Subversed Launch: revolutionary hip hop centre stage
Following the launch of their website at the end of last year, January 24th saw Subversed bring a devastating array of talent to a packed out Kraak Gallery venue in Manchester.
Shem kicked off the night with lyrical portrayals of his home town, Salford and wound up with a rowdy slamming of racism and fascism, pre-empted with a roar of ‘Fuck Nick Griffin!’ from the crowd. Prose was next up, performing with a live band, with the combination of intricate backing on guitar and violin and his tight bars about inner-city life giving his set a raw, emotional foundation.
When Bamo took to the stage the venue was filling up and the yard outside was packed with people listening to impromptu improvs from artists both on and off the bill. Inside, Bamo rapped about what it’s like to have two homes – Manchester and Iraq –and was joined on stage by Kid Katharsis and Lemzi for a rendition of ‘This Is the Place’.
Next on the bill were Wolverhampton collective Broken Dialect, represented by Messi Mussiah, Oracy, Jose and Johnny. ‘Maria Maria’, a call for the legalisation of cannabis was the stand out track for me, with the set going on to cover all manner of other political battles – all delivered in a slick style and apparently effortless manner.
Kraak was heaving by the time headliner Jun Tzu got up and opened with his new release ‘Born in Belfast’, a searing story of growing up in the city performed with ferocity and precision. Other highlights included ‘Wee Johnny’ – a graphic account of the threats that Jun has had to face down whilst writing songs about his experiences of Belfast and Irish politics, and ‘Toppa Da Mornin’, a powerful track driven by the contrast of a cold break beat and warm fiddle samples and vivid portrayals of the troubles.
After this introduction I’m eagerly awaiting the next Subversed event. I went home thoroughly inspired and feeling privileged to have heard some of the most talented, and politically conscious artists of any genre around today.