UK Hip Hop: International
Harry Love's Birthday Bash @ Kung Fu
MystroIt was a Tuesday night. Why do these things always seem to get held on work nights? Anyway, Despite this there was a great turn out and the Camden Underworld, which has hosted several tasty Hip Hop events recently, was packed with heads who were simply out to party and enjoy themselves. They were expectant of a great show to be provided by a stellar line up of some of the UK's hottest Hip Hop talent, and they weren't to be disappointed. Anyone who didn't make it down should start kicking themselves now, it was one of those shows that should go down in folklore memory.

Harry Love had assembled enough artists for about three or four fat gigs to celebrate with him on his 20th birthday. It was also the first time that the 'Kung Fu' night had expanded out of the smaller WKD club. Mystro was on hand to compare the night and to hype up the crowd which he did, getting everyone to repeat after him, 'when I say Kung, you say Fu... Kung... Fu' and to sing Happy Birthday to Harry who sorta blushed behind the decks. Music on the night was supplied by Sarah Jane and Harry himself. I didn't notice Kev spin, he may have done, and I think MK got busy after I left. 

Dupa Styles stepped up first with their lively show, continuing to get the crowd going whose intensity only seemed to build right to the end. Dupa Styles bounced rhymes off each other well, until Yun Gun stepped forward to perform his LG & Lopez produced Life Long on his own, which sounded good on the big sound system. Then Dupa Styles called Tommy Evans to the stage and performed the new Four Horsemen track at which point the crowd really took off. Each MC was bumping into each other and everything was mad hectic, Tommy always looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel in his forehead when he's on stage.

Jehst - Mystro - Tommy EvansAfter a short intermission, (it had to be short there was a lot to fit in), the Poisonous Poets took to the stage. First on stage and by far the most dominating figure was Reveal who was dressed in a silk shirt with a dragon on it which was doing interesting things in the stage lights. Everyone must have heard of Reveal by now and he lived up to his reputation spitting some really sick rhymes. He was joined on stage by Therapist and Doc Brown and another cat whose name I didn't remember. They were really raw and unrehearsed, but oozed immense energy and together they raised the game, covered all types of styles including some double speed rapping and some jiggy beats which definitely suited the club environment and had the audience bouncing. They left me thoroughly impressed. 

The acts were coming thick and fast, next up was Verbal T and Red, with Harry on the decks putting in mad work, who together performed a couple of more jazzy tracks as is their style. Not being the best live performers of the night they held the appreciative crowd and maintained the atmosphere. Red reminding everyone that they were here for a party for his brother. At this point I saw a girl take a full on head butt in the face, completely accidentally, but this wasn't even the most rowdy part of the night.

I think it was Jehst who was up next, but broccoli and beer don't aid your memory. Jehst is a tremendous live performer, really having the breath control and delivery down so that he can sound like he does on the records. It also helps him that his beats are severely banging and well produced and he provided one of the vocal displays of the evening. He pointed out that there was no air in the club - just smoke, but proceeded on and most of his set rushed past me. He did a couple of new tracks, one he had just finished the day before, and ended up doing the Trilogy. Knowing who was in the house everyone knew it had to be the remix version and when he was accompanied on stage by Chester P the crowd cheered even more loudly than they had been doing all night. Kyza also joined them on stage to do the full track and spat his special verse. This was the first time I had seen this guy and surprisingly it was the first time he and Chester P had met too, despite being on the same record and both being from East London.

Supa T - Mystro - Harry LoveAll the time the bouncers were unnecessarily cruising round the back of the crowd and were tapping people up for smoking spliffs and escorting them from the premises. This happened to at least five people that my friend saw and is really pretty pointless when everyone is having such a good time and there is no sign of trouble.

At this point in the proceedings Skinnyman and the Mud Fam barged onto the stage to promote their new 12" which they had for sale right there. Skinny was asking the crowd, 'Do you know what time it is now?' and everyone was answering 'Rowdy Time!'. Taking over they pushed the record onto Harry's deck and said that this could be the only time the track is played out like this. If you don't know by now this is a re vocal over the Adam F Smash Somthin beat called Lash Suttin. Not content with just letting the record play Skinnyman and Mongo rapped over the track in an impromptu live performance. The aggy style and their playing to the crowd created a full on Mosh pit at the front with arms and maybe on occasion legs waving in the air.

From now on in it was all pretty mental. Taking over a well hype crowd Ricochet Kalashnikov performed his track ‘Dago Mentality’ and it seemed as though everyone know the lyrics and was familiar with the track. People just went crazy for this, but Ricochet Kalashnikov was unable to keep up the frenetic pace he had set for himself and tired towards the end of the track. This didn't matter as Jehst and Kyza were still about and were able to help him out and add some spice of their own.

Jehst - Mystro - Harry LoveThe whole night was a highlight from beginning to end, but apparently what a large proportion of the crowd had come to see was Task Force, this was manifested with the buzzing audience going completely berserk when they stepped to the stage. They were joined by a youngster - Secret Weapon who was nervous and keen to prove himself, but he broke into rhyme a bit early and the track was stopped and Farma had to calm him down. But when it was really his turn he held the stage and showed the depth of talent emanating from the Highbury Estate. The brothers McBain did some new tracks off their new Music From The Corner Volume 1 LP and some tracks that are now classics off their Voice Of The Great Outdoors EP. Although he had been rapping all along the crowd got what they wanted when Farma said to his brother that it was time he introduced himself. Chester ripped into The Intro and then proceeded to drop some off the dome lyrics. He finished up like a political rally explaining to the audience about what is going on in Afghanistan at the moment. He said that Bush was a straight up racist and that the Afghanis should be treated as innocent until guilty. He said he wasn't down with the war being prosecuted against such an impoverished state and that the real people we should be rising up against and fighting were the corrupt, hypocritical British and US governments. By the time he finished up he had worked the audience into such a frenzy that any authority figure who may have strayed into the club would have been lynched there and then.

Finally to round off the night Braintax took to the stage and commandeered Mystro from his compare duties to back him up and run through some of the bangers they have produced. Mystro started the set by pointing out to the crowd that most of the acts on display tonight were supported by Low Life Records and that Braintax was the person behind the label. Possibly the most hard working person in UK Hip Hop. He had the crowd chanting 'Low Life... Low Life' when Braintax listed some of the releases asking if anyone had heard them, quite an impressive list, each release received a louder cheer than before... 98 Series, Travel Show, Voice Of The Great Outdoors, High Plains Drifter etc. Together they opened with a track about fashions which was meant for the Lewis Sterling tape that never came out, Free The Walls off the Wordlab 2 LP and Don't Drag Me In and Biro Funk off the new single. In a contrast to how the Task Force set ended at one point Braintax and Mystro had the crowd all holding peace signs in the air and holding them for all the cameras.

There was a guy there filming it so if anyone can get their hands on that get a copy to me cos I really want to re-live the night. If you weren't there I'm not sure there will be another night like this...

Relevant Links: www.musicfromthecorner.com :: www.lowliferecords.co.uk :: www.peoplesound.com/Artist/harrylove

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