HIGH Focus have built a reputation on dragging UK hip hop back to its barest form and showcasing raw talent. Their show at the Dome didn’t disappoint.
First up was Jam Baxter. With a basic set up of just him and a DJ, Baxter has no frills to hide behind. But showcasing a rare creativity and infectious enthusiasm, Baxter nailed the opening slot, exuding wit and humility.
Despite their boundless energy, Four Owls’ set fell short of the standard of the night. Relying on worn-out methods of call and response to energise the crowd, there was little substance to their set. Although they were let down by the sound system, a lack of cohesiveness and slick flow made their set feel far too long.
Headliner Ocean Wisdom was by far the highlight of the night. With a stage manner that is both cocky and endearing he combined double-time rap reminiscent of the greats Busta Rhymes and Eminem with a modern swagger and grimier edge than his contemporaries.
Spitting his raw, diary-like lyrics with machine-gun ferocity, it was easy to see why Ocean Wisdom is going places. The set timings seemed way off, however, and due to the Dome’s curfew his set was far too short.