Back to the City – what went down!

Hip Hop came alive at Mary Fitzgerald Square as Newtown hosted the 7th annual Back To The City (Africa’s biggest Hip Hop festival).

The organisers have to be commended on the use of the much bigger venue space. Unlike previous years where the event was hosted under the bridge, leaving folk feeling like packed sardines, the square allowed free movement and attracted a larger crowd. Talking about crowds, I truly loved the beautiful diversity of all in attendance, from different races and age groups – people really came out in numbers in the love for Hip Hop.

The fashion added a great dynamic to the festival, from high end fashion from N.O.T.E Clothing as well as a mixture of upcoming urban streetwear brands. The graffiti on display was breath taking but a big highlight for me was in the form of RedBull’s Beat Battle. Good Lord did the beatmakers have monsters of beats on show (had a darkie like me mumbling raps). Amongst the performances that stood out was Fratpack, trust me when I say they got next. Pitch Black Afro, ProVerb (let it be known Verb is one of the dopest live acts on the continent) and Abdus bought his A game as usual. The live band Future History were amazing despite challenges with sound. Reason, Perfecto and Tumi held it down given the time limit.

I’m slightly annoyed that the time management of the performances were not on point though. For instance, Reason was scheduled to perform for 25 minutes, instead he performed two songs. The majority of the audience had traveled from far lands to see Reason and Tumi perform, and they deserved more than 2 songs. My heart broke for GingerTRILL – homey stood helplessly backstage since 6pm till the festival ended and he didn’t get a chance to perform.

International guests EMC were okay, but could’ve been doper had the sound been a bit better. (Dear sound company, please could you refund Osmic as your services in the second half of the festival were not up to par). The cries from some of the performers about the bad sound fell on deaf ears. Back To The City is not a hip hop session in the hood where bad sound is a norm. It’s a world class festival that I love seeing grow! Big ups to all the sponsors as well as Osmic for a bigger and better festival.

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