Welcome to the South Easy
I’m not going to lie, before this week I hadn’t heard two-thirds of the twelve artists performing tonight for Positive Progression at The Latest Music Bar in Brighton. Not that I’m ignorant, but I’m a hip-hop guy. Yeah, I switch things up every now and then because it’s healthy to refresh your palate, but my interest was piqued by the quartet of UK hip-hop’s finest lyricists due to appear somewhere in the middle of the evening. For me, the main draw was Terra Slim. Not that he’s necessarily the best emcee on tonight, but he’s the one I’ve been listening to a lot over the summer. I picked up his mixtape W.O.G when he played Slipjam earlier in the year and it’s powerful stuff. He’s the type of emcee who brings to his lyrics an almost psychotic dedication to truth, or his version of it at least. He’s scathing about society, but it never sounds preachy cos he’s equally scathing about his own shortcomings. Plus there’s a manic energy to his music, reflecting perhaps the restlessness of the lyrics. This is not depressive music, this is a chance to roar away the frustrations of the week in the company of like-minded nutters.
Then I found out Terra’s bringing along a few of his mates. Folks with similar perspectives, even if they tend to be slightly less confrontational in their presentation. UK hip-hop legend Genesis Elijah of ‘Jah Bless’ and Deh Pon Road fame, more recently bulked up to almost superhuman proportions and touring to promote his clothing brand This Is My Hustle. Fellow veteran and legend SuparNovar, passionate and soulful for over a decade whether representing Skinnyman’s Mud Fam or his own F.L.I.P. crew. Terra’s old partner-in-rhyme A.C. whose spectacular mixtape Keep It Together deserved way more play than I’ve been able to give it. What kind of world is it where I can give short shrift to an emcee who says ‘I wouldn’t go there, like Micheal Barrymore’s swimming pool‘ smack bang in the middle of a scathing critique of subcultural superficialities? A world that needs changing, for sure. These guys I know. But all these other folk? Street Souls? The Syndicate? Spliff Richard?
I mean, seriously, no disrespect, but I really need a few extra question marks here to express confusion. Spliff Richard??? What kind of name is that for an emcee? I had a quick chat with the promoter, poet Missy Tea, to find out about Spliff, the other artists who are new to me and the free food on offer to all early arrivals.
Positive Progression starts tonight, Friday 20th September, at 8pm in the Latest Music Bar on Manchester Street. Admission is £3, the free food will be available until 10pm or when it runs out, whichever’s sooner.
I’m a fan of Terra Slim so I was going to do a preview focusing on him. Having seen the full lineup I realised that might be a bit misleading cos there’s so much else going on so figured it might be better to throw a few questions your way to get a better idea of what the show’s about.
We were just going to have a “private” party. But the main idea is to get people to listen to UK hiphop that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t.
What type of people do you have in mind and what would put them off UK hip-hop normally?
Well, we will have people there that more into rock music and DnB, it will have some elements of reggae and spoken word as well
Genesis Elijah is the headliner if you are really looking for one, but SuparNovar has worked with some of my friends from the reggae scene here in Brighton, Spliff Richard is pulling in the poetry/spoken word crowd. HGTM the rockers, The Syndicate have been played on Radio 1 and got their own Brighton following. Street Souls are adding the Latin element. Little Kind and Ilodica found each other through me, putting together spoken word and reggae. EyesisStar & Ideal are the Rebel Lions, they are performing conscious hiphop/reggae. AC is doing some hiphop, then going into DnB after. Bobbie Johnson I first saw performing at a gig with Gen a couple of years ago now and she just blew me away. She was called Stanca back then.
Do you have any YouTube links?
Yes, there is a tune posted for each of them at the event page. There’s also a mix of ten tracks from the artists performing on Mixcloud.
Who is the Kung Fu Chef and what’s on the menu?
Not sure! He is an old friend of mine and I trust him. One meat, one veggie option. Cooking is his life and he is an actor as well. I have unwittingly turned this into a performance for him.
How do you know/know of Genesis and Terra?
I found Genesis Elijah by accident looking through music on YouTube and hit him up on Facebook about 2 years ago. I’m a poet myself and he has inspired one or two of mine. I have a lot of love for him and what he is doing. Terra Slim I saw first performing at his W.O.G album release 7 months ago and have been to a few gigs since. He has also inspired one of my poems, Shoulder to Shoulder, which is quite popular. The event will have a strong lyrical theme to it cause that’s where I come from. I think Terra is just not your usual rapper, he is clearly an artist and that’s why he stands out to me. Terra is a fellow poet as far as I’m concerned.
Yeah, that’s why I love Terra. He doesn’t seem to even think about holding himself back. Are you reading some stuff yourself on the night?
Nope, I had been expecting a lot of attention, so I tried to keep it as low key as possible but the artists seem to have a different idea… I have been trying to keep myself out of the equation as much as possible. I’m actually quite shy and all this attention is new to me. I’m just trying to give hip-hop a little 40th present.