Jump Off’ – Fabric – 6th February
By Aaron Roach Bridgeman
A few of us from UK Chocolate Magazine ventured down to the Launch of ‘Jump Off’ on the 9th January. We were so impressed, we vowed to go again and make it a regular occurrence. We unfortunately missed the 2nd event, but made it down to Fabric for the 3rd instalment on the 6th February to join Ara The Coach and his team of beautiful ladies and the troublesome trio of Rap6, Charlie Sloth and Manny Norté, who are quickly establishing themselves as a hugely hilarious hosting team.
The show this week was not as packed as the launch week and the VIP section had now been removed. All of these aspects led to the event being much better in regards to how well people could see and access the show, as at times on the launch night; due to the massive amount of people grouping at the front of the stages and balcony – the eyesight of the stage was sometimes limited.
The show started with an array of rappers who all volunteered to display their skills on a stage that can be pretty hostile if you don’t bring it and bring it well. As per usual one or two of these spitters ‘died’ on stage, whilst others got mediocre to good responses from the audience. Many may question why someone would put themselves through it, but if you look at Jump Off’s History- some that have braved their stage have gone on to major success- UK rapper Sway performed on a ‘Jump Off’ and worked with ‘Jump off’ in the earlier stages of his career. Pro Green who between 2003-2007 had major Jump Off success through battling on stage. He Won the MC Battle Champion title twice and was champion for 7 weeks. He even won a trip to Power Summit in Bahamas losing to former Ruff Ryders Rapper Jin in the finals and a £50k MySpace battle vs Stig. He is now Signed to Virgin and has had 2 top 5 singles and his debut album ‘Alive Til I’m Dead‘ went in at #2. The importance of ‘Jump Off’ quickly becomes apparent when you look at the event historically.
We then had the Producer Battle which is where two Producers get 5 minutes to create a beat live on stage with the samples given, which this week were Bob Marley samples as the day happened to be the birthday of the Reggae legend. There was the current Champion Jay Weathers Versus Competitor Jay Inks. Jay Inks managed to defeat the champion with a very well produced beat that had me closing my eyes vibsing and bouncing my body in a rather crazy manner. This win was dubious but well deserved as extra time had to be given as Jay Weathers didn’t incorporate the samples into his beat. History here speaks again when we think about why would a Producer risk all reputation to battle. If we look at Mr Hudson for instance who in 2005 was the Last ever standing Champion at The Jump Off Producer Battle. He is now Signed to Kanye West. Then we have UK Favourite Labrinth Who between 2004-2005 at the tender Age of 14, entered the Producer battle at Jump Off. He is now signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco label, as well as singing and producing his debut single ‘Let the Sun Shine’ which charted at Number 3, he also produced the Number 1 hit ‘Pass Out’ and Number 2 single ‘Frisky’ for Tinie Tempah. Another Jump Off competitor as a Producer was Skepta, a name that needs no introduction in the UK music scene. It is also quite interesting to observe that many of the names that dared to brave the stage have now also become artists in their own right too.
Next we had the Dance Crew Battle and the current champions Prototype wiped the floor with competitors Abyss who were Britain’s Got Talent semi Finalists. It was a challenge of experience and Abyss lacked the experience but cannot be faulted in their effort on a stage that historically gave a place to Diversity who between 2004-2005 Battled 4 times at ‘Jump Off’. They are now the 2009 Winners of Britain’s Got Talent and have performed at Royal Variety Performance and Sold out a UK tour. The stage has also given a place to a friend of myself and UK Chocolate Marlon aka Swoosh, whom is part of the hugely successful dance Group Flawless, who are now about to release a 2nd movie StreetDance 3D 2.
We then had upcoming comedian and writer and star of ‘ManDem On The Wall’ – an online comedy web series starting to get a massive online following- D Kartier. I’ve seen this young man perform before and he was very good. He did well on the day with an icy crowd who at times almost had to be forced to laugh. However, The laughs still came and you can understand why he was there, when we look again at the illustrious ‘Jump Off’ history where comedians like Eddie Kadi who performed at ‘Jump Off’ in 2007. Eddie called his set at Jump Off the ‘turning point’, in his career. He now appears regularly on TV, as well as putting on his own show in front of over 6,000 people at the O2 Arena.
The main event came upon us as the Rap Battle started. At times there were some terrible moments, at others emphatic moments of entertainment, but in the end it came down to Inuendo from Liverpool, a self professed Everton fan, whom shut down Charlie Sloth’s attempt at singing the Liverpool FC theme song in the most charismatic and hilarious way. He battled his way to the final with some very quick-witted and intelligent punch lines, although at times he admitted himself during rhyming, that some were pretty terrible. He got to the final to battle current champion- the very camp ‘Pamflit’. Pamflit however lost composure and then lost his crown as Inuendo went on to win the battle and even offered an extra round for fun, however the 2 men who appeared slightly drunk in all honesty, ended up half battling and ironically jumping off stage. Very entertaining, but at times lyrical prowess needed improvement.
What would ‘Jump Off’ be without the traditionally Notorious ‘Booty Shake Off’. 3 girls took to stage to shake it off to become this week’s best booty. There was a lot of speculation about this part being taken away after some complaints and some negativity surrounding it, however thankfully for the guys and indeed some of the excitable ladies in the venue, the ‘Shake Off’ went ahead and proved not as entertaining as previous attempts, but still none the less an entertaining and mandatory element to the show, as well as a nice way to end it, before everyone started the After Party to the sounds of DJ Manny Norte on the decks.
As I study ‘Jump Off’ from a personal level, as a multi faceted Media person and Presenter. It is admirable to see how many different areas that ‘Jump Off’ have assisted people in their careers. Rickie Haywood-Williams who in 2003 tried his hand at presenting for the first time on stage at The ‘Jump Off’, has since gone on to present the Kiss Breakfast show, MTV News and BBC documentaries.
In this, I wish to pay homage to ‘Jump Off’ for being such a pivotal part of UK culture and to the current team, some of whom I know personally and know how hard and how much work they’ve put in to, to bring this back. Thank You!! If you haven’t been down to ‘Jump off’ yet? Get down to the next one on the 20th February. ‘Jump Off’ is an essential part of UK culture currently, as much as it has been an essential part of history too.