XOYO, 23rd February.
“Big up my mum, mum’s inside tonight,” AJ Tracey tells a packed room at XOYO to loud cheers. Tonight is the last in a trio of sold-out headline shows at one of East London’s most well respected venues as part of the Lil Tracey tour. The 22-year old West London MC ensures that the final show in the XOYO trilogy is one to remember, proving why he is currently turning a lot of heads (including that of Drake’s).
Live it becomes evident just how many hooks AJ Tracey possesses. From the heavy hitting ‘Luke Cage’ onwards, the crowd remains in a state of permanent sing-along as each track ups the hype of the last. At one point Tracey is beckoned off stage and returns to issue a warning to the audience about staying hydrated amidst the heat in the venue, but there is barely a chance to cool off. From the lightning wit of ‘Sprit Bomb’ through to the menacing ‘Leave Me Alone’, right up to the aquatic trap smasher ‘Pasta’, the energy remains at fever pitch. Backed up on stage by fellow West London MCs, Big Zuu and ETs, the blinding speed of lyrical exchange is reminiscent of some of the early grime pioneers from Musical Mob (also from West London) and their radio sets from the early 2000s, named by some as the most hyped sets of all time.
After bringing out a slew of astounding guests including 67, Chip and Elf Kid it would seem that ‘Buster Cannon’, a single so heavy even the whitest hands in the room throw up gun fingers, would be the only way to conclude tonight’s onslaught. However, just as half of the room is leaving while the other half of the room chants the often-ignored phrase ‘one more song!’, Tracey brings out none other than grime’s current poster-boy, Stormzy. “My fucking brother AJ Tracey, make some noise for the legend”, bellows the 6’5 MC before the frenzied room scream along to ‘Big For Your Boots’, which is currently the highest charting grime track in history. It is a monumental finale that is celebratory of both AJ Tracey’s music and the grime scene more generally. If there were any show you’d want your mum to see, it would definitely have been this one.
Buy: AJ Tracey – Lil Tracey.