Village Underground, London, October 16
The UK’s best-kept secret, House of Pharaohs (sometimes referred to as HOP), perform a gig in their hometown tonight – and it looks like a movie.
They sold out Hackney’s Village Underground, their biggest London show to date, and here the crew – Sam Wise, Danny Stern, Bandanna, Kevin Taylor, Ash and Blaze – showcase their electric flows. These underground kings know a trick or two when it comes to having a great time – as does man of the moment Kojey Radical, who turns up to co-sign the group.
The support acts deliver that all-important energy, too. It began with Master Peace, an aggressive, wavy rap rock star. He has only one single to his name, the buoyant ‘Night Time’, but the Londoner’s set of unreleased beauties hadsus early comers singing along to the catchy choruses of the likes of ‘PDA’. If we excuse his failed stage dive – and we do – Master Peace is an exciting act to ease us in to the state of bedlam we reach by the end of the show.
Next up there’s another London rapper, the pop-inspired Kadiata, followed by Croydon’s Yung Fume, who commands his stage. He asks the audience to light him up with our phone lights, his emerald and gold tracksuit shining as he flexes to the fittingly titled ‘Watch Me Flex’.
HOP’s DJ, Jamo Beatz, later comes out to show off his scratching skills. With his perfect playlist and blending, the crowd goes berserk, with bone-crushing mosh-pits send people left and right, drinks everywhere in anticipation for the hottest collective out of south London.
And do they come out with a bang, showering the crowd with Belaire and water. If you can dodge them – and avoid the alcohol going in your eyes – the frenzy before you is quite a spectacle. The audience cheers them on while rapping along to their first song, the salacious club track ‘Magic City’. All the girls rock their hips to the side and the boys bop their heads harder than before.
And, yes, to everyone’s surprise there’s a special guest who goes by the name of Kojey Radical, who pops out on stage and performed two songs. After his roaring energetic performance, Radical gives a heartfelt speech about the HO boys: “I’ve been supporting these guys since 2012, 2011. Real talk. Seeing these guys go from Soundcloud to venue to venue… They’ve came from the ground up. Ghetts did this for me at my show, so I’m doing it for you guys at your show: give people their flowers while they’re still alive. The HOP boys are doing bits.”
After this soppy interlude, it’s back to business.
Blaze and Sam’s ‘Mad About Bars’ freestyle unites the crowd, as fans rap back and forth to one another, earning three wheel-ups from Jamo Beatz. To end their set with a bang, the highly-anticipated ‘GANG‘ booms through the warehouse-like area as everyone – tops off and sweaty – jumps towards the ceiling.
Running five minutes over curfew, with security pulling the plug a few seconds they before the end of the set, these six south Londoners definitely got it – as they once put it – ‘Lit like London‘.