London Camden Dingwalls

They ain'y nothin' to f*** with...

It’s a slow-burn beginning. Over the sparest of beats, rapper Paradise leads in the smouldering ‘Still I Rise’. As the empowering track reaches its splintering climax, it becomes clear that, when the revolution comes, [a]57th Dynasty[/a] will be in the streets, naming names. Righteous ire is their fuel.

A couple of nights before, Roots Manuva scooped a Mobo for his blinding debut LP, even so, [a]57th Dynasty[/a] know this isn’t the time for complacency among British hip-hoppers. Tonight’s club night, with a bill full of UK rap acts, is the antithesis of the trendy trainer set. It’s raw, scruffy even.

Live, [a]57th Dynasty[/a] come on like you always dreamed the Wu-Tang Clan would be, a holy chaos with hot-lead hip-hop at its core. There are seven onstage tonight, playing tag with mics and unleashing verse after verse of steely street hip-hop. It’s a deliciously Brixtonian soundclash, dribbling ragga and dub in its goth-hop brew, and only the unpleasant sexism of ‘Hanky Panky’ drags the crew back down to earth for a misjudged moment.

As a shuddering ‘Boro 6’ brings the set to a close, toaster Thunda Storm pulls 13-year-old word-slinger Lil Monsta from his adoring public and joins the rest of the crew as they troop offstage. And another roomful of converts file out, safe in the knowledge that [a]57th Dynasty[/a] ain’t nuthin’ to fuck wit’.

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