REVIEW: Here's a complete rundown of New Gen Live 2
UK rap and Grime culture has recently began to generate a momentum that has seen it catapult independent artists into the commercial market and the scene's talented proteges are being recognised in the UK and internationally. This new energy and support is epitomised in the live circuit and following the success of the debut event, MOBO was invited down to New Gen Live 2 at Birthdays in Dalston to see some of the scene's potential.
I attended the first New Gen Live event back in February and was pretty surprised by the support. Obviously the line up was full of exciting artists but I've been to plenty of events with strong line ups that haven't quite created the same energy. The buzz surrounding the enigmatic release of Bonkaz' single We Run The Block definitely played a part as, at that time, you weren't able to hear the track unless you saw it live so as soon as that distinctive Heavytrackerz beat starts playing, it erupts.
New Gen Live 2 had an equally promising line up that included Cl!pstar, A2, Avelino, 6ix, TE Dness, Bonkaz and more so as you can imagine, the event received support from all over London and the venue was at full capacity by ten o'clock.
Pepstar was one of the first up, warming up an already pretty lively crowd. For a long time I have rated Pepstar as a musician. His knowledge of engineering and production combined with his flow and wordplay show that his talent goes further than the stage but, from what I saw, his performance still got a decent reaction. The energy then started to snowball as Cl!pstar invaded the stage and if you know about UK rap, then you will be fully aware of the support this squad gets.
The next highlight of the night was the performance from Avelino who vocalised his innovative mentality, claiming that he wont be providing a new track or a new video every week like a lot of other rappers but he does promise to create good music for the rest of his life. The Tottenham rapper then performed Money Over Everything, the lead track from his forthcoming project FYO to a pretty animated crowd and gave us an idea of the quality of content we can expect from the record.
The New Gen crowd were also lucky enough to see TE Dness and 6ix bring out Stormzy, fresh off the flight from LA after receiving his BET Award, to perform No Title.
A2 is another up and coming artist that is getting quite a lot of attention and his performance at Birthdays proved that it was worth adding him to the line up. To be honest, I slept on A2 for a while and I had heard a lot more about him than I had actually heard from him but after seeing the New Gen Live reaction, I know he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Bonkaz and Renz seem to be two of the names that are pioneering the New Gen movement and the way Bonkaz is experimenting with his music distribution shows that they are continuing to innovate as well as just providing dope music. We Run The Block got the reaction you would expect, creating mad energy and maintaining it's status as one of the new generation anthems but it was Run Out The Ends, Bonkaz' new single, that was the climax. Again using New Gen Live as an exclusive music showcase.
For me, it seems that the momentum and support the New Gen Live events and general movement is generating is due to the exclusivity you can expect when attending. Most artists use events to just perform a catalog of hits that you can already access on YouTube or catch on the radio, but the way artists like Avelino and Bonkaz use these shows to give you a little taste of what they have in store for the future, encompasses the forward thinking nature of the new generation of Grime an UK rap.
Photo Credit: Issac J Cambridge