One of the biggest nights of the year thus far for the Rainbow Warehouse, took place on Wednesday with a host of talent nurtured in Birmingham invading the stage. Former Handsworth resident Mr Hudson, along with Wolverhampton’s own rising star Tenny Ten and newly crowned number one artist Tiny Templar, brought some flavour to mid week Birmingham.
Making significant waves in the urban Hip Hop scene, Tenny has received massive noise from Radio one and has been endorsed by some of the most influential people in the British music industry, including Tim Westwood and Zane Lowe, as THE one to watch in 2010.
In the midst of an impressive crowd the atmosphere is electric, as a combination of friends and family and intrigued music lovers gather, unsuspecting of the spectacle about to unfold. You would be forgiven for thinking that, being the opening act of a homecoming gig on what is reputedly his biggest tour to date, the 24 year old may be a little nervous. If he is – it never shows.
After a prolonged intro from DJ Springa, Tenny bursts onto the stage with his trademark flair and charisma and it’s not long before the showman makes his mark. Mid way through the song he cuts the DJ off addressing the crowd ‘I need you with me on this guys…I can’t do it without you – make some noise!’ The crowd oblige with an impressive backlash of cheers and the fist track kicks back in. He’s joined on stage by partner in rhyme Bigg Wayne and the two provide a well rehearsed, multi-layered performance, part hip hop gig – part soap opera.
Dubbed a lyrical genius and modern day poet, Tenny manages to silence critics who would seek to diminish the abilities of hip hop artists. His rhymes are flawless and eloquent borrowing from all facets of life from the Iraq war to 19th century texts, he seamlessly incorporates them all. His song about the diamond trade in Sierra Leone slows down his performance showcasing his lyrical abilities and moral fibre. ‘Jump Jump’ depicting someone on the verge of suicide, displays a rare social awareness. Standing on the very edge of the stage the theatre begins with Big Wayne attempting to coax Tenny from the brink. The theatrics are excellent and the multiple layers of the performance mesmerise the audience.
It’s not all serious, as Tenny is infinitely capable of rousing the crowd from the depths of despair to the heights of excitement. Dropping soon to be released single Swaggnificent (20th June 2010) the flair returns and the crowd return to their thumping, jumping best. One to watch is an understatement, if you don’t know Tenny Ten yet, we guarantee by the end of the summer he’ll be all anyone is talking about.
Needing little introduction of late, Tinie is touring off the back of his number one single ‘Pass Out’ and throughout May is flittering up and down the UK with Mr Hudson and Rihanna. Another of the new breed of Urban/grime stars emerging in the scene, Tinie was picked as one of MTV’s Top Ten to watch for the year and seems intent on proving their prediction right.
Tinie embodies once more the intellectual nature and showmanship of today’s performers. His rhymes flow effortlessly and his concentration and engagement with the crowd is commendable.
What Tinie offers is something with a twist, Hip Hop with a healthy dose of guitars. He manages to traverse the sticky ground between two different mediums, incorporating a variety of sounds in his music. It works supremely well and advances the efforts of Jay-Z and Linkin Park to close the gaps between the genres, in the process re-defining perceptions of what the Hip Hop can be.
The performance is energetic and he feeds off the crowd darting from side to side making good use of and the occasional joke, of the post that features front and centre of the Rainbow stage. The reception is indicative of his recent success and in some respects, his is the most difficult performance of the evening as he is not a local like the other acts, and has to live up to the hype that comes with being no.1.
Undoubtedly the crowd pleaser of the evening was no.1 track Pass Out, which has been a phenomenal success of late. For us, new track Frisky (released 6th June) was that little bit special and will undoubtedly be a contender for the summer anthem of 2010.
The Handsworth hero took to the stage arms open, to embrace what is effectively his hometown crowd. The biggest artist to have performed for Birmingham Promoters to date, Hudson spent most of his life in the Handsworth area and seemingly was intent in giving the crowd a performance that portrayed his feelings for the people of Birmingham.
His unique vocal talent soared through the rafters of the Rainbow Warehouse, electrifying the crowd. The confidence exuded is in no small way reflective of the company he is keeping of late, including his record label boss Kanye West and Jay-Z. Prior to this gig Hudson postponed his Manchester gig to play with Jay-Z on the David Letterman Show, prompting rumours of a possible release in the States and with Jay-Z as a backer, success is almost a certainty.
Faultlessly guiding the crowd through his album Straight No Chaser, Hudson has hooks and melodies spilling out from every orifice that the crowd chew them up. White Lies was as impressive a delivery of any track we have seen this year, displaying the unity that exists between Hudson and his backing musicians. One of the highlights of the performance was the return of Tiny Tempah to the stage to perform a new track called Anyone But Him that has been shown much love on Radio One.
Certainly deserving of his reputation as an innovator, his musical abilities are infinite as he transfers from one instrument to the next with ease. The next few months will no doubt see Mr Hudson continue his meteoric rise in the music community, which may yet see him do what few others have – break the American market.
Check out June’s issue of AREA Magazine for an exclusive Tenny Ten interview.
By Lee Hall