koolgIt was an hon­or to see the legendary Kool G Rap live at the intim­ate Jazz café in Lon­don, it’s not every day you get to see your favor­ite rapper’s, favor­ite rap­per! From Queens, New York, G Rap was half of Kool G Rap & Polo, also mem­ber of Juice Crew, has influ­enced many oth­er crit­ic­ally acclaimed artists, such as Notori­ous B.I.G, Eminem, Jay‑Z and Nas. G Rap is the man who made the integ­rity of lyr­ics import­ant and val­ued in the art of MCing. A huge part of Hip Hop his­tory, start­ing his career in the 1980’s one of rap’s early pion­eers along­side Big Daddy Kane, Shante and Biz Markie.

Kool G Rap may not be as well known by the youth today as the slightly older crowd at the Jazz Café reflec­ted, how­ever it’s import­ant to under­stand that without his influ­ence we would not have the artists we have today such as Nas. Nas makes a ref­er­ence to this on the track ‘Made Nas Proud (Let Nas Down Remix)’ by J‑Cole, ‘G Rap wrote the Bible’, let­ting those who admire him know that he admires Kool G Rap as one of the founders of Hip Hop.


The per­form­ances star­ted with Saudi born, Erit­rean UK Hip Hop artist Awate drop­ping his track, ‘Jew­els’ with DJ Turk­ish on the turntables. An infec­tious beat with a nice flow and lines like ‘I reign over the lames like an Erit­rean obelisk’ had me listen­ing closely. At one point he explained the ori­gins of his name, being born on Erit­rean Inde­pend­ence Day 24th May 1991, his act­iv­ist par­ents named him ‘Awate’ to cel­eb­rate the vic­tory. It was a power­ful story. I instantly wanted to hear more about his story and show him sup­port, his words had power. He spoke about being affected by racism and Islamo­pho­bia as a child, his first exper­i­ence in the Brit­ish school sys­tem was a child refus­ing to sit next to him as he was Muslim. He then went on to say he knows racism still exists in the teach­ing sys­tem because he was a teach­er last year. I wasn’t expect­ing to be hit with such hard truths but it res­on­ated with me. It’s appar­ent Awate has a lot to say, I’m look­ing for­ward to hear­ing more, I will be check­ing out the rest of his dis­co­graphy.

Then Kool G Rap blessed the stage! I was famil­i­ar with his music hav­ing spent many years in the BBOY scene, those who dance will agree he provided some of the found­a­tion we listen to. For that reas­on, it was really spe­cial to see his stage per­sona, man­ner­isms and shapes it came to life, this was real New York fla­vor. It was a rare glimpse into how things all began, I ima­gined oth­er rap­pers who were com­ing up at the time at a show to see him as I was right now. It was a spe­cial feel­ing, all the nos­tal­gia hit me.

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He per­formed tracks, such as, ‘Ill Street Blues’ and ‘My Life’ I have always loved these beats and flow on these it was excit­ing to see it live, ‘Rikers Island’ had us want­ing to smash some­thing up, with it’s energy, his whole per­form­ance brought back that 90’s feel­ing I so dearly miss. Amidst the show G Rap also gave a shout out to the memory of Prodigy, from Mobb Deep who was also from Queens. This was touch­ing, they had done the track, ‘Where you at’ togeth­er, I wished they had done more. The vocals on the hook to, ‘Can’t stop the Shine’ was elec­tri­fy­ing. The crowd at the Jazz Café who were mostly hard­core Hip Hop fans were in full appre­ci­ation of the per­form­ance and dur­ing the break we turned to each oth­er to remin­isce on the Golden Age of Hip Hop, every­one was feel­ing good.

The stage show stopped a little early to hold a spon­tan­eous Meet and Greet with fans on the ven­ue floor, which was very pleas­ing to fans who flocked towards him to get a photo and a hand­shake. G Rap came across as very approach­able and humble con­sid­er­ing his cul­tur­al sig­ni­fic­ance, it was a great end to the night. We don’t often have the oppor­tun­ity to see a per­form­ance by such his­tor­ic­ally high-pro­file artist, I thor­oughly enjoyed this oppor­tun­ity to do so.



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Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide

Faizah works in clin­ic­al research by pro­fes­sion and has been an avid Hip Hop lov­er since the early 90’s, hav­ing cre­ated her own Hip Hop event, ‘Breakin’ Bound­ar­ies’ in the early 2000’s which was pre­dom­in­antly based around the concept of bboy battles, she has worked with sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al events pro­moters and dan­cers to inspire oth­ers through this art­form.

About Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide
Faizah works in clinical research by profession and has been an avid Hip Hop lover since the early 90's, having created her own Hip Hop event, 'Breakin' Boundaries' in the early 2000's which was predominantly based around the concept of bboy battles, she has worked with several international events promoters and dancers to inspire others through this artform.