Review: New Guardz (@NewGuardz) Summer Jam

The night star­ted beau­ti­fully and cas­u­ally. DJ Wicked was spin­ning all the old school Hip Hop clas­sics. I found myself at the bar, recit­ing bar for bar Meth­od Man and Redman’s ‘Da Rock­wilder’ with another gen­tle­man play­ing snook­er. There was an artist there called August Blu in one corner of the room doing por­traits. This gave an extra spe­cial qual­ity to the night as his spray cans and work had its own mini stage without tak­ing away from the music. Real cul­ture in my opin­ion has Art, Music and Dance all under the same roof. One by one the crowd began to fil­ter in as we were led to the stage. My joy was already found through the diversity of people that this night had brought.

marv

Although it was my first time at the ven­ue and at a New Guardz event, I instantly felt right at home. The vibe was open and easy. The incred­ible double ‘M’ duo of Mas and Marv intro­duced the show. Mas has this incred­ible stage pres­ence that is second to none. The com­bin­a­tion of funky entire; which changed mul­tiple times as the night pro­gressed; dope rhymes of the dome and impuls­ive humour was a per­fect start to the live show and per­meated through the night effort­lessly. Marv brought his awe­some beat-box­ing skills, cool Afric­an prints and free-styled like he could do it in his sleep. The two sup­por­ted each oth­er like a black artist­ic ver­sion of Ant and Dec.

The first act was a beau­ti­ful Sing­er-Song­writer named Cor­rine Leandre. For someone who admit­ted she was nervous, her voice pierced my heart and the hearts of many that night. Three words: Pure and uncom­plic­ated. Her range was vast and she caus­ally hit key changes without stress. Her ad-libs weren’t the usu­al showy, pre­med­it­ated extras; which some­times over­takes a track but clearly chosen and very effect­ive. She pro­ceeded to per­form her own care­fully craf­ted tracks and a cov­er of Beyonce’s ‘Hold Up’ with her own twist. Just when the audi­ence thought she was done she showed she had some flow too; put­ting down some rhymes:

“fuck these politi­cians, tryna tell me what the hell life is and what the heav­en that it isn’t”

She held the stage with strength and grace and def­in­itely provided the acts that fol­lowed her a hard task to match.

Pro­ceed­ing Leandre was Black Chron­ic­al, who had a very, very inter­est­ing flow. I found myself really impressed about his choice of not only lyr­ic­al con­tent; but the way in which his lyr­ics sat on the beat. It made it a chal­lenge to fol­low, which for me made his tracks very inter­est­ing. It’s good when artists push the art by not spoon-feed­ing audi­ences. The UK now due to our Grime artists are known for being able to rhyme on pretty much any beat at speed but hear­ing a Hip Hop mc dis­play that tal­ent was deeply sat­is­fy­ing. Who­ever is pro­du­cing Black Chronical’s instru­ment­als has some ser­i­ous tal­ent and the com­bin­a­tion seemed to be work­ing towards some­thing fresh and unique for the UK Hip Hop world

Dun D had took the room into a place of high energy and true Lon­don vibes.

“It’s a Lon­don ting INIT”

valerie

I found myself singing along to his infec­tious hooks. He reminded me a little of Leth­al B; in the sense of a home grown, relat­able tal­ent; but also his way of under­stand­ing and grasp­ing the club scene. He ranged from Grime to Afro-beat / Island Styles, which got the crowd dan­cing. It was a great switch up and gave party spir­itu­al­ity; that may not have neces­sar­ily exis­ted in the space pri­or to his per­form­ance. His enjoy­ment and pas­sion cre­ated a joy­ous atmo­sphere and took the event into a dif­fer­ent place.

Femi San­ti­ago came next with his funky, self pro­duced beats and killer fal­setto. His nat­ur­al zest for life put smiles on everyone’s face espe­cially learn­ing about his joy of fath­er­hood and mar­ried life. At this point the audi­ence was packed but with room to enjoy the vibes. He moved through Funk to Soul, R ’n’ B and even gave some Trap Beats. It was a nice switch up to the acts that came before and Santiago’s track ‘Auda­cious’ is a dynam­ite record.

New Guardz — These guys are just insane. From The Dire­wolves – the four piece band in wolf masks (any ref­er­ence to Game Of Thrones instantly gets my seal of approval!) To the Beat-box­ing, cyphers and best of all, audi­ence inter­ac­tion. Marv, in par­tic­u­lar, wasn’t afraid to mosh with the crowd or to even share free alco­hol through water pis­tols!! The New Guardz per­form­ance had a sim­il­ar feel to The Mouse Out­fit in terms of it’s group struc­ture, dynam­ic and open­ness; so it was nice for Lon­don to have our own cool Hip Hop col­lect­ive.

What struck me was sup­port­ive­ness and aware­ness the group had of each oth­er in the space. They were all con­fid­ent and happy to lead or be led. It was nice to see a group of men do this. There were no egos, only room for play and stun­ning, unique deliv­er­ies. The energy cre­ated by the ensemble really gave the night a sense of love and com­munity, which you don’t really get from most live shows. Usu­ally the acts are quite dis­con­nec­ted and people gen­er­ally go for their artists and are not inter­ested in any­thing or any­one else. The New Guardz exem­pli­fied the thing that Hip Hop was made for: to bring all kinds of people, from all walks of life, togeth­er. They ranged from Hip Hop to Rock, Ska to some more jazzy rhythms and over these played with flows in an impress­ive and cre­at­ive way. These guys cre­ated a for­um of exper­i­ence and explor­a­tion for the audi­ence. It was truly cap­tiv­at­ing.

DSOTM (Dark Side of the Moon) all in black, out came with some ser­i­ously smooth flows. The guys had this level of con­sist­ency and logic that tran­scen­ded their per­form­ance. Their high-energy style, teamed with real diverse inton­a­tion choice (in terms of the order of verses) was an inter­est­ing addi­tion to the ones that came before. The per­form­ance was 200% com­mit­ment and heart. A real pleas­ure to wit­ness espe­cially after the New Guardz set.

The last of live acts was the unbe­liev­ably tal­en­ted Bob­bie John­son hail­ing from Brighton. She closed the show with a bang. She had bars at a speed that even Twista or Kendrick would have trouble keep­ing up. She is exactly what the Grime scene needs and got instant reloads for pretty much every track. The lyr­ics were on point, her deliv­ery was seam­less and the best part was she was so humble about her gift. It was an out­stand­ing per­form­ance and it’s great to watch females like her and Lady Leshurr really rep­res­ent for the UK, dis­play­ing that we pro­duce female MC’s of a truly awe­some stand­ard. Watch out for this girl. If you don’t know her already get to know now. She is not to be over­looked.

Schroff spun the decks the rest of the night keep­ing the insane vibes. Although the music blew me away I found myself wit­ness­ing cyphers and free­styles dur­ing the breaks of the event. This was the icing on the cake. The sup­port from people that had trav­elled from all over to exper­i­ence this event was truly astound­ing. It really broke the ste­reo­type of Lon­don as this trans­ac­tion­al city; in which every­one is out for them­selves. This sense of com­munity and appre­ci­ation of tal­ent really took the night. This night was truly sen­sa­tion­al and I will def­in­itely be going to the next one. For any­one that wants to hear beau­ti­ful music, meet beau­ti­ful, tal­en­ted people and have a great night out, I would def­in­itely sug­gest head­ing down to the New Guardz next live event.

Fol­low these guys @newguardz

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Valerie Ebuwa

Valer­ie “wing girl” Ebuwa is a freel­ance dance artist and yoga teach­er from East Lon­don. She is cur­rently dan­cing for 3 con­tem­por­ary dance com­pan­ies and is one of the found­ing mem­bers of Eclectics Dance and CEO of Hip Hop House.

About Valerie Ebuwa

Valerie "wing girl" Ebuwa is a freelance dance artist and yoga teacher from East London. She is currently dancing for 3 contemporary dance companies and is one of the founding members of Eclectics Dance and CEO of Hip Hop House.