Jamie T’s second album in two years is a punk, rap, pop and hardcore tour de force
Scala, London, Tuesday May 7
From the thunderclaps of opener 'Werkin' Girls', a highlight of last year's breakthrough 'Reservation' mixtape, the rapper – real name Raykeea Wilson – bounds through a set that hints at a breezier future, with a debut album due in October.
Prowling the stage like a caged tiger, old favourites 'Supreme' and swagger-dripping Big Apple anthem 'New York' are made massive by soul-choir backing singers. On Rudimental collaboration 'Hell Could Freeze', rhymes like "Cupid's guns to our souls, he just can't trigger chemistry/I need a lot of things you really can't give to me" are snapped with the sort of technique that made icons of Eminem and Missy Elliott. Both of them have songs reworked by Haze this evening. She nimbly climbs a speaker stack to bark the words to Elliott's 'Gossip Girls', while her harrowing spin on Marshall Mathers' 'Cleaning Out My Closet', taken from 2012's 'Classick' covers EP and performed for "the first and last time ever tonight", commands a hush that swallows the room. It's one of Haze's many curious quirks – she's one of the most individual artists in rap at the moment but she's frequently drawn to taking on other people's songs (a habit, she tells me the next morning after a raucous evening in a strip club, that "she's leaving behind").
Forthcoming single 'No Bueno' is, in fact, muy bueno – a booming club banger as stadium-sized as a Rihanna hit but with 10 times the snarl. The night climaxes with a surprise appearance from fellow "femcee" Iggy Azalea, who leaps on board to help with a cover of Jay-Z & Kanye West's 'Otis'. "She's a fucking star," shouts Azalea, wrapping her arms around Haze afterwards. "She's the future!" If that's the case – if her wall-shaking pop-trap sound and pro-feminist, anti-homophobe agenda really is where hip-hop is headed – then bring it on.
Character studies and ready melodies abound in the latest record by the Oxford quartet
A battle-like record where fear and dread rule
Another gripping Pedro Almodóvar mystery, full of vibrant visuals and emotional revelations
The Californian succeeds, once again, in exposing the ugliness of mankind. It’ll get under your skin