My my, how the time is escaping us.….just over a week ago, I spent a musically infused weekend celebrating 22 years of Itch FM Friday night, Get Involved’s soulfully infused club night comeback on Saturday, topped off with the warmly welcomed return of Flava of the Month on Sunday.… I’m just about socially recharged and finding time to type up my review! [life-work-life-balance!]
Time is a funny thing — I just mentioned it’s escaping us, yet I can recall standing in WHSmith at Victoria Station after school with my best friend Yolanda (pre modernisation — the original tiny store!) we were in 6th form at the time.
We’d walk from Pimlico to Victoria after school sharing headphones, listening to cassette tapes on my Walkman (are you catching how old school this time was!?), and there we’d stand flicking through the magazines, hiding amongst the bustling commuters who had ‘no time’ to stand still, just pick up and drop a few coins for their Evening Standard — yes they charged for it back then !!
Then music took it’s hold, we moved on from Just 17 mag, to researching where to go for music — holding a copy of Time Out magazine between us, searching the listings.….‘Hip Hop, R’n’B, Soul, Funk & Rare Groove’ I think was the heading…always the shortest column in comparison to Pop, Rock, House.….etc…One day we spotted ‘Flava of the Month’ at The Borderline.…we’d never been there, but we knew Charing Cross Road as we walked about the West End a lot, choosing to buy food over bus fares! — We were young and willing to walk, it’s how you get streetwise!
So we tried out the night, it was most definitely Hip Hop. Raw and heavy on showcasing UK artists, it was true and real.….it felt established and comfortable, yet in contrast I remember it being a dark pillared room full of seriously focused folk.…
Roll on 29 or so years and (I did type 19 then just read back and did the maths- jheeez!) it’s here again, this time word was spread on social media, (one of the perks we can all agree on).. F.O.T.M…the return.…Sunday night raving !
27th November 2022. It was decent & a great turn out — which made me happy, cos too many times I hear my ‘generation’ moan about there being no Hip Hop events for ‘our kinda [Boom Bap] Hip Hop’, well there is, and will be for those who care to step out and support!
After a warm up on the turntables and introduction from DJ 279, K9 performed first, he was very engaging and got the crowd’s attention, his style fusing Hip Hop and Reggae, he calls this ‘Boom Bap Reggae’, his songs have powerful messages within, and gave great stage presence.
K9 chatted to the crowd all friendly an’ that! and gave us some history of his journey through years of making music, which included memories of Flava of the Month ‘1991?’ .… ‘sumthin’ like that’ and stories of sending music to 279 to play on his Choice FM show — Friday Night Flavas [Which is where I got to know K9’s music] ; perseverance and keep working at fine tuning it being key.
279 encouraged K9 out of his comfort zone on stage to perform one tune acapella, so peeps could fully take in the lyrics — which was dope. Out of our comfort zone is where we grow right?.…Check @k9london K9Beetz.com
279 aka Numbers dropped some old n new tracks in between, dancers got down and brought the vibes up. Numbers gave us some ‘sermons’ on why he’s brought the event back.…to support by giving artists a platform to perform, be heard and give heads a party at the same time.… in a nutshell…keeping real Hip Hop alive, “support the artists. If we don’t get together & work together, the sh*t that we love dies”.
K*NERS from Bristol was up next, I’ve only recently learnt of his music which has a good sound, his tracks tell stories of life in Bristol… he performed a niiiice tune — Lion’s Den, featuring Roots Manuva & Deadly Hunta (unfortunately not in attendance!) and he got so excited, he jumped over the barrier and into the crowd — reminded me of Nice n Sooth a few years ago!! He gave out CDs of his album…check him out, insta @k_ners
Next up 279 talked us through the purpose of the Open Mic section of F.O.T.M; a chance for MCs to show a live audience their skills, and see if they’re ready, and for beatmakers to get themselves heard, which in turn has formed collaborations in the past…
We had a surprise guest — Cutmaster Swift — spin in for this section, Swifty played a selection of five of K9’s Beetz & at least 9 MCs stepped forward to impress us.
They individually chose a beat from 1–5 and freestyled for the crowd.…This is the highlight for some attendees, as they rarely get the opportunity to take the mic at a live show, there was a range of generations that stood up, which is what it’s all about…linking pioneers with fresh artists, sharing skills and clever lyricism on the spot — Unity!
Beats 1 & 4 stood out for me, along with MCs Mas Law & David J the Vocal Pugilist…“in 2023 you have to be lyrically so sharp, that you will cut the air and make the wind bleed.…”
It was refreshing to see people out again, genuinely supporting the passion, and totally being present for Hip Hop.…DJs are important people, and more so the DJs who introduce us to [good] new music, as well as respect the old skool.…
Such a friendly supportive vibe — we need more…
oh wait — there is.…
26th February: Flava of the Month all dayer
…kicking off Hip Hop’s 50th year check @Flavaofthemonthuk @numberman279 for more deets.…
P.S. look out for Mas Law’s interviews with K9 and K*NERS coming soon…
Photo by Salfreckles feat David J The Vocal Pugilist, DJ 279 & Cutmaster Swift
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