Kano & Mikey J – Not 4 the A List Special @ILuvLive | Event Review

If you weren’t at ILUVLIVE on Monday, you missed out. You probably already knew that before the doors opened though, from the second you saw the line-up; after all, it isn’t often that two of UK music’s finest take the stage on the same night, let alone share it. But ILUVLIVE pulled out all the stops for a special in which Kano and Mikey J presented his recently released free EP, Not 4 the A List.

Regardless of how high anticipation was, the crowd buzzing in apprehension, there isn’t much that could have prepared us for what went down. Following on from being nicely warmed up by Roses Gabor – who performed club riddims the likes of ‘Pharoahs’ and ‘Stupid’ – Ghetts took to the stage.

Drink in hand, he warned the crowd that he had lost his voice. And within seconds of beginning his performance, it was easy to see why he had. Belting out his lyrics at the top of his lungs, the grime emcee managed to arouse a crowd that is generally not too easily impressed. “I know you may see me in Westfields, Stratford” he joked, in-between prancing around the stage, quick fire bars spat out in a hoarse voice that worked undeniably well for him.

Having invited numerous individuals onto the stage with him to add their own verses, including London rapper Lights, the feel good vibes in the air were palpable. Crowd seething in excitement the cheers and the gun fingers in the air reached a fever pitch, involuntarily rocking bodies building off the energy that Ghetts spread like wildfire into the air.

After a short break, Kano took to the stage, greeted by a frenzy of cheers and salivating girls. Explaining the concept behind Not 4 the A List he explained how the whole purpose of it was to have fun with the music, the way he used to when he was younger and first starting out in the industry. “This isn’t for radio play,” he went on to explain. “It’s not with any end goal in mind… it was just a way for us to have fun with it.”

And that is exactly what they did. Turning the stage into their own personal playground Kano and Mikey J vibed out to the music, performing tracks the likes of “East London Madness,” and “Alien” with all the passion they could muster up.

And the crowd responded. Having released four albums and countless mixtapes, if you had any doubt that Kano is a respected veteran in the game, disbelievers were silenced last night.

This was further cemented when man of the minute Wretch 32 joined him on stage for his verse on the recently released “E.T.,” which also features Wiley and Scorcher who weren’t in attendance on the night.

But a definite highlight of the night was when Kano re-invited a by now thoroughly intoxicated Ghetts onto the stage for “House of Pain” where the duo promptly sat themselves down on the makeshift stools to deliver the poignant and heartfelt lyrics of the track. A very emotional moment.

When a generally laid-back host Ras Kwame urged an encore, Kano, Ghetts and entourage reappeared onto the stage even coaxing a blast from the past Napper on the stage to recite his reload worthy lyrics from “Pow”. Proceeding to battle, they brought back old school lyrics in a reload game whose purpose was to test whether the other could complete the sentence. And when ILUVLIVE staff appeared from every corner, camera phones whipped out to capture the moment – you had no doubt that what you were witnessing was special.

“This is a defining moment,” Ghetts repeated numerous times throughout the night. And he’s right. It felt like history being made.

Visit iluvlive.co.uk for details on their next event.

Photography by Neil Raja.