Mos Def Live: The Review!
Mos Def arrived in the UK earlier this month to perform at a sell-out concert at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, alongside his companion, Talib Kweli. Ever the humanitarian, Mos did have time in his extensive touring schedule to perform an intimate set at XOYO in Shoreditch for a great cause...
The cause being the launch of Ben Sherman’s V.I.P (Very Important Plectrums), an online auction of plectrums signed and donated by various artists including The Streets, Duran Duran and much more. With Sailor Jerry on hand to supply drinks, the setup was perfect for a memorable evening.
The night was hosted by Fun Lovin' Criminals frontman, strong>Huey Morgan, with Tim Burgess spinning classic and contemporary hip-hop cuts for the night. With the drinks flowing and the venue getting really, really packed - there was an eager but relaxed mood inside. The main opening act was a five-piece band from Bath named, Kill It Kid, who were seemingly on top form with their lead male vocalist, Chris Turpin, belting out an amazing rendition of ‘Pray On Me’.
As the night began to pick up pace, word around the crowd was that members of De La Soul and Talib Kweli were inside, something never really confirmed away from chinese whispers but definitely captured the atmosphere that something unique and special was going down. The DJ managed to hold the crowd at bay for as long as possible, mixing up a very eclectic selection with the odd surprise to keep everyone on their toes.
With every 10 minutes that Mos Def failed to surface and the crowd became more and more restless, the “Mos Def, Mos Def…” chants rang out. Suddenly, without real introduction, ‘Black Dante’ himself leapt to the stage and began tearing through his five-album discography. The crowd were fully engaged in rapping or singing along to every word and would at times, allay and sit back to watch a true hip-hop showman in his element, with renditions of ‘Umi Says’ and ‘Six Days’, in particular. Making up for his late arrival, Mos was intent on putting on a show and was prepared to go on for as long as the crowd would let him.
The encore piece was the sonically epic Ski-Beatz produced ‘Cream Of The Planet’, in which Mos declares: “It was all a dream and now it’s a surrounding view,” which brought the realisation of the rarity in which it is to witness a true master of his art, in his late thirties and almost twenty years in the game, enjoying himself as if it was his first show. As the crowds poured, the smiles and looks of contentment could easily be seen, in part thanks to the copious amounts of rum served all night (thank you, Sailor Jerry).
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Words: Tobi Oke (@TeflonTobz)