Review and photo by Stephen Harvey a.k.a. DJ Fresh
The hip hop genre is the largest and most diverse of all the many hundreds and thousands of different styles that can be found in the record shops, and that’s not counting the internet websites devoted solely to hip hop. This is also the genre, that without doubt signifies the most obvious differences between the U.S and U.K.
The majority of the population barely hear the intro of a tune on MTV base without reaching for the remote control to hear something they are more familiar with, and this is the problem with selling hip hop to the masses in this country. The likes of Dizzee Rascal and The Streets are still basically underground hero material rather than mainstream popstars, even when their albums are selling by the millions. The youth of this country, have for a long time now, been portrayed as yobs and gangster ‘wannabees’ and most of this misinterpretation comes from the misunderstanding of hip hop popular culture and fashion I believe. I seem to remember my own parents saying the same to me back in the eighties when I was walking around with trainers with no laces in them like Run Dmc, and hip hop had only just arrived back then.
Kayos and D Dot Man came across as two intelligent and likeable characters that were using their wit and musical knowledge to tell stories in the only way they know how ‘in musical rhyme’ and ‘bassline’ or ‘grime’ which is the music of choice for many young aspiring artist from this generation. I will be totally honest and admit that it is not the style of hip hop I am used to hearing or performing for that matter, but whatever we think it is making big moves in the clubs and slowly being watered down for our consumption in the mainstream pop charts.
The performance of these young lads, who were after all only 16 years old, was not to everyone’s taste in the crowd, but then again it was never going to be. The younger members of the audience seemed to enjoy what they were all about though, and they had brought a sizeable crowd with them, which was well on par with all the other bands that played on the same bill and at least one of them has had a top ten hit in the national Indie charts.
The first track was a chirpy little two-step number called “its over” which was about a teenage break up scenario. I know it’s not the most original idea, but I doubt it will be the last one on the subject either. My personal favourite however was the more bassline inspired dance number “skank” which was enough to get the members of Love Music Hate Racism group to temporarily put down their banners and start dancing on the concrete in front of the main stage, which in my eyes said a lot for the musical quality of the lads. It’s not everyone that can temporarily take the L.M.H.R away from their political matters in Stoke, and have them bouncing around the park like they were teenagers again.
All in all I would say the lads did their generation some good on the day, and I look forward to seeing them again sometime in the near future.