BBK, Stormzy and Tempa T. More grime, lots more people and a bubbling atmosphere made for a serious event.
First up was Jay Prince; somewhere between a hip hop vocalist and an MC, his choice of beats leans towards mid-nineties hip hop, and with his US twang, his set reminded me of Musiq Soulchild’s early material. That’s a good thing.
Unfortunately though, the crowd never really gained momentum with the club only packing out towards the end of his set. He swapped the vocals for spitting on a few tracks, reminding you he’s a UK MC, but bearing in mind that Pusha T was the main event, his more soulful style was a bit of a mismatch on this lineup. Amongst soul and R’n’B Jay Prince would have faired better.
Up second but definitely coming in first was Little simz. Rocking the gunners shirt in high-an-I (I hope I’m the first one to come up with that). From her first bar, she dominated the stage and at her first shout out to the crowd ‘what’s happening London?!’ the place went off. Delivering mad energy for her first London gig in months, Little Simz went at the crowd whenever they weren’t giving her enough back. Her stage presence is unbelievable, walking with swagger like she’s 7’5 when she’s nearer to 5’7.
She proved that not only has she got the energy of a young Prince Naz but she’s first and foremost a bad girl MC. Those beats too though! Her DJ (and, I’m assuming, producer) delivered on every track, big trap and bassey hip hop/grime beats made for the dance floor, only letting up for one slow jam to show off her diversity as an MC.
She is an immediately likeable personality and won over Garage with her cheek. One thing I want to know is, why wasn’t she in the 1Xtra Fire In The Booth Cypher in 2014? She would have been a strong addition, more than holding her own before the headline act, demanding; ‘why the fuck is no one dancing, you know how hard this beat is?!’. My favourite lyric: ‘You should take me as I am, bitch you know that I’m the man!’. She ends by reloading her own track until the crowd give her the respect she deserves. No jokes, Little Simz is one to watch, I know you gonna dig this.
DJ ripped jeans supported Pusha T as the night’s headliner, scratching over the sound of trap to the smell of weed, pretty decent. Mercy drops and of course, everyone goes nuts for the ‘swerve’. For the rest of the set the crowd was split in two with the front 5-10 metres knowing every single Pusha lyric, and the rest joining in for the choruses, and man does Pusha T love choruses. The guy’s got serious character and having not listened to much of his stuff before, there was a lot of energy to vibe off.
Boiled down, his philosophy, as far as I can tell is essentially; ‘I’ve made money, lots of money, it wasn’t easy, I had to do a lot of hardcore stuff to get it and now that I have it, I am gonna help myself to more than an adequate portion of the ‘booty’. P.s. thank you god, P.p.s. fuck you if you don’t like it’.
His dance moves included; stir a tea at arms length, straighten out the duvet and counting your own fingers, standard. His fans got what they came for, plus it was pretty awesome hearing Grindin’ live too.
It was a wicked show from RedBull Soundclash. Little Simz wins for Arsenal at home.
Review by Kweku Ackom- Mensah. Follow @hereiskweku