The crème de la crème of UK talent gathered in Nottingham on Monday for the fifth annual Takeover. The UK Takeover has quickly generated a reputation for being the Mecca of UK hip hop, and will probably be the biggest show in any artist’s calendar, and rightly so.
Drawing in talent from all corners of the country, Wiley, Sway, Lethal B, L.Man, Taskforce, Shameless, Young Kof, Baby J and others repped the UK hard and reaffirmed what we have all known for ages now and that is -UK Hip Hop is taking over!
I met people who had travelled in from Liverpool, London, Derby and Manchester all eager to see their favourite artists perform. Hosted by 1xtra’s MistaJam– who smoothly and humorously kept it moving in between the acts, it was great to see egos being left at the door and artists getting up on stage and giving one hundred and ten percent- even if some of the sets were ridiculously short. Nevermind, I guess you can’t have everything. So who represented hardest for the UK?
One of the star attractions of the night was the chance to catch the original Eski Boy veteran Wiley riding those grimey ridims he has become synonymous with. Unfortunately his set was short but in this case sweet, as hearing tracks like ‘Bow E3’ and ‘My Mistakes’ as well as the classic ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ live, was well worth waiting around for.
North London rapper Sway was definitely a favourite with the crowd. Arriving on stage to ‘God Save The Queen’ and wearing his trademark United Kingdom bandana, Sway held the crowd down with tracks like ‘This Is My Demo’ and ‘Little Derek’ and you just had to sing along to that, now who don’t know the words to ‘Little Derek’! ‘Up your Speed’ could have well been the anthem for the night and was a must to perform to the Nottingham crowd. He also performed ‘Move Back’ a new track taken off his current EP ‘One For The Journey’.
As always the enigmatic Lethal B brought the energy and the hype with classics such as ‘Pow’, ‘Mr’ and his latest stomper ‘Bizzle Bizzle’ and it was good to see Ozzie B of Fire Camp up there too. A party just wouldn’t be a party without a bit of the Bizzle Man! L.Man, picking up his award for ‘artist with the most buzz’, nah I’m kidding but L.Man’s star is definitely shooting up into the stratosphere. Introduced and accompanied on stage by the one and only Skinnyman, L.Man tore up the crowd with the ‘Rep Your Endz Remix’ and showed us exactly why that hype is deserved.
One of the highlights of the night was London based rapper Shameless and his hilariously titled band The PaddyRagga Band, he told us, “the band are people I have grown up with and we just wanted to do something different with the live band thing, bring something else to it”. If there was an award going for the ‘most original performance’ it would most certainly go to these guys. Performing tracks off his current album ‘Smokers Die Younger’, Shameless and Co successfully fused together classic elements of Hip Hop, Rock, Bashment and Jungle, in a word- they smashed it! Tracks like ‘Live Fast’ and ‘No Hats, No Trainers’- sounded even better live, “most of the set list was planned, we done tracks we haven’t done for a while like ‘Live Fast’ and added a bit of a Ragga twist for the crowd”, and here’s something you may not know- Shameless is a surprisingly good singer, “yeah, I’ve got an RnB alias Justin TimberShame- I’m a sweet boy out here (laughs). Nah, I’m a musician first and foremost.” So who was Shameless looking forward to see perform? ‘You know what I’m an East Londoner and I ain’t gonna lie, I’m most looking forward to see Wiley- he’s Bow E3 but I’m Bow E15’! Shameless and the PaddyRagga Band are currently on tour so make sure you catch them if you can.
Despite the absence of Klashnekoff, all in all the night was a huge success. Special mentions to 1Xtra, The Elementz, Young Kof, Karizma and Taskforce who are flying the flag for up North in a big way! If you didn’t make UK Takeover Five- let this be a lesson to you for next year!
All pictures credited to 1Xtra.
By: Michelle Adabra