With performances by Kano, Speech Debelle, Children Of The Night and more.
Over nine nights the Represent stage has hosted many of the world’s best-loved bands. They came in all shapes and sizes, from Plan B’s full backing band to The Bots’ two man show but on the closing night Nas proved that sometimes all you need is one man and a mic to captivate a crowd.
The night went across the full spectrum of hip-hop, starting with the old school referencing Children Of The Night who matched up on point rhymes with infectious on-stage energy and started the show with a bang. Moving things across the pond Speech Debelle started her set with a lively rendition of ‘Studio Backpack Rap’ from 2012’s ‘Freedom of Speech’. With her signature delivery and tight live band it was easy to see why she won the Mercury prize a few years back.
Representing another side of the UK sound grime MC Kano bounced on stage to an uptempo rendition of 2005’s ‘Reload It’. The urban music landscape has changed massively since then but Kano amply proved he is still one of the best MCs the UK has to offer. The crowd agreed, with a surprising number of people knowing all the words to what seemed like the whole set. He pulled in long-time sparring partner Ghetto for the last couple of tracks who responded to the rising temperature by ripping his shirt off and dropping some of his trademark quick fire delivery.
You could feel the wave of excitement surge across the room as Nas took to the stage, backed up by DJ Green Lantern blasting out the opening notes of ‘The Don’ from this year’s ‘Life is Good’. He didn’t make the fans wait long before heading in to classic territory though with ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’, ‘N.Y State Of Mind’ and, of course, ‘Represent’ all making an appearance. Up on stage he looked in his element playing in this intimate setting, even noting on the mic that, “Careers start at clubs like this”. The whirlwind tour round his extensive catalogue finished with the poignant ‘Bye Baby’, written about his high profile divorce with Kelis. Another emotional moment in nine nights that have been packed full of them.