Nearly anyone who reads this will agree that independent media is not an easy game to be in. It’s a hard grind, so to run an independent media platform for 10 years is a big achievement. That’s exactly what Blatantly Blunt were celebrating on December 16th at Junction House, Dalston with a night dedicated to the type of Hip Hop and Grime they’ve been supporting on their website, radio show and live events since 2007. In association with Hoochinoo, another platforms that’s been backing the scene for years, Blatantly Blunt founder Nick Russell had sorted out a serious lineup of emcees and DJs for a showcase of talent from the overlapping genres of the London music scene. Nick was on the mic introducing each act with big Yetizm running the wheels.
The night opened with a group that have really impressed me this year, from the quality of their output to their work rate, Hip Hop fashion connoisseurs the FRSHRS. Unfortunately, I missed their performance, I got there just as they finished, but after seeing them perform a few times in 2017 I know they brought the same energy, lyrical slickness and good vibes that has seen them build a solid, growing fan base for their soulful, positive Hip Hop.
The first performance I did catch in full was from my man Gee Bag. Fresh from taking 3rd place at the 2017 EOW World Final in Prague, Gee brought the same level of lyricism and stage presence that got him in that top 3. We got treated to some riddims from his new project with DJ Downstroke, with the man himself holding down the decks, and Gee is definitely keeping his levels up. Kissy K’s making a rare appearance on the album, and Gee managed to get him on stage to perform it.
The next performer was another emcee who’s had an impressive year, putting in a lot of work including supporting Jehst and Kate Tempest, Confucius MC hit the stage with his unique style of lyricism wrapped in a real laid back flow. He put down his bars on some raw boom bap before flipping it up on the last track ‘Different Endings’. The beats some double time, experimental electronic shit that got the heads inside moving, still with that laid back flow and dope bars. Go check it on Confucius’ ‘Artform’ EP.
UK Hip Hop OG and Blatantly Blunt radio host Micall Parknsun stepped up next and took the energy in the room up a level. Charging round the stage, the man behind Me, Myself and Akai worked through a set of his MPC produced music from before and throughout the 10 years that Blatantly Blunt has been active. ‘So What’ from his 2005 debut ‘The Working Class Dad’ had the whole crowd vibsing and showed that dope music stays banging, quality can take the test of time.
Big Cakes is another OG of the scene, and every time I see the brother perform I question whether I’ve ever seen anyone interact with a crowd as good as he does. On top of being a crazy emcee, between tracks it’s a mix of real talk and stand up that elevates the atmosphere wherever he’s performing. This set was classic Cakes, and like Parky he ran through a careers worth of fire from his huge body of work, right up to his latest release ‘No Excuses’. The track of his performance was ‘Toast’; the heartfelt beat and bars had everyone inside spitting along with the hook.
With all the Hip Hop done, there was a break before setting the Grime off with a fully original act. Despite growing up on Wu-Tang, I’ve never seen a brudda bring nunchaku on stage and use them, in the dark, casually pulling off ridiculously high kicks and speaking Japanese…all while spitting Grime with crazy energy. I have now that I’ve seen Shaodow. Dude is an entity into himself – go check his track Katana Flow, it’s about his love for swords, and keep an eye out for him on Ninja Warrior UK soon.
The tone was set nicely for the headline act. The HeavyTrackerz have been producing bangers for years and have worked with some of the biggest names in Grime, now some of the biggest emcees in the world. They put down a fire set, mixing in original productions with bangers from the early days of Grime to now, showing the caliber of DJ and producers they are and getting the heads in the spot hyped.
To end the night off, Grime emcee Screwfizzer rolled through with a bag of emcees shut down the night, bringing the energy and rawness that has taken the London born genre to the levels it has in the last few years. With the perfect end to a dope night, Blatantly Blunt can move into the next 10 years of their mission with confidence.
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