slimkid3 live 2Slimkid3, formerly of legendary Los Angeles hip hop group The Pharcyde and DJ Nu-Mark, of Jurassic 5, teamed up last year to release a well received, authentic hip hop album packed with integrity, which served as a follow up to the duo’s 2011 ‘Another Day Another Dollar’ EP. As I arrive at the intimate HiFi club in Leeds city centre, the venue is pretty sparse at 9.30 in the evening, and I really hope people turn out to see some certified legends tear it down. Neck-snapping boom bap fills the venue as the anticipation builds for a night packed full of real hip hop.

First to take to the microphone is Leeds MC Daddy Abe, a towering dreadlocked figure. His Northern twang over thumping beats with an impressively charismatic flow is instantly absorbing. Abe is backed by 2 vocalists; Saint from Birmingham who holds down hypeman duties and Abigail, who is a well chosen backing singer, and this enhances the already professional stage show. The dub infused tracks coupled with Abe’s percussive flow show his diversity, with nice hip hop sensibilities and heavy multisyllabics; his skill, content and concepts really shine through. Daddy Abe packs his tunes with deep references and intelligently crafted lyricism, keeping the gradually growing crowd in full attention. The Leeds musician kills a characteristically hard hitting Sonar Cousin instrumental with a sharp delivery and nice writing. Abe closes his set with a tense, impressive Northern hip hop banger, finishing a slick opening performance from the Leeds MC.

A nice selection of dusty 90’s bangers keep the excitable crowd’s attention before the main event gets underway. DJ Nu-Mark brings an energetic DJ set to kick off with, and it’s packed with certified classics with a hearty helping of real authenticity. Virtuosic turntablism is on full display; the Jurassic 5 DJ gives a masterclass in spinning hip hop live, combined with an eclectic mix of modern trap music. Nu-Mark even cuts the music to listen to a request from an audience member, but she runs off stage with haste before he can even hear her. He drops some Jurassic 5 classics before Slimkid3 joins him on stage, with K Natural on hypeman duties. ‘Runnin’ is the opener, and the chilled out performance with the intimate feel of tonight’s venue makes it a very enjoyable start. Slimkid announces that they’ll be test driving some new music tonight, as well as dropping joints from their own fantastic album along with some Pharcyde anthems. The Los Angeles MC demonstrates his slick, calm delivery over the crunching, head nod inducing instrumental of ‘Godzilla Or Gamera’. As soon as Slimkid3 starts the show, his expert stage presence, gained only through years of experience, is completely encapsulating. Next comes ‘King’, again from their 2014 album, and the energetic performance continues, with flawless crowd control and visually interesting live delivery. The wide range of styles is definitely pleasing to tonight’s crowd, which is relatively small but definitely lively; whether it’s on a reggae infused vibe or over some cool, boom bap drums, Slimkid3’s engaging presence is continuously impressive. Their set is melodic, soulful hip hop at its finest, and the diverse feel of the tracks stylistically definitely helps with the engaging show tonight. The classic ‘Passin’ Me By’ goes off, with the West Yorkshire hip hop heads matching Slimkid3 as he spits with crystal clear precision. The cool, uptempo beat of ‘Oh Shit’ matches Slimkid’s engaging bars, and the crowd rocks with consistent energy until the set draws to a close.

slimkid3 live

Slimkid3 and DJ Nu-Mark most definitely held it down for the hip hop faithful, with a slick, professional and absorbing show at one of my favourite venues for hip hop in Leeds. With clear delivery, consistent flow and fantastic beats, these are 2 veterans still making quality, timeless music

Sam Bennett