In the 5 months or so I’ve deeply invested interest into the local Hip Hop scene of the North East of England, I’ve seen an exponentially rise in buzz, quantity of records and quality there of too. One thing which has been specifically lack however, is the amount of live gigs that rappers from Newcastle and surrounding areas perform. I’m looking to Static to change that.
The event put on by Fahd The Virus, a rapper in his own right, for a University project, had it’s very first show on May 9. With around 100 people attending, it was a good start – but not without its flaws. Whilst I was there to enjoy the respective performances from some of the local circuits brightest talents, I couldn’t but walk away from the gig with my thoughts distracted as consequence of the crowd. For every dedicated fan I came across (shout out to the woman with Hek-Tik branded across her arm), there were dozens of people who spent more time outside of World HQ than inside watching the performances. Whilst I didn’t catch every second of every set, I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would come to an event, only to spend the majority of it smoking outside.
For those that did stay from beginning to end, they were treat to a terrific sample of North East Hip Hop.
The sets were opened by the trio of The Virus, M2E and Blitzd Vibes, with tracks from their new EP, Rise Of It All. Whilst Blitzd Vibes impressed with his attempts of evoking crowd interaction, M2E and Virus lacked the confidence to truly show off their talents. They were by no means poor, but their nervousness, or at least lack of experience, was hard to ignore.
Elsewhere the performances of Rex Regis who was joined by U Call Me Sir and Kay Greyson, Smooth Jezza and 2FK (Bino & Kino) all offered great sets themselves, especially pleasing for showing the diversity the local culture has to offer, but it was NATO who truly caught my eye. His delivery was on-point, every word enunciated to perfection. The only rapper who took to the stage and every word they spat could be heard. Every bar, verse and track was crystal clear.
In terms of energy, and exciting rapping ability though, HB were on top form. Just B proving why he’s regarded as potentially the best MC from the region and H-Man hot on the heels of his partner in rhyme too. Ripping through a set of obvious crowd favourites including their latest release Old Friends, the duo are definitely two of the hottest spitters in the scene right now.
Headlining the event, HekTik Records stormed the stage. Whilst at this point half the crowd had disappeared, that didn’t put off Caff, RG and Trav as they rattled through records from the Chaotic Beginnings mixtape which dropped a few weeks ago. Whilst there were sporadic times of being at the very least drunk, for the most part they managed to maintain the quality throughout, leaving those who stayed til the bitter end, happy to have done so.
Whilst by no means a perfect event, Static showed signs of being a potential staple in the future for North East Hip Hop. Bring the cyphers and freestyles that were happening outside after the event and incorporate them into the show and there’s all the makings for not only a spot in which local MC’s feel is a must-do in terms of performances, but a place in which fans of the genre worldwide and specifically in the region feel they need to attend regularly (and stay throughout the show’s entirety).
Given that I also seen Tyler, the Creator, J. Cole, Pusha T and more within days of the Static event, whom each exuded charisma in bucket loads, it allowed me to note the main difference between local Hip Hop acts and those headlining international tours was simply the confidence. All of which will surely come in time as the individual emcee’s, the event itself and the local scene as a whole grows and develops beyond its current means.
Here’s to Static 2. I can’t wait.