drake and skepta join section boys in shoreditch: everything got lock ‘arff
South London’s finest welcome October’s Very Own fresh from the Brits to their headline show in Shoreditch.
In a week that has seen much discussion around the Brit Awards' lack of diversity and support towards a number of genres - especially Grime - it felt incredibly fitting that the biggest news of last night wasn't James Bay or Jess Glynne (*sips tea). No, what really set Twitter alight was the extremely unexpected and absolutely brilliant appearance of Drake at Village Underground. Beer, brandy, legs, arms and weed went flying when the OVO rhymer ran onstage. "Man left the Brits to come and show love," Drake grinned, before launching into Jumpman. Littlez, DeePee, Sleeks, Knine, Inch and Swift looked as shocked - and ecstatic - as the crowd, standing stunned for a moment before quickly recording the whole thing on Snapchat. Also onstage was Bonkaz, who performed a couple of tracks, including We Run The Block, earlier in the night. When they dropped Trappin' Ain't Dead, Drake stayed onstage, rapping along to ever single word (we checked, every single word).
Bought onstage by Skepta, who performed Shutdown and It Ain't Safe, @ChampagnePapi later tweeted, "The first Canadian signed to BBK. Big up my brudda @skeptagram for life yeah. And my section gunners too."
Though it felt fairly surreal to see Drake play in front of 400 grime fans at Village Underground, it's testament that while the major label establishment might not support the scene, the talent is being recognised by powerful figures who are prepared to, quite literally, show and prove their support.
"Listen, this was a big moment, in terms of what happened at the Brits, Grime artists not getting nominated, let alone awards, so for Drake to turn up to this show is a massive statement. I rate him massively for that," says Johnny, who watched the show from the front. "For someone like Drake, one of the biggest artists at the Brits apart from Bieber, to come to Village Underground to see Section Boyz is a massive statement. I think next year, [The Brits] won't be able to ignore Grime so easily."
Michael and David, both 17 and from East and South London, respectively, agreed.
"It was amazing and it shows the progress of UK Grime. We've never seen anything like this. I love Drake with all my heart for that. Section from south London linking with Drake from Toronto? Oh my god! It shows what UK Grime is doing and even though the mainstream media is ignoring them, their energy can't be denied."
Section Boyz proved they are an act to keep a keen eye on. Initially reminiscent of a young (and very South London) version of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, their energy captured the essence of early Grime crews like Essentials and Ruff Sqwad. The set was a rowdy and raucous sixty minutes of hits taken from their Top 40 charting mixtape, Don't Panic - Delete My Number, Trappin Ain't Dead and, of course, Lock 'Arff had the crowd - and Drake - going nuts.
The 6-piece are currently touring the UK; catch them in Bristol tomorrow (Friday) and Brighton on Sunday.
Photography Ashley Verse