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