Glastonbury ’17 – Sunday Picks

“Knowing there are people in the audience who  possibly don’t even like my music at all and are just there to sort of see – that excites me.”  Ed Sheeran

As Glastonbury 2017 draws to a close, we have one final day of music ahead of us – and what a day! The nicest man in music, Ed Sheeran, is set to headline the Pyramid Stage tonight as the curtain comes down on the illustrious music festival. Having broken records left, right and center with his latest album ÷ (Divide), and every single track making it into the Top 20, Ed has become the fastest selling male solo artist ever. From ‘Thinking Out Loud’ to ‘Shape Of You’, get ready for one man and his guitar to completely captivate the main stage. Speaking with Annie Mac ahead of his headliner set, Ed commented on his excitement of closing out Glastonbury. So, for one last time, check out my Glastonbury Top 5 Picks.

1) BBK: Other Stage (22.15:23.15)

We’re in for something really special tonight! BBK, AKA the Grime collective, Boy Better Know, are set to close out The Other Stage Tonight. Made up of Producers, DJ’s and MC’s such as Skepta, JME, Jammer, Frisco, Shorty, Maximum and Godfather of Grime, Wiley, this is sure to be a momentous moment for the Grime scene. Formed in 2005 by brothers Jamie and Joseph Adenuga (Jme and Skepta), the Grime collective have gone from strength to strength, both as a unit and as solo breakout artists, with Skepta entering the charts at No 2 with his 2015 album Konnichiwa, followed by scooping the coveted Mercury prize and an Ivor Novello awards. The Grime collective will power their way through much-loved tracks such as Solo 45’s ‘Feed ’Em to the Lions’ and Skepta’s ‘Too Many Man’ and ‘Shutdown’ – the latter of which BBK is certainly going to do tonight! In the lead up to the General Election, JME encouraged his young fanbase to register and vote, and sat down with with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for a Q&A, further promoting the social media campaign, #Grime4Corbyn. With support from the likes of Kanye West, who invited them to join his performances at the 2015 Brits, Canadian rapper Drake, who’s since signed to the BBK label, and a BBK takeover this August in the O2 London; the future of Grime looks pretty damn good!

2) HAIM: Other Stage (17.35-18.25)

Californian sister act, HAIM, made up of Danielle, Alana and Este, are set to bring their charmingly, nostalgic vibes to the Other Stage this evening. With the success of their 2013 debut album, Days Are Gone, bringing us much loved tracks such as ‘Falling’, ‘Forever’ and ‘The Wire’, the girls have since unveiled new material from their forthcoming sophomore album, Something To Tell You. With their trademark Fleetwood Mac influences, lush harmonies, breezy acoustic guitar licks and a perfect mix of soft-rock and 90’s r&b, expect a charming set spanning fan-favourites to new singles such as ‘Right Now’, and ‘I Want You Back’. With their new album produced by Ariel Rechtshaid (Adele, Madonna, Beyonce), the girls have a busy Summer of touring and promoting ahead. In the meantime, make sure you get down to the Other Stage for some ambient, soft rock, and more importantly, Este’s ‘bass face’!

3) Sampha: The Park Stage (19.30-20.30) and The Beat Hotel (22.30-23.30, DJ Set)

British Singer/songwriter and producer Sampha, (Sampha Sisay) is set to bring his achingly beautiful vocals to the Park Stage tonight. Having recently unveiled new material such as the breathtakingly beautiful ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ and his most recent collaboration with Richard Russell, (AKA Everything Is Recorded) on ‘Close But Not Quite’, Sampha knows how to immediately captivate an audience with his heartfelt vocals. The multi-talented producer and songwriter has lent his talents to a whole host of artists over the years such as SBTRKT (‘Hold On‘), Drake (‘Too Much‘), Jessie Ware (‘Valentine‘), and Kanye West (‘Saint Pablo‘); but now it’s Sampha’s turn to take center stage with the release of his debut album Process. If one performance isn’t enough, be sure to catch Sampha for his second performance of the day, when he joins Jamie xx & Friends at The Beat Hotel for a DJ set.

4) London Grammar: John Peel Stage (20.30 -21.30)

Fresh from the success of their number 1 sophomore album, Truth Is A Beautiful Thing, London Grammar are set to captivate audiences on the John Peel Stage tonight. With the release of recent singles ‘Big Picture’, ‘Rooting For You’, ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’ and ‘Oh Woman Oh Man’, get ready to witness Hannah Reid’s lush vocals, Dan Rothman’s hazy guitars and Dot Major’s ethereal synth and percussive work. The new material marks the long awaited return for the Ivor Novello-winning band, whose 2013 debut album If You Wait brought us the mesmerising ‘Wasting My Young Years’, ‘Strong‘, ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ and ‘Sights‘. Having produced a string of cinematic videos of late, expect to see some impressive visuals and mesmerizing colours on display tonight. With a string of festival performances on the cards this Summer, including a headline performance at London’s Eventim Apollo (Oct 21) and O2 Academy Brixton (Oct 30), it’s going to be one busy year for the dynamic trio.

5) Barry Gibb: Pyramid Stage (16.00-17.15)

The Sunday afternoon set on The Pyramid stage is known as the ‘The Legend Slot’, where an established, well respected and much-loved artist, takes to the stage for a set filled with nostalgia and feel good vibes. The legends slot, has fast become one of the most coveted and popular acts of the weekend, with previous legends such as Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Lionel Richie, Tom Jones and Dolly Parton, pulling in some of the biggest crowds of the weekend. This year, legendary Bee Gee, Barry Gibb, has the task of lifting spirits this afternoon. The 70-year-old music veteran, who not only defined the disco era along with his brothers Robin and Maurice, has sold over 220 million records worldwide, and released the most successful film soundtrack ever with Saturday Night Fever selling more than 40 million copies worldwide. With 2017 marking the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, expect plenty of celebrations this afternoon and much loved classics including ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, ‘Night Fever’, Tragedy’ and this year’s official flashmob, ‘Stayin Alive‘.

As always, notable mentions have to go to a whole host of other incredible acts playing today, including Justice, Rex Orange County, Emeli Sande, Biffy Clyro, Slaves, Declan McKenna, GotSome, Blaenavon and Jamie XX & Friends. Also, there’s still a TBA for the John Peel Stage at 17.30. Might we see The Maccabees as part of their farewell tour? What better way to say goodbye than at Glastonbury. Update: The Killers have been confirmed as the 17.30 secret act on the John Peel Stage.

Check out the playlist below for all of today’s top picks. Don’t forget to catch all the live TV coverage across BBC 2, BBC 4 and the red button, as well as the BBC’s dedicated Glastonbury site for live streams across 6 stages. BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will all be broadcasting live from the festival site all weekend too.

 

Chase & Status – London Bars EP

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While Chase and Status are gearing up for their fourth studio album, they’ve released a 4-track EP titled ‘London Bars’. Having previously worked with the cream of UK talent from Dizzee Rascal, Tempa T and Plan B, the producer duo enlisted the skills of MC’s Frisco, Giggs, Bonkaz and Novelist for their latest project.

BBK’s Frisco kicked off the EP with ‘Funny’, showcasing his slick flows over some hard-hitting grime beats, while Volume II featured Giggs go in on ‘More Ratatatin’; an absolute banger which sees Giggs take complete control over the infectious beats. Volume III featured South London rapper Bonkaz with ‘Wha Gwarn’, while Novelist closed Volume IV with ‘Bigger Man Sound‘, which premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record.  Speaking with Annie Mac, Will commented commented:

“The four artists we worked for this series, were just amazing – complete pleasure. To be working with the hottest new MC’s and established MC’s is exciting for us.”

Known for their unique ‘UK sound’, rooted in various genres from Dub to Reggae and Garage to Grime, The London Bars EP represents the freshest Grime talent on the scene today. Currently working on their fourth album due early next quarter, expect plenty of live shows next summer.

London Bars is available now via MTA Records. Stream on Spotify here.

July Selections

July 2015 Selections

As we’re halfway through the calendar year, it’s time for some music stats and records that I know you’re just dying to hear …. ‘Uptown Funk’ continues to dominate, with a total figure of 1.93 million sales worldwide, while Hozier’s ‘Take me to Church’ and OMI’s ‘Cheerleader’ were also high sellers and came in second and third places respectively. Rihanna on the other hand, has become the best-selling digital artist of all time, surpassing the 100 digital singles award mark. The best selling album of the year so far goes to Sam Smith for his album ‘The lonely Hour’, beating off competition from Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. We’re only six months in and  a lot can change over the next six months.

After 63 years, NME announced plans to become a free weekly music magazine, while the Official Chart has moved to Fridays with Greg James, to coincide with the new release day for singles. There’s been so many great new singles unveiled this month from Disclosure’s collaboration with Sam Smith on ‘Omen’, Eric Prydz’s incredible ‘Opus‘, to Pharrell’s ‘Freedom’, which coincided with the Apple’s streaming service, Beats 1. Speaking of Apple’s new streaming service, Dr Dre has secured a new show on Beats 1 called ‘The Pharmacy’, and is also set to release his first solo album in nearly 16 years. Other albums set for release over the next few months include Chvrches ‘Every Open Eye’ (Sept 25),  John Newman’s ‘Revolve’ (Oct 16) , Rudimental’s ‘We Are The Generation’ (Sept 18) and Disclosure’s ‘Caracal’ (Sept 25) featuring a whole host of guest artists such as Lorde, The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Gregory Porter and Kwabs, to name a few. In streaming news, more people in the UK are streaming music online, with reports reaching over 500 million. Eager to cash in on the online music streaming service, Amazon have announced plans for Amazon Prime Music to rival Spotify. Speaking of Spotify, Prince has followed taylor Swift and removed all his music from the streaming service. There’s been plenty of music beef the past month, starting with Taylor Swift vs Nicki Minaj, which prompted Ed Sheeran to jokingly stir trouble with Bruno Mars. What wasn’t a joking matter however, was the spat between Meek Mill and Drake, where Mill accused Drake  of not writing his own lyrics. Queue a diss track from Drake and plenty of online coverage, and you’ve got yourself one nasty fight.

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Following his successful set at Glastonbury Festival, Lionel Richie achieved his first number one album in over 23 years!  Fans were still reeling from his classic performance, that ‘Lionel Richie & The Commodores’  jumped 103 places, fighting off competition from Florence + The Machine. Later that month, The Chemical Brothers claimed their sixth number one album with ‘Born in the Echoes‘, making them the only dance act to achieve 6 number one studio albuns. The MTV VMA’s were announced with Taylor Swift leading the pack with 9 nominations, closely followed by Sheeran with 6 and Beyonce, Lamar and Ronson with 5. Are we running out of music ideas? French DJ David Guetta, has only gone and remixed well known nursery rhyme ‘If You’re Happy And You Know It’, while Avicii took on a more well known dance classic and reworked Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’. Australian DJ duo Mashd N Kutcher have started a new craze at gigs, where they troll the audience with Spandaau Ballet’s ‘True’ just at the pivotal drop.

Festival Season was well under way with festivals such as Lovebox, Latitude, Lollapalooza, Longitude (All the L’s), EDC, Secret Garden Party, Melt!, T in the Park, Open’er and Wireless, to name but a few. Now in August, we can look forward to V Festival, Creamfields, Electric PicnicReading & Leeds, SW4 and  Notting Hill Carnival. In the meantime, check out my favourites from July:


1)Alessia Cara – Here (Lucian Remix)

Rising NYC producer Lucian, puts his spin on Allessia Cara’s ‘Here’. Lucian takes Cara’s airy vocals and infuses them with some weight, courtesy of some viby horns, trap snare rolls and a swelling bassline that drives the track along.  Top that off with some glitchy style effects in  production and Lucian certainly delivers on all levels. Previous collaborations for Lucian include Remmi and M. Maggie. An exciting producer on the rise, so grab yourself this free download now.

2) Rudimental – I Will for Love ft Will Heard

Festival favourites, Rudimental, unveiled their new single ‘I Will For Love’ Ft Will Heard. You might remember Heard’s vocals from Klangkarussell’s ‘Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)’. Heard once again lends his infectious, soulful vocals to deliver yet another euphoric and uplifting DnB single. Having premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record, Rudimental also took part in Radio 1’s Ibiza20 celebrations on San Antonio’s sunset strip. Their new album ‘’We The Generation‘, features a whole host of guest artists including the late Bobby Womack, Lianna La Havas and Foy Vance. ‘We The Generation’ is set for release September 18th, while ‘I Will For Love’ is available now.  Full dates for their ‘We The Generation’ World Tour can be found here and you can also catch them at Fusion Festival in Birmingham.

3) Lianna La Havas – What You Don’t Do (Grades Remix)

London based producer Grades, has delivered a new remix of Lianna La Havas ‘What You Don’t Do’. Grades works his magic yet again, dispersing elements of funk, garage, house and soul throughout. Grades cleverly intertwines the vocal between the retro sounding synths and chiptune inspired elements. Upcoming dates for Grades include Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall 

4) Tazer x Tink – Wet Dollars (Original, Redlight and Tazer VIP remix)

Chicago based rapper Tink and UK producer Tazer have collaborated on their new single ‘Wet Dollar’. The infectious beats and stylings from Tazer mixed with Tinks effortless flow and groove, delivers a collaboration that just oozes creativity and imagination. With Tink being referred to as the new Aaliyah, be sure to keep an eye out for her debut album ‘ThinkTink’ due later in September. Redlight and Tazer have taken the single a step further with their own remixes. Tazer’s VIP remix goes in a bit deeper than the original with a driving bassline that just hooks you right in, while Redlight infuses his unbeatable deep house house vibes with looped vocals throughout. Upcoming dates for Tazer include Sheffield Foundry in September, while Redlight is set to perform at Bestival.

5) Fekky ft Skepta – Way Too Much

Grime MC Fekky has enlisted Skepta for his new Splurgeboys produced single ‘Way Too Much’. Having previously worked together on ‘Still Sittin’ Here’, the Grime duo compliment each other’s styles with Skepta owning the hook and jumping on one of the verses, while Fekky’s flow anchors the track along with the simple, yet infectious beats. ‘Way Too Much’ is taken from Fekky’s forthcoming album ‘El Clasico’. Upcoming dates for Fekky include Reading & Leeds and Grime Live, while Skepta is set to appear at Bestival and Ceremony Festival.

6) Nero – Two Minds

Two Minds’ is the latest track from electronic trio Nero and follows previous singles ‘Satisfy’, ‘Dark Skies’ and ‘The Thrill’. While we’ve come to expect their trademark gritty synths, broken beats and thunderous bass, ‘Two Minds’ takes on a surprising and slightly tamer direction with a bit of future-house. Alana’s efford vocals remain on point throughout. Having debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record,  various remixes  have started to surface, including dnb producer Dimension and Nero themselves with their Nero ’92 Minds Remix Their highly anticipated new album ‘Between II Worlds’ is set for release August 28th via MTA Records and serves as the follow up to their 2011 debut ‘Welcome Reality’. Pre-order now and receive 3 free tracks. Upcoming dates for nero include Sziget and V Festival.

7) Lion Babe – Impossible

Lion Babe duo, Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman, unveiled their latest single ‘Impossible’. The track serves as the follow up to the Pharrell assisted ‘Wonder Woman’, gaining them some well earned attention. ‘Impossible’ delivers a retro, uptempo spin on r&b, mixed with Jillian’s vibrant vocals and Goodman’s infectious production stylings. The NY duo have also been announced as one of the artist collaborations on Disclosure’s new album ‘Caracal’ on their track ‘Hourglass’. ‘Impossible’ is available for release now via Polydor Records. Upcoming dates for Lion Babe include Bestival with a headline performance at Heaven in November.

8) Chvrches – Leave A Trace

Chvrches unveiled their lead single ‘Leave A Trace’ from their forthcoming second album ‘Every Open Eye’. While their debut album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe In’  delivered a string of hits from ‘The Mother We Share’, ‘Gun’ and ‘Recover’, ‘Leave a Trace’ is the first new material to surface from their highly anticipated second album. The  Glasgow based trio consistently deliver infectious melodies and dark synth pop textures, while Lauren’s piercing vocals give the middle finger to previous relationships and heartbreaks.  Having self produced by the album themselves, ‘Every Open Eye’ is set for release September 25th via Glassnote, while ‘Leave A Trace’ is available now. Upcoming dates for Chvrches include V Festival, Electric Picnic and Alexandra Palace.

 

9) Lay Z ft JME and Frisco – That’s What I’m On

Lay Z has premiered his new single ‘That’s What I’m On’, featuring his BBK Brothers JME and Frisco. Produced by the UK’s most influential grime producer, Teddy Music, the MC’s take turns jumping on the verse , adding their own unique spin and flavour, throwing back to a real old school grime vibe. Mix that with one one catchy hook and some sinister and dramatic sounding beats , and it’s a win-win situation.

10) Duke Dumont – Ocean Drive

Duke Dumont unveiled details of his new EP Series ‘Blasé Boys Club Part 1’. The first single to be taken from this is ‘Ocean Drive’; an 80s disco-pop track, with heavy synths and plenty of bass guitar. While ‘Ocean Drive’ is more mellow than previous chart toppers such as ‘Won’t Look Back’ and ‘Need You’, it nevertheless features some catchy hooks from legendary house vocalist Robert Owens. Dumont commented: “I’ve been thinking of adapting the release format from a traditional album for a while. The Blasé Boys Club series will be my outlet for music which would have previously been considered songs for my albums. Rather than the old format of the LP, the new way allows me the freedom to bring music to people quicker , and more regularly.” The 4-track EP ,is set for release Oct 2 via Virgin EMI. Upcoming dates for Dumont include V Festival, Creamfields and The Warehouse Project, before embarking on a full live tour 

 

11) Max Jury – Great American Novel

Time to slow the pace don’t a bit. Introducing 22 year old American singer/songwriter Max Jury, who just unveiled his new single ‘Great American Novel’. The single serves as the follow up to last years ‘Something In The Air’ and ‘All I Want’ EP’s and showcases Jury’s effortless vocal and melodic songwriting skill. The ballad offers simple piano accompaniment, while the stirring strings provide real depth and emotion. Having recently supported Rufus Wainwright on tour, upcoming dates include The Roundhouse in October. Expect a debut album later this year but for now, ‘American Novel‘ is available now via Marathon Records.

 

12) Denney – Lower Frequency (Shiba San Remix)

French DJ and producer Shiba San, unveiled his latest remix of Denney’s ‘Low Frequency’. Arguably one of the biggest underground hits of the year from Denney, Shiba San’s deep house vibes infuses the track with rumbling basslines and infectious looped hooks, reminding us to ‘feel the bass’. Shiba’s heavy remix and wobbly basslines builds and builds to deliver one exceptional dance floor filler. Upcoming UK dates for Shiba San include The Warehouse Project with MK and Groove Armada.

 

13) Riva Starr – The loft ft Dajae

Italian DJ and producer, Riva Starr, unveiled his new single ‘The Loft’ ft Dajae. Having previously collaborated with Fatboy Slim on ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, Starr once again works his magic on ‘The Loft’, serving up another house classic filled with soul. With it’s infectious vocal hook ‘there’s no party like a house party’, Starr reinvigorates house with it’s funky basslines and looping melodies.  The three track ‘Loft’ EP is available July 13 on Cajual Records and also features Cajmere (Green Velvet). Upcoming dates for Starr include Rooftop R2 in Marseilles, France.

14) Etherwood – Light My Way ft Eva Lazarus

Lincoln DJ and producer Etherwood, unveiled his third single ‘Light My Way Home’, taken from his highly anticipated second album, ‘Blue Leaves’. ‘Light My Way’ features the stunning, emotive vocals from Dub Mafia’s Eva Lazarus, that soar effortlessly above Etherwoods stirring beats and exhilerating melodies. ‘Light My Way’ serves up a captivating drum ’n’ bass classic.  With plenty of support from Netsky, Sub Focus and TC , as well as plenty of airtime across Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Etherwood is an exciting, rising artist in the drum n bass scene. ‘Blue Leaves‘ is set for release Sept 4 via Medschool Records.

15) Eats Everything ft Tyga VS Audion – Dancing (Again!)

Eats Everything aka Daniel Pearce, has reworked Tyga vs Audion’s ‘Dancing (Again!)’. The already infectious single, takes a darker turn, with its techno infusions and electro grooves throughout. Like Tiga’s ‘Bugatti’, ‘Dancing’ serves up an infectious hook that you won’t be able to get out of your head for a long while. ’Dancing’ is set for released via Disclosure’s Method White; the new club-focused division of their Method Records and follows previous releases from Jonas Rathsman and MJ Cole. Upcoming dates for Eats Everything include Creamfields and The Warehouse Project.

 

Check out the full playlist below, with over 1 hour for your listening pleasure:

Red Bull Culture Clash

4 Stages – 4 sounds – 1 Winner

4 legendary crews & accompanying sound systems took to Wembley Arena last night for the ‘Red Bull Culture Clash 2012’. Presenting the best of UK House, Reggae, Grime, Dubstep and Garage, each stage went head to head in one of the biggest music clashes of the year. Hosted by Radio 1’s Big Dawg Tim Westwood and fellow Radio 1 presenter Gemma Cairney, it was up to the crowd (with the help of a decibel reader), to decide who should take home the coveted title and become the 2012 Red Bull Culture Clash Champion. Queue the deafening cheers and let the battle begin!  Warm-up acts for the night included ShyFX, B Traits, Dismantle and Stamina MC, who hyped up the crowd with a warm up clash.

Round 1 – No Elimination
The crews get warmed up and start the hype (15 minutes each)

Reigning champions ‘Channel One’ kicked off the night with their impressive Channel One sound system and massive reggae riddims. Mikey Dread and MC Ras Kayleb headed up the team in the hopes of retaining their Red Bull Culture Clash title. Channel One were representing London’s oldest and original sound systems and clearly stood their ground as they kicked off the night on a high with their reggae carnival vibes and special guests Brother Culture Navigator + Solo Banton. Forget Notting Hill Carnival, it was all happening in Wembley tonight.

Channel One

Image: Redbull.co.uk

Annie Mac Presents was representing Dubstep supergroup ‘Magnetic Man’ (Skream, Benga & Artwork). With a host of special guest lined up, Redlight, Disclosure and Rudimental hyped up the crowd with some of the biggest tracks of the year. Even though it was only a warm-up round, they meant business! Annie continued to tease the crowd with snippets of TNGHT, Azealia and Kanye – just enough to get the crowd hyped up and wanting more.

Major Lazer (Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire) were up next, with their genre-defying style of reggae & dancehall. Major lazer knows how to work a crowd, with Diplo constantly jumping around the decks.  He even crowd surfed in an inflatable Zorb … And yes, this was only the warm up round. Opening with a questionable Bruno Mars dub plate, followed by Fun ‘We Are Young‘, which led into the massive ‘Pon De Floor’ track – only Major Lazer could do such a segue. He followed this with Elephant Man’s Gangnam (badman) style dub plate, that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Who’d have thought, Gangnam Style at a Red Bull Culture Clash!  Major Lazer was already breaking rules, as dub plates are only meant to appear in the last round. (*Update: Diplo took to Twitter to defend his actions claiming he hadn’t seen these rules and they must be clearly outdated.)

Image: Redbull.co.uk

To close Round 1, Boy Better Know had hefty support from their Grime collective including JME, Skepta, Frisco, Wiley, Shorty, Jammer, Solo 45 and Maximum.  Calling out Major Lazer for breaking the rules about using dub plates so early in the game, BBK went in on a grime remix of Gangnam Style (Gangnam Fest), which received a massive reaction from BBK fans. With the warm-up complete, it was time to get down to business!

Round 2 – The Selector
Sounds judged purely on track selection (15 mins)

Annie Mac Presents kicked off with Disclosure and their massive hit ‘Latch’, featuring live vocals from special guest Sam Smith. (More rule breaking as no special guests are allowed till round 4). Disclosure continued with some more crowd pleasers, including their remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’. Major Lazer followed that up with an equally impressive set including Skreams remix of La Roux followed by Bengas & Coki’s ‘Night’ and the massive, yet slightly predictable crowd pleaser, House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around‘. His special guest Stylo G, took to the stage for ‘Call Me A Yardie’. Major Lazer received massive support from the crowd and it appeared he had this round in the bag.  The BBK crew smashed it with classic tracks such as ‘Too Many Man, ‘Duppy’, ‘R U Really From the Ends’ followed by Wiley’s smash hit ‘Heatwave’ and ‘I’m Skanking’. Channel One were joined on stage with some live brass, and came back fighting with some trash talk against AMP: “Magnetic Man you got beat last time.”  “Annie Mac, you look like a lost sheep’ “Skream & Banger…” Channel one showed their support of their iconic sound system as they confidently proclaimed: “This is real soundsystem”.

Winner of round 2 was Major Lazer (by a landslide). The crowd voted in their masses as the decibel reader went off the scale!

Major Lazer wins round 2

Image: Redbull.co.uk

Round 3 – Sleeping with the enemy
Time to play another systems music. This is where things get nasty! (15 mins)

Channel One didn’t follow the rules for round 3, as they stuck to their original reggae vibes instead of championing a  new sound as requested.  Major Lazer laid down some serious reggae roots and introduced legendary Johnny Osbourne as their special guest, to perform ‘Buddy Eye‘ and the introduction to ‘Jah No Partial‘. (More rule breaking though with use of special guest) Major Lazer closed their set with the crowd singing along to Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’. BBK were still not pleased with Major Lazers rule breaking, so decided to get nasty and spoil Majors Lazers special guest for round 4. Usher was the big special guest being kept under wraps, and BBK served a low blow by performing their version of ‘Climax’ first. BBK also hit back at the so called ‘traitor artists’ that should have been on their stage with their crew. E.g. Ms Dynamite, who was repping for Annie Mac Presents. The AMP team brought out the big guns in the form of Ms Dynamite, who was dissing BBK over ‘Too Many Man’. Maverick Sabre was the next special guest and added a creative twist to their set, as he covered Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’.  This was followed by the hilariously edited version of Diplos Blackberry advert and a skit version of Diplos ‘Express Yourself’ dance routine, involving overweight male dancers ‘Twerking’  in gold hotpants. Quite an image! The AMP crew were the clear winners of round 3 as they owned the Wembley Arena.

AMP Crew Round 3 winners

Image: Redbull.co.uk

Round 4 – The Decider 
The clashing crews play the biggest tunes in their bag. Last chance to own the battle. Custom dubplates played out here. (12 mins)

Big Dawg Westwood announced that as so many rules were broken by all teams, the previous rounds were to be wiped clean and the final round would decide the overall winner. It was anyone’s game from here on out, and each team were given 12 minutes to impress with their custom dubs, special guests and all out culture clash madness.
Boy Better Know were up first, with their final attempt to impress. They invited their first special guest Chipmunk to the stage, with a reworked version of ‘Oopsy Daisy We Killed You Again’. They continued spitting out  the hits including ‘Every Gyal‘, ‘Taking The Hardest’ and once again continued the war dubs dissing the opposing teams: “Skream & Benga snorting the Charlie” and Diplo’s a mutha’ f***** corpse in a coffin’. A lot of trash talk from the BBK crew, but their supporters stood by them. Their final special guest was the one and only Lethal Bizzlewho performed ‘Leave It Yeah’ folowed by ‘Pow‘ with Emmanuel FrimpongThere was massive support for the BBK crew, who put up one hell of a fight in their last chance to impress. It was up to Channel One to answer back with their final special guest Luciano. They once again proved that their reggae riddims stood out in front tonight against the competition. Annie Mac Presents team joined forces with a an impressive entourage for their final round. The first special guest included Katy B with ‘On a Mission’. John Newman also provided live vocals for the massive Rudimental hit ‘Feel the Love’. The one and only Example then took to the stage with his reworked version of ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’. Annie certainly kept the best for the final round and delighted the crowd with each surprise guest. As Annie constantly asks her listeners on a Friday night if they’re #raving or #behaving, after this set, the crowd were certainly #raving. Major Lazer set his final round in motion with a Pharoahe MonchSimon Says’ dubplate, followed by a mixed combination of dubplates from RDX ‘Jump’, Nirvana ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ and Blur ‘Song 2‘. Such a massive crowd reaction and this was even before he brought out the big special guests. First up was none other than Mobo award winner Rita Ora  with ‘Face Melt’ and international R&B star Usher! Yes USHER at a culture clash, who performed ‘Climax’ on the Stalag riddim.

Boy Better Know

Image: Redbull.co.uk

The final round saw big war dubs, a lot of creativity in track selection, some serious flows and some of the biggest names in music. But it was up to the crowd to decide the overall winner. Westwood and Cairney took to the stage again and each team received rapturous cheers from the crowd. The decibel meter measured each response, and even though many believed Major Lazer or AMP had it in the bag, Boy Better Know cinched it in the end, by 4 decibels, to take home the coveted title ‘Red Bull Culture Clash Champion’ of 2012.

Winners BBK

Image: Redbull.co.uk

Regardless of the result last night, the Culture Clash was a brilliant opportunity to showcase the best of the music scene today.  Big up everyone involved for such an amazing night and all I can say is ‘ROLL ON NEXT YEAR!’

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