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Lord Of The Mics VI Live, Sunday 18th May | Live Review

It all went off at Lord Of The Mics VI. Click here for the full review!

Rap battles are undeniably planted in the roots of hip-hop/urban music, and have always had a big part to play. The ability to lyrically clash against another artist has always stimulated the competitiveness of rap, especially in the UK. Grime is a genre built around the aggressive tradition of repping one’s endz, whilst at the same time, doing all in your power to humiliate another’s. From the very birth of this ideology came forth Lord Of The Mics. Pioneered by Boy Better Know’s Jammer in 2004, this competition has set the benchmark for rap battles in the UK, showcasing the raw talent of some of the country’s finest MCs and bringing us some of the largest battles to date. Kano vs Wiley, Skepta vs Devilman and Bashy vs Demon are just a few of the classics available for viewing on YouTube.

Yesterday, HTF was lucky enough to attend the most anticipated grime event for years, Lord Of The Mics VI Live, headlined by P Money vs Big H. The event, held at Birthdays in Dalston, Hackey has received massive media attention recently, with promotional airtime on Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show and viral YouTube uploads creating an almost Mayweather-like buildup. This buzz was very apparent in the queue to the event. 150 public tickets were sold at £100 each, and did sell out. Upon arrival, as the stage area started to fill, the venue started to feel a bit cramped and poorly ventilated. This, combined with the 2 hour wait prior to the first clash as the cameras/lighting/sound were being set up, had a slight effect on the audience’s attitude, but once the ball was rolling, the hype did nothing but grow.

With Jammer as host and Logan Sama on the decks, out came the first competitors. The clash between Opium and Dialect nicely kicked off the show. Opium‘s bars were sprayed at a clear, steady pace, dropping in comical references to Dialect’s girl and her after hours activity. Dialect, on the other hand, hit hard with a grimier Ghetts-like flow, and for the first half of the clash looked as if he had the upper hand; his bar ending with “I’ll put you in your place like OCD” got a good reaction from the crowd. Opium‘s sly looks at his phone for refreshments of his bars didn’t go unnoticed. The clashes were structured in rounds of 3 (as they traditionally are in LOTM), with each round containing around 3 verses from each artist, consisting of around 16 bars per verse. Whose favour the clash finished in is not something I was able to judge, 50/50. At the end of it, however, I was surprised that there was no audience verdict as to who came out on top. Although it’s down to an online vote, it wouldn’t have hurt to have an off-camera cheer-off of some sort.

Following the first act, after a half hour interval, was Dorris vs Invasion’s Hazman, which again was a very entertaining battle. Hazman‘s school playground-like insults were hilarious, and had the crowd laughing more than anything else on the day. Dorris, however, countered with equally sick lyrics and flow, doing wonders at revving up the audience for the main event. All the while, the casual nature of the spectating grime artists added an amusing twist to the experience. Integrated into the crowd were the likes of Tempa T, D Double E, Blizzard, Scrufizzer and Big Narstie, who did his part in cracking up the surrounding audience with his frequent comments on the clash. Again, the decision of victor for this clash was very hard to call. Based on audience reaction, Hazman took the win on comedic value.

Of course, all anticipation was set for the headline act, P Money vs Big H, which was delayed by around an hour. Waiting on stage, P Money‘s frustration was noticeably growing as Big H‘s absence prolonged. There was a buzz of excitement to greet H as he casually strolled in, escorted by his fellow Bloodline crew. After an extended couple moments as Big H prepared himself, the show got on the road. What occurred as both artists mounted the stage is nicely depicted in this Noisey extract:

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The clash got off to a promising start. Big H started, dropping a sick first verse of unheard content, raising excitement and surprise amongst the audience, provoking a massive response. Following that came a devastating first set of blows from P Money, in his usual aggressive metaphorically-charged form. The response received surpassed Big H‘s by a mile, and his face clearly suggested that he was wounded. No shock to the audience, P was more than ready and had the bars up his sleeve. Then came a halt from Big H, as he refused to continue spitting and demanded Logan Sama proceed to the next track and next round, in an attempt to rekindle his lost momentum. This led to a load of commotion and greatly aggravated P Money, as he recited the basic rules of Lord Of The Mics to his opponent is disbelief. In order to keep things moving, Jammer granted the next round.

Round two consisted of another heavy set of shots from P, displaying his destructive content and flow. This was responded to by Big H‘s verse from ‘German Whip‘, which built vocal hype. I, for one, asked myself if had already used his all new bars for the clash; surely the headline battle of LOTM 6 would provoke a bit of creativity and structure? With intentions to mimic Big H, P Money rebounded with his classic bars from ‘Left The Room‘, which lead to Big H again requesting a skip to the next round. This heated things on stage, and after a brief argument between the two MCs on the rules of the battle, Big H proceeded to retreat off stage. Jammer, who up to this point had kept his cool, then took to the mic in order to salvage the clash, requesting that Big H come back and finish the battle. The crowd at this point were stuck with mixed moods of laughter, annoyance and curiosity, but above all everyone was somewhat satisfied with how entertaining it all was.

After a couple minutes of hard words between some of the artists, Big H reappeared on stage, but when prompted to continue spitting, insisted that he had rapped all that he had been paid to. He then went on to demand additional funds from Jammer, which came as quite a shock, and of course wasn’t taken to too kindly by the organiser and host. What followed consisted of not much more than argumentation and aggravation between certain characters in the grime scene, and after all on-stage activity came to a stand-still, the event saw itself flushing outside to keep up with Big H and P Money, who’d both left in the process, which saw the end of the battle.

There was a disappointment amongst the majority of the audience, who were anticipating one of the most classic grime clashes to date, especially with the price of admission. Nevertheless, the entertainment factor of Lord Of The Mics 6 was off the scale, and it will no doubt go down as a classic. The actions of Big H seemed almost too ridiculous to be true! Has he ruined his career? What are your thoughts on the events of LOTM 6? Leave a comment below!

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