On Wednesday the 10 April 2013, Jazz Cafe played host to the EP Launch of “Kick Snare & an Idea” the latest offering from Legend of UK Hip-Hop – TY! Having not performed at the famed venue for 3 years, Ty’s return promised to be nothing less than epic and in reality, it was so much more.
Those familiar with Ty, know that over the years, Ty has managed to stay fresh & original where many of his critics have simply fallen off. His independent spirit has seen him survive the transition from UK MCs receiving little notoriety, to becoming part of the commercial mainstream, while he followed neither trend in the process. TyC simply carved out his own space and asserted his right to stand in it.
His last album, “Special Kind Of Fool”, signalled the fact that the MC who once described himself as “Awkward”, was now exceedingly comfortable with who he is as an artist. This fact no doubt guided the feet of many to the Jazz Cafe.
The expectant vibe could be felt from the very door as patrons were met with thumping baselines of the DJ at work and the smiling face of Sidel (aka Comfort) of ONiT PR. Fast developing a reputation as the hardest working woman in show business, Comfort warned all to get in quick as the place will be “jam to capacity” – and it certainly was.
The show started with Native Sun, the formidable duo – vocalist Sarina Leah and bi-lingual MC Mohammed Yahya. The rising stars put on a stellar performance laced with their Afro-Funky Hip-Hop sound covering the legacy of Afrikan music, to the uncertainty climate change brings.
This turned out to be the sturdy foundation for a line up with no weak links. Followed by French female MC Pumpkin, who flew in from France. Though many would not understand her lyrics, they would appreciate her flow. The intermittent explanations were appreciably guided by an array of beats that kept neck and backs jerking. Those with an ear for French would have caught her anti-commercial music protest song “Silence Radio”.
Next up, BREIS. The veteran MC took it to the next level, bumping the already high levels of audience participation to a point that made the audience an act in itself. After welcoming the gathering to ZAMUNDA, Breis rocked the crowd organically. The title track from his “Identity” EP was certainly a crowd favourite and with the assistance of DJ Big Ted, memory lane was a path well walked as the artists paid tribute to the music of their youth; paying homage to greats such as Soul II Soul & Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Mystro was up next with a performance was nothing short of dynamic. Following some eccentric miming microphone antics, Mystro kicked off with his well-known single “Around My Way”. His verbal clarity appreciated, solidifying his reputation as a lyricists lyricist.
Special accolades must go the DJs on this night. Madd P (of the Boogie Bunch) & Bunny Bread who issued a master class in Hip-Hop Djing between each set. To refer to their contributions as “intermissions” would be to belittle.
The DJ’s kept it going for the coming of the man of the moment- TY. After the paying homage to his Mother, and declaring that he will continue to make his aunties tea even though he’s a “small star”, Ty kicked off with a tune aptly titled “Let’s Start”, with a beat sampled from the well known Fela Kuti song of the same name. What followed was magnificence from start to finish.
Staying true to the “Move The Crowd” incarnation of the MC, Ty compelled the audience to not just bang their heads but shake their bodies. Classic hits such as “Oh You Want More” and “I Want To Kill It” were among the audience favourites, as well “Emotions” for which Ty was joined by Sarina Leah.
The night was not short of its spontaneity either. Part way through the banger “Sophisticated & Coarse” the mic disappeared into the audience, and the crowd was blessed with the stunning voice of veteran vocalist Vula – who then emerged onto the stage asserting, “I’m not doing this by myself – Where’s Sharlene Hector?” True to form Sharlene obliged and joined her fellow vocalist, harmonising to perfection over the Ty classic.
Without out a doubt, the new material was extremely well received. The Single “Like You Never” has already created a buzz and was fully felt in live performance mode. The hypnotic “Knock Knock” is sure to be a performance favourite as to Ty’s instruction, the entire audience of over 400 people engaged in a step that has since been dubbed “The Square Dance”.
“Playing with Fire”, brought forth the collaboration with two of UKs Hip-Hops most promising prospects – Akala & Durrty Goodz. Ty showed his appreciation for being able to work with younger artists as “a granddaddy in this”. It was a defining moment to see the mutual respect shown between 2 generations of MCs, certainly a sign of good things to come.
Following the performance of the classic “Wait A Minute”, Ty wrapped up a fantastic night. If what we heard at the launch is anything to go by, “Kick Snare & an Idea” is going to be one of the strongest releases for the year, and a worthy addition to the catalogue of a well seasoned artist.