Last year we were lucky enough to be invited to the Manchester Academy venue to watch Mist and a host of Manny artists perform at the Bigga Fish tour organised by the youth, for the youth. This year we were invited back to witness the result of the 10 week training course attended by 14 – 25 year olds instilling them with promotional, marketing, advertising and the public relation skills needed to book a bag of MC’s and rappers. This year the young street teams outdid themselves and booked Big Tobz, Abra Cadabra, Ekeno, Kay Rico, DJ Win, DJ Jadderz, DJ Clarkie Tee and more to shell down the dance.
We struck it lucky again when we were invited back to Bigga Fish to see wa gwarn and catch up with some old friends of ours who had been invited back to perform (Kay Rico and DJ Win.) Last year Bigga Fish was a one city performance this year the enterprise cast their net a whole lot wider as they had bigga fish to fry. They embarked on a 3 city tour kicking off with Birmingham on 20th February, Manchester 21st February and the grand finale in London on 25th February. Another twist to the fish tail was the fact the street teams ran competitions in each city to select an artist to open up the gigs. Azzy Strikez were the lucky winners selected from the Manchester video submissions to open up for the headline artists.
After sharing a miniature bottle of Wray and nephew’s mixed with cherry coke courtesy of my cameraman – bless up; the bouncer tried to hustle my rum off me to “Keep warm while I’m in the cold and you’re in there bouncing”, nice try! When me and my cameraman for the evening Bustovski were shown to our positions the first thing I noted was that it didn’t have the feel of a gig the way it did the previous year, this felt more like a concert at the Apollo. Although the event was held at the Academy the year before, the space felt a lot bigger, the staging seemed bolder and the atmosphere bonkers.
As we were shown to the front of the stage, Ekeno was doing his thing joined by Kay Rico, Feeemo and the man dem and were gassing the crowd with their infectious energy. I noticed both Ekeno and Kay Rico were patterned up properly flexing camouflage tracksuits which I viewed as a nice touch to show the solidarity between North and South artists who had joined forces for the 3 date tour. DJ Win provided the beats for the set and even dropped the classic Bill Biv Devoe track ‘Poison’ which saw him bring out the running man as he couldn’t resist shaking a leg behind the decks. DJ Win also took centre stage to buss some more moves whilst DJ’s Jadderz and Clarkie Tee spun the crowd which made me wonder if he was in spirit or had some spirits, either way it was great to see the artists and DJ’s enjoying what they do best.
Headline act Big Tobz brought his beard of beauty backstage for a quick chat with the young organisers and asked how the crowd was, I listened to the conversation in silence staring at his glossy beard and thinking to myself ‘Do they have special conditioner they sell at the barbers just for beards hmmmm’ As he waited to hit the stage I noticed he was looking fresh in a crisp white Manchester United shirt with his catchphrase ‘Kool Nuh’ emblazoned on the back. On stage Big Tobz was charismatic and brought great stage presence to tracks ‘Uno my style’ and ‘Corn’ for which he brought one lucky girl on stage from the audience to spit Cadet’s bars; she did stop half way through to take selfies but who can blame her, this was her moment and she took it. Back stage Big Tobz happily posed for pics with fans and had a chat to the youths who booked him, and he also gave an interview with yours truly which you can view below.
Next up was new gen. artist of the moment Abra Cadabra who has blown up over the last year due to established rap artists’ Krept and Konan featuring on his remix of ‘Robbery.’ The success of the track has received much love from the scene ever since and has made him the man to watch. Abra made a low-key entrance backstage with his squad minutes before he was due on stage, with his bwoys surrounding him it made it hard to speak to him but maybe that was the intention. On stage Abra unleashed his ‘voice of god’ like deep tones on the menacing ‘Robbery,’ which legit makes me feel like I could go on a carjacking spree using only my gun fingers to tek wah di caarr nuh bother try drive (blessed you with my own Robbery remix there.) Abra Cadabra’s delivery was strong but his demeanour subtle and to the point, which suits the tone of ‘Robbery’ perfectly. Abra motioned for a few pull ups on the track as he urged the crowd to show more energy and they brought it, as the masses became his foot soldiers on standby on the lookout for the feds for their boss man Abra. ‘Robbery’, which has become something of a roadman’s hymn since its release in July 2016 smashed it at the venue, as every lyric of the track was chanted in unison. My only disappointment was that Abra didn’t chuck some balaclavas into the pit so I could really get into my rude gyal shotta role. Ah well next time!
All in all The new wave was swarming with Bigga fish and the street teams who brought the whole thing together guided by its enterprise leaders, should be proud as they caught each and every one of them to bless the stages of Birmingham, Manchester and London, on what has been their most successful tour to date. It’s a mystery to me how the Bigga Fish team will manage to top this when they return in 2018 but something tells me they’ve already brought the bait and cast the rod to reel in the rawest of talents the UK has to offer. Bigga Fish – Big up your chests, take a bow and hopefully see you next year!
Visuals by: Twitter: @bustovski
Photo credits: Bigga Fish blog