Live Review: Joey Bada$$ x Pro Era @ XOYO

Hip Hop is alive and well, as evidenced at XOYO last night, where New York hailing Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era strong entourage well and truly proved any disbelievers to be, without a doubt, wrong.

Having been steadily garnering a following since his emergence onto the scene some few months ago, Bada$$ touched down in London town where he showcased the lyrical ability and depth he has become so well known, and loved for.

“A lot of UK artists think it’s all about being nonchalant with it. No. We want to see you performing like it’s the last show of your life.” tweeted co-founder of music blog SME following Joey’s bada$$ performance (sorry, I couldn’t help it.) “Fun is cool,” he continued.

And if ever there was any doubting the matter, watch a Joey Bada$$ performance.

Repeatedly diving into the packed out crowd that read like a who’s who of the music industry and a ‘Where’s Joey?’ type Wally book, the desperation and need for someone to reaffirm the original principles of hip hop were acutely felt with the urgent, almost angry – were it not for the broad smiles on the protagonists faces – way in which bar for bar was spat through overexcited lips.

Performing a catalogue of previously released songs (Survival Tactics was energetically played out twice), the trio then erupted into an impromptu freestyle, seemingly as a thank you to the audience who were witness to their “best show ever.”

And if ever there was any doubt of the extent of their charisma, the loving crowd swelled and broke like waves against the stage, all too happy to obligingly sing “happy birthday” to Pro Era’s Kirk Knight.

Gallivanting their way around the stage, charming the crowd and pulling up girls left, right and centre to wipe their sweating brows and lovingly pour water down their parched throats, like true veterans, it will most probably come as a surprise to learn that Bada$$ and crew are not even legal in the UK, let alone the US.

A trawl of the internet failed to deliver me the quote I was looking for but it goes something like: “Don’t praise the youth for being young, it’s the only thing they have no control over and will inevitably lose.”

But for Joey Bada$$, the praise comes fast and thick. Regardless of age, gender, colour, nationality or planet he hails from.

In a world of the try hard, overdone and redundant, Joey Bada$$ and his too big (and too on show) boxer shorts are effortlessly cool.


Joss Stone performs at Londons Under The Bridge | Live Review


By track two of her sold out, intimate show, powerfully soulful singer Joss Stone inspired a school boy crush on every single member of the audience at London venue Under The Bridge on June 6. Having sold 11 million albums by the age of 24, the Devon-raised songstress seems to be secure in the knowledge that she’s got us whipped; with bare feet, untamed hair and a show which may have been deemed unprofessional, had it not been so damn enchanting.

“I’ve had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction,” laughed Joss within minutes of the show starting. “I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to sing this song holding my boob.”

Read the review in full over at SoulCulture

J. Cole at 02 Sheperds Bush | Gig Review

Globetrotter, Cole hotter – even way out in London town.

As referenced in his recent single “Can’t Get Enough”, J. Cole is no stranger to London, having this past year performed as Drake and Tinie Tempah​’s support acts in the capital. Currently on his first headline tour, Jermaine Lamarr Cole returns to London for four sold out shows (SoulCulture caught him on the second). And with Jay Z as a mentor, a lot is expected from the first Roc Nation​ signee. So much in fact that a fully packed Shepherd’s Bush Empire was waiting in throngs for J. Cole and his arrival onto the stage. The relatively small venue with its many overhanging balconies was fully brimming with overly excited individuals, all ready and willing to show the North Carolina hailing rapper just how welcome he is on this side of the water.

Click here to read the rest of the review as written for SoulCulture.

Frank Ocean at XOYO London | Gig Review

Despite being album-less and never having left the United States of America, this time last week excitement was running high for Frank Ocean’s first solo tour and European show. Selling out tickets in less than half an hour, many had to make the heart wrenching decision of choosing between Mr. Ocean and J. Cole (who was also performing in London on the same night.) Added to this the fact that Frank cancelled two shows in the days before his London gig due to illness, the relief and excitement was palpable on the faces of the few hundred individuals [including fellow artists Mr. Hudson, Emeli Sande and Etta Bond] who were present at XOYO on Friday, November 11.

Click here to read the rest of the review as written for SoulCulture.