Walking across the High Level Bridge from Newcastle to Gateshead, I was excited for ObSceNA having missed last months open mic in Arch Sixteen Cafe. Listening to Eyeconic’s ‘Sink Or Swim’, snapping a photo of the Quayside for the ‘gram and wondering who’s going to grab the mic this time around. Having already heard some ObSceNE veterans like Rex Regis and Max Gavins would both be absent, there was a slight concern on my part that this might be the beginning of the end.
In North East hip-hop gig nights don’t seem to last too long. Static and Wearsiders Presents were both incredible nights, but both came to an untimely end. Was the buzz dying down? Had the clamp down on drinking in the street outside put people off? It’s a possibility, but it didn’t stop Arch Sixteen being packed out.
There are few things certain in life. Death, taxes and sixteen year old rapper Eum being early to ObSceNE. The ‘Macabre.Blossoms’ musician gave me a warm welcome turning the corner from the High Level Bridge into view of Arch Sixteen. After quick daps and handshakes with familiar faces like NATO, Gracie B and J-Man, I headed inside.
Walking into Arch Sixteen Cafe I’m usually greeted by another round of ‘areet’s’ and ‘oi oi’s.’ Instead, I was greeted by blank stares. The greatest part about past ObSceNE’s has been the introduction to new artists but ObSceNA took this to a new level. A quick glance around there was some people I knew, fellow blogger Johno Ramsay, the night’s host Eyeconic and of course DJ 90BRO. Beyond those and a few Tees Grime Fam members, maybe another handful at best were recognisable.
It wasn’t long before Eum opened up the night, as has become tradition. Performing something new, I don’t think I’ve heard before, he churned in another highlight. There are very few MCs as exciting as Eum in the North East right now.
Following Eum, Emilio stepped up performing tracks over Sir Spyro and Westy beats. I’m not sure you’ll ever find anyone who wears his heart on his sleeve as much as the Sunderland Grime MC, outstandingly and ostentatiously passionate.
From there, the night descended predominantly into the unknown. It’s a shame B-Type didn’t turn up for the rumoured freestyle battle with Emilio, but there was Limey, a rapper with a similar style to the chiptune artist. Elsewhere there was a mini-TGF takeover with YH shutting the place down, proving why he’s one of the best in the scene. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more from Yung Hydro in the coming months.
There was a string of artists I didn’t catch the names of but each individually impressed before veteran Davey Blast delivered the best performance of the night with ‘Mic.’ In a complete switch of energy Philosopheyez brought us into some more down tempo hip-hop, before the performance I was most anticipating. Since the last ObScene, ObZico, I’ve been hearing a lot about one MC in particular. E-Mence’s name has been mentioned to me more than any other in the past month with the likes of Johno Ramsay, 90BRO and Max Gavins each expressing praise for the Sunderland rapper. E-Mence didn’t disappoint either. The hype is real and thoroughly deserved.
Newly home NATO smashed it as has become expected, Sagaboi set it off especialy wiht his performance of ‘Do You Actually Know’ before Big Fletch showcased his skill with a new song. There was some disagreement before sixteen year old Fletch fired up the crowd about whether he’d be able to perform. I’m not sure what the issue was, but I am happy that it was resolved because that new one is a heater from the teenager. Big Fletch didn’t come alone either. Fletch introduced a mate to the mic, who for a newcomer definitely did his thing.
After a quick ‘Spit One Lyric’ from host Eyeconic and a short set from fellow TGF MC Blitz, the open mic slots were done and the cypher beats came out. ObSceNE regulars like Arkle, Gracie B and J-Man spat their lyrics alongside various newcomers, Eyeconic received his hat-trick of reloads for the night and I realised how many of Blitz’ bars I know as he wrapped up the cypher too.
With the 5th ObScene done and dusted, I left the inevitable after-party / side-cyphers. Walking back over the High Level Bridge and up through the Bigg Market, I began to realise how great of a SceNE we have in the North East. There’s such a wealth of depth for talent, and ObSceNE is at the epicentre of bringing through fresh faces and reinvigorating veterans.
What’s the craic with next months, Hash?