Akil the MC @ Medina, 29 Oct

Akil the MC puts on a show to remember at Medina.

Article by Rosie McLean | 05 Nov 2009

PTV Hip Hop Events’ achievement tonight testifies that forward-thinking young blood is swiftly putting an end to the hip-hop naysayer’s favourite image of post 1990s hip-hop as a gangrenous, NYC zombie.

Despite an empty start at nine o’clock, things are kicking by eleven to the mellow selection of background beats of DJ’s Gino and B-Burg. By the time Edinburgh crew Catch Click take to the stage, the atmosphere is beginning to crackle and they deliver a set which although seems to lack bravado in places, satiates the swelling appetite a treat with some righteous hooks and rhymes, not to mention repping the locality. Next up, a collective spanning the British Isles- Jee4ce (Northern Ireland), Deezy (Scotland) and King Response (London)- backed by beats courtesy of London producer Shownprove.

These guys provide straight up choons, the most memorable of which boast a distinctly dancefloor ego, and when they do throw in the odd introspective number they handle the flip in atmosphere masterfully. Finally, the man himself, J5’s Akil, graces the stage. He is diminutive yet magnetic, and delivers a powerful set which retains its authenticity and declines from feeling like Jurassic karaoke, even when he launches into a Concrete Schoolyard acapella and the crowd belts it back word-perfect.

He gets the girls on stage for a wind, delivers his words of wisdom, bangs out the hits; it’s an old routine, but you’d never guess. The true money shot comes when he launches into the crowd to battle one of the breakers on the floor; the mass of bodies slamming and writhing for the golden spot at the circle’s opening, for a fraction of a second, taking Medina’s shadowy downstairs right back to the concrete streets. With line-ups of this range and calibre, PTV are providing a weighty argument for the future of a scene which is alive and, literally, kicking.