Recently K-hip-hop acts have been flocking to Europe to perform; with Illionaire (minus Beenzino) having performed in various cities as part of their European tour and news of Giriboy and Andup announcing European performances in the coming months, it feels as if K-hip-hop’s popularity only keeps growing in Europe. It was on the 14th of April 2016 that Rock Bottom came to perform in London.
If you’re not familiar with who they are, Rock Bottom – formerly known as the Daenamhyup/DNH– is an underground Korean hip-hop crew, consisting of rappers, producers, dj’s and visual/creative directors. They’re highly talented bunch, who as well as producing their own unique sounds, have also worked with idol groups (or where once idol trainees/members). Many of the members have also performed on Show Me the Money. Of these talented guys; Kidoh, I11evn, Supreme Boi, Hashmate, Don’t Call Me A Dog and Type -C were due to attend the event, unfortunately last minute I11evn had to remain in Korea.
The venue was Underworld, in Camden, and a few people had been queuing outside since the early afternoon to get a prime position. However when I arrived later in the evening, just before the doors were due to open, I was shocked at the length of the queue that went along the street and round the corner. The crowd was predominantly young, and unlike the Dok2 and The Quiett concert, it distinctly lacked in Korean fans (this was later confirmed during the show when Marvel J shouted out to his fellow countrymen only to be greeted with a couple of hands in the air).
The doors opened at 6:30pm for those lucky enough to hold early entry tickets and they quickly streamed into the venue. At 7pm, the doors opened for everyone else, who eagerly waited outside. Hands stamped, myself and the photographer, head downstairs; a merchandise table was set up with CD’s, t-shirts and already sold out hoodies on offer. There was also a stand offering a chance to meet the crew backstage if you had used an App or bought some merchandise. Passing by we dropped our things off at the cloakroom, and the venue was is already starting to fill up. We got into position, not in the crowd put, but on the same level with the stage on the side, clambering at the banister to get the best view possible. The crowd was noisy as it waited in anticipation as more and more people come to fill up the venue.
Marvel J was the first rapper on stage. He was not originally due to perform but was a replacement of sorts for the absent I11evn. Despite the fact that many fans were upset by I11evn’s absence, Marvel J managed to get the crowd going straight away. He did several songs, the two opening songs were really good for getting the crowd hyped up, and even whilst he performed he had a lot of interactions with the crowd; drawing them into his raps. He then did a short talking segment, explaining that this was his first time out of Korea and that he was so excited to be here. He also taught the crowd some part of his new song that he was going to perform so that we could sing along. “Graduation”, was the title of the new song and even though it was a new song the crowd got really into it, screaming the words that they’d just learnt. “Forgive Me” was the next song and the crowd was really hyped up for this song too, it had such a good beat to sway to. “No Smoking” was a really lyrical rap, and the song after was really energetic, so much so that Marvel J sprayed the crowd with water which got everyone jumping to the beat. He was then joined on stage by Supreme Boi and they rapped the final song “B**** you got none” together.
After his song with Marvel J, Supreme Boi started his solo set with “You Know My Name” which had a stereotypical Oriental beat but was a great song nonetheless. The second song he did was a slow rap with a very catchy chorus. He then did a tribute to the absent I11evn, telling the crowd that they had to sing along. Then really sweetly and unexpectedly, the crowd started to sing happy birthday to him and he got a bit emotional (there were almost tears). Supreme Boi then did another I11evn tribute song which sent the crowd wild. “Ride it like a cowboy” got the biggest crowd reaction thus far, with the crowd really enthusiastically singing it back to him. He then did “Highwire” and Type- C came out from behind the stage. It was clearly obvious that he’d been having a good time backstage as he acted as a kind of hype boy during the song. Next was the performance of a new song, “Hate the life”, and it has to be one of my favorite songs from the evening, the crowd was singing along a lot for this song too; ” hate the life, cause we hate the f****** life”. Supreme Boi then introduced a song as his money song, it was a BTS’ song “Cypher Part 3: Killer”, and as expected the mash of K-hip-hop and K-pop made the crowd go absolutely wild again. Before the crowd could settle again, the music for “Work that p****” started playing and the crowd was chanting the lyrics before the song itself actually started- all the members of Rock Bottom then get on stage for the rest of the song with Kidoh acting as a hype boy. Supreme Boi’s last song was “Pretty m*****f******” and they all started nae naeing on stage, much to the crowds enjoyment.
Kidoh‘s set was next and his intro song had a really Caribbean vibe to it. His second song, “Ride”, was a new song which he asked to crowd to help sing the hook, a girls voice is featured in the song and it’s kind of an ethereal voice which gives a nice sway to the song and breaks up the rap sections well. Kidoh then rapped to a Cho PD song which had a lot more of a musical background than most of the songs so far. He then did a song from his ep, “Everything’s natural”, followed by a talking segment where he mentioned that he was glad to back in London and hoped to see the city unlike last time when he had been “locked in the hotel”. He also mentioned that he was working on an ep which would feature five or six songs. The last song he performed was “Still alive” which had an 8bit opening then a heavy killer bass, with the crowd singing along, then the beat dropped and the crowd went absolutely crazy singing “still alive now”.
There was then a little break where they announced ten winners picked randomly who would got the opportunity to go backstage after the show, and meet Rock Bottom and get their merchandise signed.
DJ Hashmate‘s set was next and it was really bass heavy which I loved. Hashmate had been DJ’ing for the entire concert, doing all the tracks for the rappers and he kept the crowd hyped up from the beginning and he was probably my favorite part of the entire night. After Hashmate’s too short set, all the rappers came out and did the Rock Bottom rap followed by what they called their theme song, “Nicki Minaj Girls”. They then performed “Cruel Love” and got one side of the crowd shouting cruel whilst the other side replied with love. One of the rappers then commented “B**** we killing this shit”, and that comment couldn’t be truer, from start to end the entire venue was hyped up and bouncing up and down to all the songs, clambering to get closer to the stage and shouting along to the songs with vigor. Then a birthday cake was brought out for Supreme Boi as the crowd once again sung happy birthday. They then finished up with a more RnB song.
To be honest, when I was headed to this concert I wasn’t sure what to expect. I half expected to find a crowd filled with BTS and Topp Dogg fans who were only there to hear any BTS songs and see Kidoh. During the concert, I could see that this wasn’t true, maybe some of the crowd were fans of BTS and Topp Dogg, but they were all most definitely fans of Rock Bottom. The reaction and enthusiasm they gave to the crew was incredible, there was such a live atmosphere and energy at the concert between the artists and the crowd. This will be a concert that I remember for a long time to come.
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Review by Lauren