Under the surface of the repetitive mainstream UK rap music, there’s a new wave emerging and the ‘MrIamNext presents the underground’ event at ‘The Garage’ just across the road from Highbury & Islington station on the 27th of November held performances from: Master peace, Len, Fimiguerro, Ashbeck & Billzonthebeat, 5ebFendi, Mally and the 838 rap duo in hopes to help this new wave break through the UK rap music industry.

In UK rap now, the drill scene is the most prominent, yet it seems as though every artist is using a rendition of the same beat rapping about their “real” lives of violently fueled escapades and other illicit activities…and sure, it does work, with these drill rappers amassing millions of streams and views on their videos. However, they lack originality, they don’t push the boundaries of what’s possible; leading to music which becomes boring and repetitious. In contrast, the ‘underground’ scene couldn’t be any more different to mainstream music. For example, without the pressure of managers and teams (as many of these ‘underground’ artists are independent) who encourage a certain route or style, they can show their individuality and really experiment with the music they make. Furthermore, having usually started their careers by themselves in a bedroom, they seem to have a closer relationship with their music after being forced to do every part– most of these songs are produced, written, and recorded by the artist themselves - therefore I think it helps them find their own sound, flow, and style which were clear in the performances at ‘The underground’ show.

Kicking off the event was Fimiguerro, dressed in his usual attire of black leather pants and his “Alyx big boots” he performed fan favourites like ‘Hollister’ ‘Black flag’ and the unreleased song– which is set to be on his upcoming album: ‘God save the queen’, a catchy, unique take on the classic British national anthem with a lot of shouting rather than the soft singing voice we quintessentially associate the song with. Enlisting help from his team or “blackflagmilitia” he energised the crowd. Notably, fashion designers “Sliksyd” and “Bams” were directly at the face of the audience, on the fence ready to jump into the ever forming mosh pits at any given moment, further inciting the excitement of the crowd.

Next was 5ebFendi, who put on an electrifying performance with his friends on stage with him and a 13-year-old fan who was the “littest fan” he’d ever seen. Although confused at first the crowd ended up agreeing as the kid even did a stagedive halfway through 5eb’s set. Then Len took to the stage, performing unreleased tracks, along with classics like ‘Devotion’, ‘Where’s my Bradda’ and his newest single ‘Two Two’s’ he controlled the crowd from start to finish with ease. 

Finally, there was Ashbeck - being one of the most popular among the ‘underground’ with millions of streams to his name - his performance was highly anticipated within the crowd, and he didn’t disappoint. With one of the leading producers in the scene Billzonthebeat by his side he performed ‘Quick Up’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Awks’ from their joint EP ‘Organic works’; along with his hit singles ‘Uhuh’ and ‘Booli’. 

Although their performances are incredible, it’s clear that they haven’t received the respect they feel that they deserve yet. Before the event, during the promotion and online hype build up, Len took to twitter to voice his concerns of being confined and labelled as ‘underground’. Saying that “ion (I don’t) kno what all that ‘underground’ nonsense is about. Me I’m going overground, I’m going national rail”, many others in the scene unsurprisingly showed they agreed by retweeting it. And with more performances like this they will hopefully be able to break free from the restraints of the ‘underground’ label, going “overground” – as Len puts it – and become the new mainstream.