Arriving while Sarah Love was spinning, the usual Jazz Café hip hop ambience was established with a crowd bubbling along, while the stage was busy with the set up of the Louis Den Beat Cypher, the guys from Eatgood Records were in and around the venue repping the Birmingham imprint and their connection with the Cypher, the four producers lined-up were Mr Thing, Jaisu, Apollo and Kelakovski. This moved beyond the concept of a producer battle, it was more like they brought the inspirations behind beat making to life. With four or five rounds we were gifted with beats of all types for an hour or more, the sample-flip was the final round, using the original track behind the late-night-and –lifted b-side of 2002, Nightbreed. Here it was clear to see that the final round held the crucial gems, all on stage shining with their own diverse interpretations of the tune.

After the Louis Den Beat cipher, a DJ took the crowd through quality hip hop, commercial and underground although mainly US tunes, following this half hour set came Jehst’s introduction of the headline act, the Orphans of Cush who comprised of accomplished and upcoming rappers; Kyza, Masikah, M9 and Cyrus Malachi.

On stage the album launch started like a Nasa take off, charging into Rain Blood with its deep main source bass sound, layered with switch up drum rhythms and threaded with a quietly leading piano and an ethereal vocal chorus, the music rapidly became secondary compared with the quality of the rappers, four MC’s in tight unison often backing each other on rhymes, each shining in their solo capacity as they ran through their well versed and new 9 track set.

The set had Started with octane precision, though the crowd lacked the numbers to do justice to their energy, The Orphans may have noticed but still gave 100% to create a vibrant and cohesive show. Head boppers and appreciation were noted all across the venue, the next two tunes covered the subjects of femmes followed by a cut from their new White Noize album; ‘Pop tarts’ which winds together the themes of outer beauty the music pop industries false aesthetic. Kyza ended his verse with funny punch-lines and massive presence, bouncing on stage with energy and discipline.

They strove through minor errors like the sound boy letting them down on the mic levelling, when there was a technical glitch, we were graced with an acapella flow from one of the four. When it was M9s turn he dropped a raw and cogent verse straight into the audience’s ear. This rapper evinces one of the reasons why Orphans of Cush have such a strong and distinctive sound, each of M9s well written and better rapped verses keeps the hip hop sphere turning, containing the flow structure and cadence in correlation, they seamlessly move from the street to the imagination, reality to the creative, and it’s a journey that their live performance testifies to.

When ‘Table of Elements’ dropped, Cyrus showed how dense the lyrics really get, with a Doom beat to underlay, he proved that the show as a whole balanced the depth and the essential need to talk to the crowd and take them to a new place.

Masikah was professional through every track, and his influence on the group is immeasurable, they needed to turn his mic up to give him the full impact. Mixing between scholars and spitters, his passion for knowledge would serve most other MC’s well. He brings philosophy, religion and informed opinion on to tracks, it is something to look forward to on further listening to their album White Noize.

Although they have separate projects, as a group they seem to be focused on bringing real and quality hip hop live and on CD, so seeing them at the Jazz Café let me see the each of their talents is shared among a greater idea than the individual. I was left with the impression that as a live set they could give no more and succeeded in all their tracks, the only thing needed to make that jam go mad at an hour of London’s rawest and real hip hop, was more people in the audience.

Buy Orphans Of Cush - White Noize

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