Tag Archives: London

Wholagun – Solution To The Problem

It’s been a long time coming. The South London rapper forged an almost legendary street status, an OG to many of the up and coming stars today, Wholagun had found some early success with a string of hits 3 to 5 years ago, generating a decent amount of views and following, however, for various reasons, it felt like he had not entirely made the transition into rap, not to mention the scene was not as healthy then. In the past couple years he followed through with some more freestyles and street bangers, with fans almost demanding an entire project, and so today, those wishes are granted, as we finally get the release of a full body of work, Solution To The Problem.

8 Tracks, fit to satisfy the core fans, but with enough range to introduce himself to new ones alike. Wholagun can rap, there is no denying it, what makes him some of your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper, is his versatility, flows for days, and as his brand increases, as will the content, with this EP showing early glimpses of just that. It starts with the lead single Dirty, it’s straight forward, easy to digest, and catchy, Wholagun has pretty much perfected the British trap sound, proven with the next track Weighty Cheque, following a similar format, as did Pretty & Bad, maybe I wanted more from him because I know what he is capable of, so initially I was disappointed, but couple more listens later and they’ve grown on me, the flow patterns and punchlines do it justice.

You can never judge from a couple tracks, and that’s exactly the case with this project, as track 4 takes a more melodic turn, “the game is mine, I rap, I sing, I’m taking the piss..”, and he is, the fan in me was vibezing, and the part that wants to see his talents rewarded was pleased, because it’s quality enough to be put up there with the current crop, one criticism I had, and If I was in the studio with him, I would say, to avoid the repetitive choruses, saying that, on this record, it made sense, and fit well. It might just be a personal choice and in fairness a lot of the biggest tracks out today have similar hooks, but I do believe he is talented enough to do better, and I just wouldn’t want anyone thinking otherwise.

I realise that because I’ve been waiting for this for long, I’m almost judging it, in all fairness, this is a re-introduction, as he re-asserts himself, letting you know, who he is out here, “I don’t wanna hear about big man, when you ain’t bigger than man”. The get money motivation is strong throughout, and by track 5, I realised he’s giving you doses of genius, easily digested, “I just got a call from the plug, got the front room looking like ‘dam”, this exact ability to paint a picture lyrically is why so many have loyally waited for this. Best thing about the project is that it only continues to get better with each song, bringing us to track 6, Be Rich, an introspective take on that previously mentioned motivation, is one of the standout tracks, “I’m tryna get that bread, my daughter needs her pizza, I’m tryna leave the ends…ain’t tryna rise that heat up”, he further delves into his desires to really establish himself in this game, making no mistake that it’s going to take hard work.

My early criticism/disappointment might not have made sense, me knowing he is capable of more, and when you hear track 7, you can understand, out of nowhere there’s a track catering to the ladies, and in no way has he had to compromise, nor is it a reach in any way, there’s strength in vulnerability, “feeling a way when you hug me, I feel like the man..only God is above me”, Winner it’s quite soulful, and very much appreciated, making it another standout. The last two tracks might be the best, with Real Talk 3 really cementing Wholagun at his best, the insightful raps, engulfed in wisdom, it’s human, it’s the epitome of what rap is for many, that inspiration, to keep going. “Every days a blessing, I just wanna see us all progressing, feel like everyone fights depression, ’til you realise your minds a weapon”.

I wanted to end it at that bar, powerful, emotive, important, that is Wholagun, who has given us a quality body of work, that he can only build upon as he continues his imminent rise to the top.

w_s2tp

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The Retreat (The return of Adam Deacon)

From his memorable role in the now classic Kidulthood, followed by his directorial debut with the somewhat parody Anuvahood, further cementing his ability as the lead character, Adam Deacon has provided some quality moments for many of us, inspiring a whole generation of comics and actors embracing street dialect and mannerisms, which before, seemed incredibly rare. Maybe, it was the lifestyle, maybe pressures, things behind the scenes, or just personal angst, but things took a toll on the young talent, and without delving into the details, the 2012 Bafta award winner found himself shunned out of the spotlight by the negativity that ensued.

The next we heard, was him embracing his errors and focused to rewrite the wrongs, an advocate for raising awareness on Mental Health amongst young men, he bravely opened up, and shared his story, but still that early promise shown appeared distant. Now 2017, and the culture (and scene) which he is a part of, seemed to have moved on, the new crop being heralded, that relevancy faded further. On Wednesday night I came across the Park Theatre (London) website, showing a new play titled, The Retreat, starring Adam Deacon, with the majority of the performances within the week Sold Out, there was just one seat left for Thursdays, and so I went.

The Retreat, written by Sam Bain (co-creator of the Peep Show), Directed by Kathy Burke, starring Yasmine Akram, Samuel Anderson, and Adam Deacon. With Samuel’s character Luke, at a Buddhist retreat in the Highlands, as he looks to escape his City life, only for his brother Tony (Deacon) to show up.

I write this having returned from the experience. I was just in time as I annoyingly squeezed past those already sat, found my seat whilst the performance began, with Luke (Samuel Anderson) meditating in absolute silence, before Tony (Adam Deacon) enters to disrupt it. That initial silence compared to the lengthy round of applause they received at the end was worlds apart, a further testament to the overall performance.

Anderson and Akram were great, and not to take anything away from them, but Deacon stole the show. I left truly believing that everything happens for a reason, as I watched an audience mostly twice our age (maybe more), from completely different backgrounds, grinning from ear to ear at his performance, uncontrollable laughter as he delivered his lines perfectly, his timing impeccable, his presence impressive. Whether it was a serious scene or him dancing to Giggs and Donae’o – Lock Doh, the level of performance did not dip in the slightest, if anything, it just got better and better. Sam Bain created a dope concept, with a meaningful premise, relatable to many, neatly wrapped in humour and emotion, with Kathy Burke’s direction spot on, helping execute the show amazingly. The actors embodied the roles remarkably, they WERE those characters, it is easier to switch off at a live performance than a movie, yet they had the audience fixated until the very end. 90 minutes seemed almost not enough, you wanted more, as the story unfolded.

I really enjoyed the show (mid-way, I thought to myself, I might just come and see this again), and hope that more people get a chance to catch it, especially those who may not be as hip to theatrical performances, it’s very well written, reminiscent of classic British comedies that we grew up on, with more modern relevance.

Furthermore, was great to see Adam Deacon shine again, someone who represents for so many, a lot who are overlooked in this country, so to witness him overcome adversity to deliver so well, seeing everyone (especially the old ladies) praise him as they left smiling, he can only improve and continue towards fulfilling his evident potential.

Mostly Sold Out, there’s some availability over this weekend, and early December, so if you can, check it out!

 

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Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

The V&A gallery is currently hosting the Balenciaga exhibit, a first ever in the UK, it’s a lot of insight on the life and creative mind of Spanish designer extraordinaire, Cristobal Balenciaga.

The exhibition, which marks the centenary opening of the brand’s first fashion house in San Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of it’s Paris fashion house, the £15 ticket (with concessions available) is ultimately worth it for two levels of past, present and future of fashion dominance from not only ‘The Master’ himself, but the many whom he inspired.

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The exhibit dominantly features pieces from over the years, as well as visuals (pictured above), with an array of information on the forward-thinking designer, his pioneering silhouettes, exploring textiles and pattern-cutting which shaped the modernity of the 60’s and still hold relevance today.

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It could be argued that there is a lot of the information provided available online, however, the opportunity to see such a variety of pieces from different generations is not as obtainable, including the redefining ladies suit, not to mention many designed throughout the years by other established designers, such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Calvin Klein, Paco Rabanne and more..

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The exhibit (which is running until the 18th of February 2018) is great for fashion fans and students alike, a chance to not only learn about ‘The Master’, but see some of the finest works, influence and adaptations within fashion today.

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A great exhibit all in all, one I definitely recommend checking out, especially if you appreciate the finer details to Fashion.

 

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Fem Fel – Jail Tales (BBC Three)

Although many of the others within this unique series have recieved more praise and support, this one is a stand out in my opinion.

Fem Fel:

The instrumental instantly dominates, however, attention should be paid to the content and Fem Fel really makes the most of this opportunity, lyrically captivating, he takes you on a journey into a dark era of his life, emotionally charged, you hear the pain in his voice, like a cry for help as he endures the hardships of being locked up, hearing this is extremely inspiring. This is a positive offering from one of South London’s realest artists. Looking past the glitz and glammer, Fem paints a raw picture of life inside prison, an incredible eye opener for the youth of today who are misguided by the glamorization of such lifestyles.

I salute Fem, for he could have used this to showcase himself, yet he does less of that and more in terms of teaching through his own mistakes, in accordance to what the concept of Jail Tales portrays, this is exactly what was needed.

FEM FEL

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WizzyWow & Tippaly present: Baileys & Passports

As the new year comes ever so closer, the spacey hitmaker Mr WizzyWow and his partner in rhyme Tippaly have decided to unleash the long awaited mixtape earlier than scheduled.

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In all honesty this download is so fresh that I am still listening to it as I type,
the intro is not just for the mixtape, but an introduction for Tippaly, who makes the most of the opportunity with his unique style, he has a stand out voice and with his own range of wordplay he makes an impression, Wizzy wow steps up for Blame It On The Baileys, setting the scene and overall concept of this mixtape.
Hottest In The Hood has them flowing over the beat like only they can, it serves as a starter for your ears before the infectious Hands In The Air, where the duo go back and forth with lyrics and plenty of that Space Boy swagger all over the beat.
Run This Town brings you back down to Earth as they both have a verse each allowing you to distinguish their styles and approach before Tippaly goes solo over Let The Beat Build, this track is the boarding lounge before the take off which is Wizzy Wow – Eyes On Me ft. Tips, now flying at a comfortably high altitude with Miss London, Wizzy’s trademark flow and hook over a nicely layered beat, complete with synths.

Throw It In The Bag must have been a favoured instrumental because Tippaly displays a lyrical ability that you may not have known he possessed and then just when you feel you’ve heard the best, Wizzy Wow matches the flow and lyricism for an overall ‘dope’ UK take on the Fabolous & Drake track. Next track is Pop Music, which is not actually what the track says, however it is WizzyWow’s version of the genre, take it as a glimpse into what to expect, the synth-based chart sound from the North London producer, now the flight has to land at some point and Wizz jumps on the Maybach Music 2 beat, Rick Ross and Justice League made a classic, the man formerly known as Y.Wizz does not dissapoint, the next track is Tippaly taking stage on the powerful Lemme Get On Ya, so far the mixtape is fully focused on the concept and it is a good listen with its variation of styles, this is proven with the next track, WizzyWow over The Dream’s Rockin’ That instrumental, it feels like an interlude before the next track Can’t Beleive It, giving up the autotune, Wizzy gets his rap game on alongside Tippaly, they both flow over the beat with a motion that can only be described as ocean cool (they get wavey).

The concept and theme is female orientated, so it is only right to give them a little more with Valentines, the slow paced smooth talk song before they put their spin on Dirty Money’s Love Come Down beat (put your speakers up for this one)..They really go for it with this, a consistent flow and slick content makes this one of the stand out tracks off the mixtape especially as it features Cell22 and one of the most underrated artists in the game..North London’s Calibar.
Say Something serves as an outro, nicely done as well, featuring Ivy London, they put some space age flavour onto Timbaland’s instrumental, each one does not dissapoint and it nicely brings the mixtape to an end but by now you would have already pressed play on track 1 again.

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LUOL DENG – CROSSOVER SUCCESS

Back in secondary school, St. Mary’s in Croydon, London, there was a fellow student in my year, he was the tallest in our year, tallest in the school to be honest, but he was one of the nicest, one of the humble kids, he never used his height and strength advantage in any negative way, he was not a loud student, except when it came to sports, especially Basketball, he was the one, he had the physical attributes as well as the determination, but coming from our surroundings, nobody expected anyone to make something of themselves, we were all ambitious but you did not think that so and so was going to be famous, or even massively successful, so all our acheivements, be it sport, art, music or drama was all for fun.

Fast forward a good few years, I was sitting at home flicking through channels, it was around 2am and there was an American College Basketball match on, so as a basketball fan I decided to watch, so I see this one team, Duke, they had a player that was just standing out throughout the entire game, they mentioned the name ‘Deng’, I paid no mind, still watching, then I see a close-up and I feel like I recognize the guy, then the commentators mention he is from England, I sit up in my chair, could it be? I watch more, I hear more, turns out..yes, it is my old school mate Luol Deng, I was amazed, proud, a mix of things, someone I went to school with is on TV. So now I began to check regularly how he is doing, his stats and so forth, within a week I’m watching the NBA drafts and there he is, this is amazing, he is drafted by Phoenix Suns but traded to none other than the Chicago Bulls, I’m ecstatic, this is unbeleivable, the guy who used to shoot hoops with me in the school court, the guy who sat opposite me in class as we flicked a foil-made football through finger goals is now going to be playing in the NBA for the Bulls.

He had come a long way already:

Now taking all that in his stride as he carves a successful career for himself in the NBA:

What I am pleased most about is that with all his success, fame and fortune, Luol is still just as humble and it only makes me wish him even more success, I hope the Chicago Bulls’ Number 9 goes on to create his own legacy as he represents the UK in the NBA. He continues to use his advantages for the good, embracing the community, doing what he can to make a difference, it is these qualities which separate him and solidify his status as a true superstar and I am proud to know him.

Expect more great things from the powerful Deng, I certainly do.

“Good Luck for the future bro”

REPPIN LONDON

REPPIN' LONDON

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