“This show was the epitome of grime”
Last night I had the privilege of attending a show that is sure to go down in history as one of grime's most special. Headlined by the talented brothers and leading men of Boy Better Know, SKepta and JME, the show gave light to an array of grime and UK rap talent from all sides of London. Before I was able to witness the pure, bass heavy, UK garage influenced beats, witty bars of JME, and the dark, but relatable Skepta experience, I saw Frisco, CASisDEAD, Novelist and Section Boyz shut down the venue before the main event even began.
CASisDEAD had an undeniable stage presence and the way his music took the crowd was amazing. I was simply in awe of the dark and disturbing vibe of his stage set, as the mosh grew with each song he performed. Similarly, Novelist, who represents South London, known for songs like 'Lewisham Mc D's' had the audience skanking as if it was 1994. His ability to rejuvenate and transform simple classic garage sounding beats, into pop and grime songs is what in my opinion makes his performances and the crowd's reaction so effortlessly energetic.
The final opening act, Section Boyz, notoriously know for their songs 'Trappin' aint Dead' and 'Lock Arff' took the energy from the previous two acts and quadrupled it within second of the crowd hearing 'still up in the endz', it was truly phenomenal. From this point, the energy and anticipation for Skepta and JME was intense. The crowd got rowdier and some crazy fans who jumped on stage, were not only welcomed onstage, but taken backstage with the Section Boyz as they finished their set.
As if it wasn't already crazy, the thousands of die hard fans, old and new, squashed and sardine-canned, who were waiting for Skepta and JME to hit the stage, were stunned when Croydon rapper Stormzy decided to run out on stage and do a surprise performance of his song 'Shut Up' which he is currently campaigning to beat X Factor as the Christmas number one this year. His hashtag #ShutUpForXmasNo1 has flooded the internet and when the beat to the song dropped, the crowd lost their minds. It was an iconic moment.
Finally Skepta and JME entered the stage as ‘That’s Not Me’ played out and of course the audience were skanking harder than ever, the air was tight and the long moshful wait for the two brothers to hit the stage was finally over. From the intro of the first song, to the outro of the last song of the set, I was intrigued by the genuine and unconditional support and respect the brothers offered each other. The chemistry was explosive throughout the entire show.
With the way crowd fed off of JME’s crazy persona and heavily comedic wordplay, and the height of the energy in the venue, the roof could have literally blown off. As he performed songs old and new like ‘Serious’ and ‘Man Don’t Care’ it was clear to see how JME’s unique and versatile style is the reason JME is one of grime’s gems. In a genre like grime it is very easy to sound like someone else or become outdated, but the way he moved the audience with his goofy dancing and his women-friendly bars was extraordinary.
Going in song for song, I was shocked by the sheer variety of songs Skepta and JME shared. As the crowd sang word for word and jumped for the heavens, Skepta decided to highlight the sausage party he saw before him, which was of course, the crowd. With all the anticipation of what was coming next, and a simple ‘Oorite’ from Skepta, the audience went completely insane and started spitting the lyrics of ‘Too Many Man’ acapella before the beat even dropped. What followed next is what made this gig historical, as the entire squad that is known as BBK came out for their parts in the song. The vibe on the stage at that moment was pure love and respect and it was nice to see the genuine care and support the guys had for one another. With their definitely overdue, but well deserved, recent success, BBK are pioneers, and will be influencing and inspiring generations to come.
For me, this show was the epitome of what grime is, what it means, and where it should continue to head to in the future. The way BBK continues to support up-and-coming acts and put them up onto platforms like this is what I believe made the show the incredible success it was, as the crowd were really able to experience true Grime and family. Finally Skepta performed his song ‘Shutdown’ which, of course, metaphorically speaking, shutdown the venue and fans were wilder and more in awe than ever. A truly great experience.
Credits: Photography, Pacheanne Anderson.