May 23, 2024

Jay Electronica, KOKO, London

Saturday 14th March 2015

Holy shit did it pop off! Doors were at 9, but the show opened at 9.45 with a British rapper called Dels who did his thing for about 30 painstaking minutes. Not that he was bad, but we were excited to see the man himself.

He finally came on at about 10.30, and by came on, I mean he leapt up out of nowhere screaming for the crowd to bounce whilst asking us to call and respond to “true hip hop/real hip hop” (a recurring theme of the night amongst others). We went from being completely bored to absolutely hyped in less than 5 minutes. He started crowd surfing through the front before asking us to put him back on stage. He finally gained enough composure to tell us who he was, where he was from, and that the name of this show was called “Fuck the Daily Mail” – the crowd went insane before he even finished the sentence.

He rode that hype into “Get Em” to a fever pitch crowd, before asking us to make as much motherfucking noise as we could for J Dilla with our index fingers in the air. Half way through a seemingly normal performance of “Dimethyltriptamine” he starts going a capella, before cutting the track off completely to tell his family (i.e. us) that we’re a part of this and he wants us to be closer to him by joining him on stage. Everyone was pushing like crazy to get on, and even people in the middle of the crowd managed to get on. He helped as many people as he could get on stage and even fought back security at some points to do so.

Once he was happy with the amount of people on stage, he went into “In Tune with the Infinite”, ” Exhibit A”, “Nas salute” and some new Act II verses, including a capella verses of him fucking up morally by snorting cocaine and about his grandmother passing away – he made sure every syllable was audible for us so we knew that he was opening up about his shortcomings and making sure we paid attention. Half way through his performance of “Exhibit C” he said he wanted to be closer to us and climbs down into the crowd, whilst still continuing his verses. He’s pushing through to get to the back of the crowd whilst still spittin, shaking hands, hugging people and dealing with random people rubbing his head (I’ll own up to that).

He got all the way to the back and then things got really quiet and confused, we thought the show was over. Was it fuck. He waded all the way through the crowd again, before getting back on stage and going into Act I a capella. He finished off the show with a request (“Dear Moleskine”) and “Road to Perdition”. When I say the place kicked off at the bass drop, I mean I probably won’t experience an indoor riot like that again ever in my life. Shit was insane.

He called this kid up on stage – Jeymes from The Bullitts – and he was incredible, could really sing. Jay hyped the crowd to sing along while Jeymes did the actual singing of “Run & Hide”. After telling us how great of a crowd we were and how surprised he was that we still knew all the words to Act I (” that shit is OLD”), he thanked us all and left the building.

I paid £25 to see him, and had I known the shit he would do at the gig, I easily would’ve paid double or triple. He had everyone feeling involved and connected to the performance, and had such an insane energy level it was impossible not to go along with it. If he’s coming to your city – GO SEE HIM!!!

Oh and if you go to Koko London, don’t order a double vodka and coke. They cost £10.10. No bullshit, even the bartender gave me a sympathetic smile and shrug as I handed over my notes.

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