INTERVIEW | MEET THE ULTIMATE HIP-HOP PERFORMANCE COLLECTIVE ‘AND WHAT? LDN’

andwhatAnd What? LDN, is a cre­at­ive com­munity of musi­cians, DJs, MCs, vocal­ists, Live Elec­tron­ic artists, beat­box­ers & video­graph­ers based in Lon­don. Their events com­bine Hip Hop prin­ciples with music of black ori­gin across the spec­trum, to cre­ate the ulti­mate live music and club­bing exper­i­ence. We catch up with them to find out more!

Tell us  a bit about AND WHAT? LDN, who are the main founders behind it and how it star­ted?

We were a group of friends throw­ing house parties and got closed down by the neigh­bours, we weren’t ready to stop, that was over 3 years ago and we still ain’t ready to stop. We decided rather than put on a club night we’d go down the live music route. We star­ted off doing Sunday nights at Off the Cuff in South Lon­don.

All artists and per­formers were ini­tially drawn from this friend group for and by the end of the first year a 2nd wave of con­trib­ut­ors joined our ranks con­sol­id­at­ing our team. The 1st wave; AMP Med­ley, Gon­an, Tino Biskits & Ali Blan­co fol­lowed by 2nd Wave; Calaida, Isaac B, The Orb­al­ist, Sun­set Sun­rise, Ohno da French & Ant­o­nia Car­rena…. If you want to know more our bios and links will be avail­able on our web­site (drop­ping soon)

We love what you guys stand for, because like us – embra­cing the roots of Hip-Hop is so import­ant! How have you man­aged to recre­ate that com­munity Hip-Hop vibe at your events?

The cash pover­ty of our enter­prise could be a big part of the vibe. All per­formers and con­trib­ut­ors have given their time for the love not the money… And although there are dis­ad­vant­ages what that does guar­an­tee is a bunch of Heads who really want to be there.

Cyphers and cross gen­re jams are at the core of all our events, though not always per­fect, those sporadic moments are what keeps things excit­ing for us and our audi­ence, this comes from the early days of And What when AMP, Ali & James Green would busk around town, jam­ming out with hoardes of MCs, we met IsaacB this way.

Is your col­lect­ive con­stantly grow­ing? How do people join the crew?

Our col­lect­ive is already pretty large (20+) and we get a lot of artists reach­ing out online and at shows.  We’re always open to new people, every event we do at Chip Shop we’re usu­ally rhym­ing with a lot of new people, but to join the crew, the per­son has to be able to bring a new for­ce to the col­lect­ive as well as hit it off with us. Busk­ing again is a big part of this, it’s a great way to find real Fresh Hip Hop heads and dia­monds in the rough and to bring into the fold.

What were your exper­i­ences of Hip-Hop events grow­ing up? Were there any that really inspired you?

Kung fu in Lon­don is a clas­sic… saw many UK acts from the golden era doing their thing there from Klash­nekoff to Yun­gun, Phi life Cypher and the mighty Roots Manuva… More recently there has been the Boom Bap Fest­ival; Uk’s num­ber 1 Hip Hop Fest­ival they used to run up near Cam­bridge. Hands down my favour­ite fest­ival where every­one is a fan and an artist, typ­ic­ally rock­ing at least one of the ele­ments if not all four.

What are your thoughts on the cur­rent UK Hip-Hop scene? are there any artists / free­stylers that you see often at your events that need to be on our radar?

Cur­rent scene has dope pock­ets all over the place but is frag­men­ted…

Of course the old school legends are hold­ing it down and we have the youth energy expressed through labels like High Focus. How­ever I think the music is stuck on a loop some­times… with many in our scene choos­ing to emu­late the old school boom­bap they love instead of push­ing the art­form for­ward. The biggest innov­a­tions in sound seem centered on Grime, Drill and even Poetry, we add live music/instrumentation to that mix in the belief that the bring­ing togeth­er of these fresh scenes with the old could cata­lyse them into far more than their con­stitu­ent parts…

Dope MCs to check out as well as AMP; IsaacB, Digitz, Hugh­dem, Ali Blan­co, Alex Michael Taylor, Val Ver­rel, Artic For­ce, Sim­ba Boy, Coales­cent, Miser­able Geni­us, KG Black and recently LDN Vikt­or 1 who’s per­form­ing on March 7th

Tell us a bit about some of the live PA’s you have had at your events? 

We do try and mix it up styl­ings wise, we’ve had Reg­gae sen­sa­tion Shum­ba Youth and UK Prin­cip­al smash sets with a bit of hip hop thrown in. We’ve also had MC Solomon bring some Jungle/Hip Hop fla­vours. South Afric­an super­star Toya Delazy did a set in Feb and rocked out with some Zulu bars! (Gqo­ma is out now) We’ve had sets from Lithuani­an MC, Krap­shtukas KRP plus Span­ish and French MCs, we’re con­tinu­ing with the theme of bring­ing inter­na­tion­al MCs to all our shows this year. Expect the unex­pec­ted in 2019! We’ve also had man like DJ Maseo and Logic come through drop sets on a ran­dom tip, spe­cial shouts to Ty for show­ing love.

You have 2 events com­ing up this month – give us the 411? 

Of course we have our monthly Hip Hop show­case and Cypher; at the BRIX­TON CHIP SHOP on March 7th, with reg­gae don UK Prin­cip­al head­lining. We go East on March 16th for our live music/club night con­coc­tion at canalside ven­ue GROW, Hack­ney going till 4am, neo soul artist Jo Coc­co is launch­ing his solo pro­ject with us. Also  in April we will be at Marble Arch for the 420 cel­eb­ra­tions…  don’t sleep on on that as we will be cypher­ing through­out the day, and night with any­one who wants to join. Keep an eye on our social medi­as for updates…

What is in store for the AND WHAT?LDN col­lect­ive?

We have fest­ivals on the Hori­zon this sum­mer…. We will be attend­ing a few and host­ing even more. Cul­min­at­ing with the return of our own ori­gin­al com­munity fest­ival CON­GREG­ATE BRIX­TON over the sum­mer months, and we may be tak­ing Con­greg­ate East as well. We also have plans to take our Rise of the MC show out of Lon­don. The first AND WHAT LDN MIX­TAPE is being final­ised and will be avail­able this before the sum­mer, it will show the diversity of our col­lect­ive, from Sene­g­alese Blues to Drum and Bass. Plus we have an MC mix­tape com­ing soon cur­ated by Ohno Da French.

Where can we keep up to date with all your events and moves? Social links?

We’re on Face­book, Ins­tagram, Twit­ter, we’ve got a whole bunch of dope videos on You­tube (pod­cast drop­ping soon) and we have a new mix series and a whole bunch of dope live record­ings from our events on our Sound­cloud account. Search @AndWhatLDN. Last but not least we have the new web­site that’ll be drop­ping in the next couple of weeks. You can check out more info on our, founders, per­formers, his­tory and future plans.

Don’t sleep on AND WHAT? LDN’s upcom­ing events this month:

And What? Rise Of The MC — https://www.facebook.com/events/1174154129409576/

And What? After Dark — https://www.facebook.com/events/1935326786776316/

 

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.