AKALA + SHOGUN @ LIQUID ROOMS 9/10/16

supporting act: Shogun

With grime in its prime at the moment we identify it as a London sound. This is because of artists such as Skepta, Stormzy and Wiley dominating the scene with their ends ‘Landan’ accent. So hearing flows in a Paisley accent seems strange at first. But, take a minute to adjust and you’ll fall in love with Shogun. Scottish rap is not something new with artists such as Hector Bizerk and Stanley Odd running the Scottish hip-hop scene but the style of Shogun mixes it up.

Having played at Tenement Trail and the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Shogun is breaking through as an up and coming artist. With a heavy online presence as an individual artist or his group M.S.T.M you can check out tracks such as the fantastic Vulcan with a Stormzy ‘Shut Up’ esque video. Blown away by his technical ability it comforted me that even he was impressed by the headline act of the evening, Akala. At times I would see Shogun with his head in hands in amazement at Akala’s performance and it was understandable why.

Akala is more than a hip-hop/grime artist: he’s a political activist, lecturer, speaker, ex professional footballer amongst other things. He is a god.

Having released his first album ten years ago he has embarked on an anniversary tour which was to blow all previous tours out of the water. Having seen him last year at La Belle Angele and having been blown away I didn’t think it would be possible to do so, but boy was this on another level.

An audio visual montage of music, politics and comedy Akala’s performance was mind blowing. The skill is unparalleled and the atmosphere was incredible. While recording the atmosphere for 30 seconds Akala stated that Edinburgh had for sure held its own against Glasgow which made me very proud indeed.

The set jumped back and forwards through the Akala époque perfectly with various songs from the first album ‘It’s Not a Rumour’ – most notably ‘Shakespeare’ which is probably Akala’s best known track other than his brilliant ‘Fire in the Booth’ appearances. These tracks had a dedicated section from his earliest appearance in 2011 to his latest freestyle in June 2016 – Akala has appeared on this segment four times and is truly the godfather of it.

As well as unique segments such as ‘Fire in the Booth’ we were also treated to an appearance by ‘Pompous Peterson’ speaking truths about the class and power systems. ‘The print money when you like, fund genocide at will’ satirical figure rapped ‘to speak to the uncivilised’ and embodied the song ‘Murder Runs the Globe’ one of Akala’s most impressive pieces.

One cannot speak about Akala and not mention his fantastic TV appearances such as on ‘Frankie Boyle’s Election Autopsy’ where he speaks of structural racism, him taking on Tommy Robinson –leader of the EDL, this address to the Oxford Union during Black History Month and his recent interview for Vlad TV. I cannot think of anyone with such eloquence as Akala and it is as if he hears

my thoughts and expresses them better than I could ever do so myself. His weekly book recommendation exemplifies his ongoing pursuit for knowledge which can also be seen in his album title ‘Knowledge is Power’ and the lyric ‘but I do quite literally own a library that definitely costs more than your chain’.

Akala is a class act and not only will you come home with a sore throat and sore legs from having had a great time but you will also learn something from listening to his words. A true 10/10 musician, scholar, philosopher, sportsman and human being.

Sigi Whittle

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