Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Goon Squad

By Stephen Harvey

Hip hop is alive and well, and blowing the cobwebs off the Stoke on Trent music scene. A small number of local artists have formed their own cooperative, and are taking their own brand of rap, complete with a Stoke accent to the national airwaves.

It all began less than two years ago at the Cheshire Cheese in Hanley. The lads were going down to the open mic night, and rapping freestyle. This was so popular it was gaining interest from all over the city, and the night was soon reaching saturation point, and even employing additional bar staff just to cope with the popularity of the monthly night.

It was becoming clear that the venue needed to be changed, and at this point DJ Fresh approached the Fat Cats Café Bar in Trinity Street, Hanley. The management and venue was more than ready to transfer the night to their basement, and it has proved to be one of their most popular nights, with the Goon Squad selling all 150 tickets on a Monday night.

Their popularity is being fuelled by their constant airplay on local and National Radio, and much of this hype is mostly to the superb work by Matt and Dave at Radio Stoke.

Live sessions from DJ Fresh, Parradox, Kermeo and Vacant & Guti raising the profile of hip hop in the area. This led Matt and Dave to include the Goon Squad along with the Wrongpop night on their pick of the best from Stoke, to be aired on national Radio courtesy of Huw Stephens on BBC Radio One.

The inclusion of interview material from Guti &Vacant, DJ Fresh and Parradox on the show, in addition to playing the Parradox track ‘Gift Of The Gab’ which came as a massive boost to their already growing egos.

The members are keeping there feet firmly on the ground however, and its back to business as normal.

The group has come a long way in just 18 months are just keen to continue their mission to make “Stoke Stand Up” in the words of DJ fresh.

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