You know what? I
could get used to this am gettin’ used to this. The buzz. The excitement. The courage of launchin’ yourself headfirst into a field where the output is a true representation of your input. In short, there’s a real sense of achievement when you start soakin’ up the positive energy of the universe, block out the negativity, and live accordin’ to what destiny has in store for you. Feed off the vibrations. That being said, you gotta have a solid notion of goals and a realistic plan of how to achieve. Though you may have a scheduled outline of meetin’s/collaborations, when you’re out in the field networkin’, new opportunities will emerge. Do you say no, my schedule is too jammed, or do you make it work? You already know the answer to that. You make it work. That’s how this gig came about. Expect the unexpected, and be ready when it comes your way.
A couple weeks back, PLTFRM followed our Insta account, so I checked them out and followed them back. Unbeknownst to me at the time, since March, they’ve hosted a night at ARK every Thursday. I think it must have been the Tuesday I dropped them a message queryin’ if me n PP could pass through and cover the event. He’ll get the pictures, I’ll do the write up. As it was a mutually beneficial deal wherein we get content to plug for you guys, and they get more exposure, they said yeah, come down. Let’s meet. So we did. On arrival, I met with the head doorman, told him who I was, why I was there and asked for Tatijana, (the name I was given to provide at the door). He mentioned she wasn’t there yet so I could kick back n relax until she arrived. So I did. I took a seat at the front outside and organised my notepad etc whilst awaitin’ PP. He was sorting some equipment for the night. Must have been bout 5 minutes later, the head doorman came over with a red bull on the house and sat down. He must have read my mind. Tonight was absolute professionalism. There was no way I was havin’ a repeat of the 6Wave show. Side note: no iPhones were lost in the creation of this content.
Once seated, the doorman introduced himself again (Pherone). He’s actually the Geppetto behind the inception of PLTFRM. Sneaky. That’s why it’s always good to make a great first impression. You never know who you’re truly speakin’ to sometimes. At this point, PP arrived and he began to tell us a bit about himself and the thought process behind the night. Over the past few years, due to determination, discipline and a sheer desire to build a reputable persona, he’s risen to space he commands today. Havin’ a great relationship with management, he presented PLTFRM which was graciously green lit. He’s a man with incredible social intelligence. He saw the void where unsigned artists were positioned and provided a space for them to showcase their skillset. Not only this, but £1 from every entry fee at each event is invested back into charitable ventures. In the past they’ve donated to Father’s Against Violence, bought food for the homeless and even helped a family meet their rent. That’s some real humanitarian work right there.
Now, on to the show.
On deck, we had man like DJ Mello and There’sOnlyOneJosh going back2back warmin’ the venue whilst the place was fillin’ up. With it being a relatively sunny day, the show wasn’t gonna start at the scheduled 8pm. It was still bright outside. People ain’t tryna shell down whilst the man in the sky had the lights on. The shell down is a nocturnal activity. We only want owls watchin’. A
who woah! Now, I was already familiar with Mello’s style of play – timeless RNB/Hip-Hop vibes. Kind a riddim that’ll make set people send a reckless 3am text talm’bout “you up?” Obviously, I’ve never done anything of the sort. I’m tal’mbout other people here. In the famous words of my best mate at uni (still a great mate to this day), “I’ve never even kissed a girl me”. When TOOJ started spinnin’ me n PP turned to each other and started makin’ them “someone’s just dropped a dirty poop in here” faces whilst noddin our heads in unison. My guy was THROWIN DOWN RIDDIM!!! I’ll admit, I’m very stuck in my ways with certain things. Music being one. I listen to the same stuff constantly. So it’s refreshin’ when I hear new music (may be old to you), but new to me. Put it this way, there could be a new Breezy riddim out and I will only hear about it from someone else. Each time TOOJ spun a next one, I had Shazam out like what the fudge is this? I’ve got this ‘triple wave’ playlist on Spotify I add drill/trill/trap (I don’t know what the kids are callin’ it these days), music to. I basically got a new playlist from TOOJ’s set. Big man, keep doin’ what you’re doin’! You brought the WAVE! Actually. You know what? I’m gonna add a link at the bottom so you guys can see what I’m tal’mbout.
Let me tell you suttin’ bout these two. I’ve said it before, and it’s my blog space so I will repeat myself without fear of reprimand. I. Love. Rap. All styles. From trap, drill, spoken word, conscious. It doesn’t matter. Music is energy. There’s a song to connote every human emotion possible. These two can rap. The opening track ‘So Good’ was an instrumental re-fix of the Destiny’s Child song taken from their 1999 album ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’. When I heard the familiar opening guitar riff, I paused, squinted my eyes with intent and thought: “okaaaay. Let’s see where they take this”. Manny first, he held no r*htid prisoners. Bar after bar, the guy was going for the head shot. The pen was full. No more space. He took di riddim round back n executed that like a muhf*cker. When Frank stepped to, he was reminiscent of a young K Dot spazzin’ on ‘Rigamortus’. Between Manny’s head shot n Frank’s guillotine, poor riddim’ didn’t know what it got itself into. Rest in piece(s).
The whole set had a ‘Golden Era’ feel. What I loved most was the genuine chemistry between the two. A chemistry that Manny confirmed stems from the fact they’ve known each other for years. And you can tell. ‘Quid and a Dream’ (name homage to Cole’s ‘Dollar and A Dream’) was over a ‘Dead President’ esque beat which suited the subject matter. Laid back, story tellin’ at it’s finest. “Where would I be without me and my team” they ponder as they wade through the reveries of experience. ‘Fly Away’ is my kinda hip hop. Any instrumental that correctly samples a female vocal to give it that extra ummphh… come on, you’ve got me without even spittin’ bars. This one gave me a Thundercat vibe as they let the riddim breathe betwixt their multi-syllabic rhyme schemes. By ‘Venom’, there was a shift in pace. Trap style beat, Manny come through with heat! Frank (who was another wave) jumped in with the crowd n controlled like a boss. He was LIT! They ended with ‘Ether’ where they both sat on the floor (before Frank got up again!) deliverin’ earnest bars in a bid to share their inner most. Frank spat: “I was born broke and you can never break me”. I hear ya bro. They can’t keep a good man down. Spectacular opener.
I’ve known bout Angz before my 9 year hiatus from the greatest city on earth. Well, after Kingston that is. I was an extra in a music vid of his way back when. Jumpin’ right in, his whole set had shades of ‘Mr Grey let me serenade ya out ya pannies’ vibe. Watch these man around ya gyal ya know! The title of his openin’ track – ‘Know How I Stay’ (which is actually a Carty track in which he lends guest vocals) tells ya allll ya need to know. Evoking shades of the notorious ‘Bookshelf’ riddim, he was dashin’ round jerk seasonin’ from the off. Mi tell ya already, yuh fi already know how him stay! 2nd track: ‘We Don’t Play’ was that wavy, it got pulled right back to the start of ‘KHIS’. So we started again. No crowd complaint. I reckon that was planned still. There were couple ladies in the back who didn’t get enough seasonin’ on the first round. They got a double coat a spice. Ready fi put inna di oven now.
The set was flowed nicely into the third track ‘Mon£Y Talks’ (featuring OFFKEE). By the following track I found myself squintin’ my eyes with somewhat more intent thinkin’: “Where’s he goin’ wid dis?” I heard the re-fix, then he came wid: “I would like to get to know if I could be…” Yeaaahhh bro. All a rahtid dat. ‘Hold It Down’ re-fixed from Brandy’s 1994 debut single ‘I Wanna Be Down’ went down well with the ladies. And I’m a keep it real, I heard some deep bass singin’ along too. You can’t deny good music. I saw couple G’s on the side pretendin’ they weren’t singin’. Sing it wid ya rahtid chest I say. From graduate to gangsta, you think good music watches face. Sing it wid ya rahtid chest! Endin’ wid ‘Grind the Green’, hands together for this one. Thoroughly enjoyed this set.
3rd act: C-Two
I’m a keep it one hunnid. When CT stepped on stage and I heard the scouse accent, I thought to myself, “Who let Stevie G in the gaffe?” I’m a red devil till da casket n beyond. But let me tell ya suttin bout this guy. I appreciated him makin’ the trip cross to Manchester. I appreciated how he held his own ‘behind enemy lines’. Most importantly, I appreciated his music. By the end of the opening track ‘Like Dat’, I made an assertion. We had somethin’ in common. This guy loves brown sugar haha! Who doesn’t? As long as you keep ya mits off our ‘Manc Maidens’ we got no pro’llum. I jest. When I heard “I luv it when ya bruck it like dat”, I thought, “me too bro – me too”. On the second track, ‘Aaliyah’ when he said to the crowd: “Who in here knows Aaliyah”, I thought to myself: “Tread carefully young man”. I’ve been a widower since my wife was unjustly taken from me 17 years ago. But that’s me being an overprotective husband. The track was niiice.
You know what I liked about his set? He showcased his diversity. He can rap. He can sweet talk the ladies. He can put a little island flavour in his delivery. But he can also bar on grime as good as any other. That’s the key ingredient which I think will take him far. He’s just havin’ fun creatin’ music and that shows. He was energetic. The crowd reacted to him positively and he channelled that energy right back. I’m glad I was introduced to his music because it was well received. His final track ‘Desire’ has been playlisted on BBC 1XTRA. Need I say more? Thanks for blessin’ us ‘Stevie’. I look forward to another performance in the future. Just don’t tell anyone I wrote positive words about a scouser! Ha!
4th act: P£SO EQUIPE
What stood out for me with the P£SO set was the seamless connection between the production, subject matter, sauce and lyrics. Whole lotta drip. Dirty basslines, disgustin’ drops, deviant bars. The whole set was an ode to gettin’ it in. Not a rahtid ting wrong wid dat! I told you already, I love music of all variety. It’s all circumstantial. By this point of the night, the vibe was peakin’. Fun fact. I was on red bull all night. I thought I’ll be a good professional boy and behave. And I’m glad I did. The wave throughout the set was memorable. Openin’ wid ‘Facelift’, track after track just got ya on a str8 ignant hype. To refix Uncle Elroy, “the set was so good, make you wanna slap yo’ momma”. Of course, you wouldn’t really do that. Go box up your pillow instead.
‘Talkin Too Much’ is a perfect example of that ignant slap yo momma ish. “Money n hoes / Might pull up in the whip might do it ten toes / Still gettin’ that in still splashin wid da bros / How are they hatin but when but I see em they froze / They a bunch of jokes”. It’s a jovial track. It’s bouncy. It’s fun. It’s a track you bump when you’re on a whippin’ excursion (Word to Giggs). I can’t believe I haven’t heard of these guys before. Similar to Manny n Frank, the chemistry between them is their unique sellin’ point. Again, it’s genuine. They shared the energy equally which allowed them to provide a noteworthy performance. I’ll be sure to check out their new drip.
5th act: Kay Rico
I’ve been listenin’ to da kid for a minute from a far. He exudes grime. Skippy wid da damn flow! Would he have been about in my era, truss mi when I say he would have patterned multiple wheel ups! DJ’s woulda banned him from showin’ face coz they wouldn’t have been able to spin a full riddim/make the mix. He’s a serious problem. Whether planned or due to timin’, he only performed one track: ‘Livin’ My Life’, but that was enough to put his stamp on the night. Spazzin’ on riddim like a jackhammer on one hunned, bar after bar, flow after flow, he was on a different level! Seein’ as I don’t get the chance to attend many shows (that’s all gonna change soon enough), I felt privileged to see him do this thing live. On the night, he mentioned his hiatus has been due to behind the scenes work that will be ready for release in due time. If that’s the truth, hurry up coz the streets are gonna need that new Kay Rico drip. No doubt.
Final Act: Jesse Francis
This kid right here. This kid right heeree. One look at him, you already see the stars aligning. He’s confident. He’s talented. He conducted his set like a man born for this. No hesitation. No sense of doubt. No notion of what if? As I’ve mentioned in the 6WAVE review, you have big shoes to fill being the last act on the bill. Especially when the aforementioned acts were all brilliantly entertaining in their own unique drip. Lil homie came thru on stage like… “nah, we ain’t done yet. Wait till you see what I can do!” And he brought it like > !!!
Beginnin’ the set with ‘On My Mind’ he set pace from early. Melodic instrumental, he flexed on the riddim wid dat sauce drip rap that stems from the absolute knowledge that you’re ‘DA GUY’. There’s a fine line between total confidence and unchecked bravado. He falls on the former. He knows he’s good. He’s braggadocios in his cadence, his lyrics and his on stage presence. Foot on speaker, crowd engagement, channelin’ sheer belief through the mic. Reminds me of that yout that won Urban Superstars back in ’06. I can’t quite recall his name…
No here’s where lil homie really showed out. Once the applause subsided for what I thought was the last track: ‘Think It’s Funny’, this guy decides to whip out the artillery. No No. Not the turner. As the sound man set up the mic stand in the middle of the stage, Jesse walked left, opened the case and whipped out… a viola. As you can see in the attributed image, I ain’t jokin’. He whipped out the viola and started ‘Call Last Night’. That Urban Superstars yout was a don dadda barsman, but he weren’t violin bad. Jesse’s got him there. Let me tell ya, bar his team that made the journey north from London, EVERYBODY looked round the room like: “this hitta jus gon whip out the chords like it’s nothin?” The attention was undivided. And deservedly so. What an incredible way to end a superb set. You’re amazin’ bro. Keep on pushin’ For you guys, visuals for his track ‘Venice‘ drops tomorrow. Hit up his Insta n check that out!
To conclude, I sincerely enjoyed the night. Every act did the damn thing! The night was a success and it served its purpose. Bar two acts, I had never heard or seen those who performed. And I wasn’t disappointed. We need more of these. We have a lot of talented individuals who don’t have a platform to perform. But, they gotta come with positive energy. For anyone serious about buildin’ their craft, credentials and artistry, hit up the PLTFRM team and let them know. If the energy is positive, they wanna hear from you.
To the PLTFRM team, thanks for invitin’ myself n PP. We had an amazin’ time. You know where to find us for the next instalment.
All images by lixmphotography