We’ve been away for a few months but now we’re back with a bang. Thank you to the loyal readers who have returned to read this and welcome to the new guests in this house of all things hip hop. We hope to keep the website updated more regularly with new music, news and reviews flying your way regularly so please ensure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We’re not on SnapChat only because no-one cares about seeing us in a crown made of flowers or with ‘cute’ dog ears. Sorry, not sorry.
On the note of returning with a bang, a month ago we went to Boom Bap Festival in Suffolk; the photos of our experience are here. We returned to the UK’s biggest hip hop and grime festival for the second time (read last year’s review here). There’s probably an annual festival for almost every significant genre of music in the UK. Before Boom Bap Festival came along 5 years ago I can’t say that applied to underground rap music. There’s large festivals elsewhere like Hip Hop Kemp in the Czech Republic but there was nothing to quench our thirst that was also accompanied by a weekend in a field until Boom Bap Festival came into being. It garnered the spirit of the UK Takeover nights in Nottingham as well as the Kung Fu nights in London as the main ingredients and sprinkled a bit of grime for seasoning and brought it together for musical feast. We truly had a great time last year and with headliners such as Earl Sweatshirt, Ratking, Foreign Beggars, Homeboy Sandman, Jeru The Damaja and Skepta it was clear that Boom Bap were not resting on their laurels. 2016 pushed the envelope even further to bring some truly legendary acts to the festival including the likes of R.A. The Rugged Man, Pharoahe Monch, Blade (of Mark B & Blade), a reunited Task Force, D Double E as well as almost every other name in UK rap worth mentioning. There were and still are rumours doing the rounds that this year might have been the last Boom Bap Festival ever and if it is what a way to go out. There was an incredible finale to the festival as well but more of that later.
Boom Bap‘s size makes it the perfect size to have a great atmosphere but also retain that community feel that is lacking in some larger festivals that have become a corporate machine. Boom Bap Festival 2016 even featured a tattoo studio, a record stall run by DJ Disorda‘s Suspect Packages, a clothing store by Black The Ripper‘s Dank of England and a smoothie stall run by Edward Scissortongue (nutrition at festivals is the key). Apart from a selection of shopping opportunities Boom Bap does also manage to put on some great music.
Day one’s highlights for us were wordsmiths the Split Prophets, Dirty Dike and the undeniable rap royalty pair of Task Force. During Chester P and Farma G‘s another north London legend, Skinnyman, joined the Highbury brothers on stage. If you were completely immersed in the Music From The Corner and Council Estate Of Mind era of uk rap music you will know how much of a dream come true this was. That night was their come back show because for a long time Task Force performed as Chester P and Remus (Farma’s son and an incredible rapper in his own right).
Our second day in Suffolk was bathed in beautiful sunshine and we headed to the Sika Stage for Micall Parksun and Durrty Goodz. It was amazing to finally see Durrty Goodz in the flesh because I’ve heard a lot of him on the web, radio and the web but never had the pleasure of seeing him live. The pair hit the stage together because Parknsun produced Goodz’ Not Been Televised EP, which you should definitely check out by the way. This is also the day we randomly came across the video shoot for D Double E’s Dem Tings Dere and one of us even managed to get in the video for all of half a second. Towards the late afternoon we headed back to Sika to catch some of the Delegates of Culture for probably the last time ever. Although the stage isn’t huge, it’s a skating half pipe, the boys absolutely owned and even Dirty Dike came to show support in the front row. The headline for the evening was R.A. The Rugged Man at the main stage and it would be a huge understatement to say that I was excited to see him live. To paraphrase the man himself… he is mad famous for being unknown. Rugged Man is undoubtedly a bit of loose canon and has been known as one for many a year from when he was better known as Crustified Dibbs and got blackballed by Jive Records and the rest of the major label industry. If you would like to get an insight into what Rugged Man thinks of the records labels then Every Record Label Sucks Dick is a pretty good insight. The man did not disappoint on stage. Alongside hisprotégé All Flows Reach Out (A.F.R.O. for short), absolutely owned the crowd and almost literally destroyed the stage by inviting the crowd on to the stage with him. When they cut of his microphone the New York native decided he wanted to rock with the crown so decided to spit his bars within the crowd itself. Certainly one to tick off the bucket list. Ending the night on the main stage is the living legend of grime that is D Double E. For a man that we wouldn’t refer to as having a large stature, D Double can certainly fill a stage with his voice. Dropping classics as well as some newer material such as the very left field Dem Tings Dere. Weird house/grime deviation aside, D Double delivered to the same standard as Skepta the year before. Solid.
Not sure if we actually had any sleep before day three but nonetheless we managed to remain functional enough to see Eva Lazarus, Micall Parknsun and No Lay in the sunshine. I’ve got to say what we saw on stage from Eva and No Lay has got us really excited for what’s in the near future from them. Great music, great delivery and great stage presence. The evening was a special night for those that grew up on the production wizardry of the late Mark B. His partner in crime is the very talented Blade and his performance was dedicated to the Mark. If you’re not well versed in the work of the duo then do your homework and listen to The Unknown from beginning to end… You will not be disappointed. Following Blade was the lyrical genius of Pharoahe Monch. The man’s discography has got some serious depth and although we all love to go crazy to Simon Says, which we did do, he does also have a lot of socially conscious and very clever material. We’ve seen Pharoahe multiple times at various festivals and he continues to impress. Continuing Boom Bap‘s trend of having a great set times schedule the Four Owls followed. The quartet of Fliptrix, Verb T, Leaf Dog and BVA hit the main stage. Whereas my generation of UK rap fans grew up on Y’n’R Records and Low Life Records, at the core of this crowd are the generation of UK rap fans that grew with the High Focus phenomenon.
Following the Owls came the Boom Bap finale and my goodness what a finale it was. It was clear the organisers had spent a lot of time and thought on how they wanted to end the festival possibly for the last time. Pretty much every British rapper that I grew up listening to ended up on that stage this evening; it would be easier to list who didn’t feature that evening. Through that last set, although it flew past, I relived my teenage years through the music and the overall vibe of the night. I really do hope that Boom Bap Festival does come back with a bang but doesn’t seem it’ll be around for 2017 at least. The team behind the festival have got some more stuff in the works (see Trajections)so hopefully we’ll see more of their spot on curation in the future. In the meantime you can relive it if you were there via the Facebook photo album and if you weren’t you can beat yourself up for missing out. Boom Bap Festival 2016 was a truly unforgettable experience and we extend our gratitude to the organisers. Please bring it back.