by Aaron Roach Bridgeman
After a long tedious and frustrating battle with the 02 Security about the footwear I had on – The UK Chocolate team finally entered Proud 2 in the 02 In Greenwich.
Upon entrance, I was greeted by a topless Harvey on stage- very much to UK Chocolate’s female PR’s delight – but not so much my taste. Harvey was on stage with Mista Brown performing their new single that features Gyptian – ‘Hot Gyal’. Needless to say – The female members of the audience loved it. I, however still have my reservations with the track. I respect Harvey however for being part of So Solid - a collective that really paved the way for the artists we have now, emerging from our underground scene. Harvey at the end took an opportunity to thank those who supported and helped them to do that. It was a very respectable moment and gesture.
New Named Starboy Nathan then took to stage. He did a cover of a few old but popular tracks such as DJ Luck and Mc Neat’s ‘I’m Sorry’. Nathan possessed great stage presence and had the crowd screaming with his equally as impressive dancing and vocals.
Ms Dynamite was next and only one word can suffice for what the woman widely regarded as the best M.C/Rapper to come out of the UK. This word is WOW!! Ms Dynamite absolutely tore the house down with her old hits where she then chronologically made her way to her new ones. Her performance was immense as she called for her own tracks to be pulled back and dominated the stage in a manner reminiscent of old school Dub and Bashment artists. Simply Amazing set by Ms. Dynamite.
The next performer was a surprise guest as Max and Kojo of Choice FM brought out Wretch 32 - an artist who I have been following for many years and who I have to express pride for in terms of what he has done in becoming a number 1 artist in the UK charts from being an underground Grime M.C it’s remarkable to see what is happening with the UK music scene at the moment.
Wretch came out and had the crowd singing like it was Glastonbury, to the slightly Indie sounding vocal of Josh Kumra on the chorus of ‘Don’t Go’- the single that took Wretch 32 to number 1. He then did ‘Traktor’- another of mine and the crowd’s favourite. After this performance, Wretch started talking, at which point I could slyly hear what sounded like Chipmunk’s distinctive voice doing a Mic check. Many did not notice, but when I heard Wretch go on to say he wanted to do a freestyle – I knew it was going to be the ‘Otis’ remake that he and Chipmunk did of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Single from their new joint album. I had seen the video only days earlier and was astounded. Chipmunk came out with his usual boastful swagger and obliterated the track in a back-to-back style with Wretch. UK WE ARE FINALLY HERE!
In the last year or two we have managed to release and create platforms for so many artists from the UK; Choice FM were able to put an all UK artist line up on stage for a Carnival After Party, an event that usually has and even needs US artist presence. There was none on the night!
Taking to the stage that night was also Cover Drive, Loick Essien, Bluey Robinson, Talay Riley, RD and Rizzle Kicks who all gave very good performances. A very proud night in ‘Proud 2’ for UK music and Choice Fm.
Now came the raving element of the party as Choice FM DJ’s – Firin’ Squad, Woody, E-Plus and 279 took to the stage to create a raving vibe after a thoroughly entertaining show. I was not so much impressed with the rave element to the show, but after witnessing the type of performances that night, it was impossible to be dissatisfied.