Soweto Kinch’s London Launch for War In A Rack EP [Event Review]

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Being a Hip Hop MC and a saxophone player, Soweto Kinch has tried to bridge the gap between the Hip Hop and jazz genres to create his own unique sound for both types of audiences. Held last Sunday at Richmix in Shoreditch, London, this launch event was a showcase of his talent and ability to reach his target demographic whilst still aiming to bring in new fans to his music with samples from his new EP, War In A Rack.

Soweto and his core quartet started the show with an original jazz composition called “Never Ending”. It showcased his saxophone playing flair and combined with the quartet, made a beautiful piece of stirring jazz music. The problem though was that there was no real narrative throughout the arrangement. I lost concentration and it just felt like an unhinged jamming session.

Soweto then went into some audience participation and a range of freestyles to give us a taste of his vivid flow, his personality, his inventiveness and his expressive lyrics. One of the highlights of these freestyles was the word association freestyle in which he picks a word and gets various members of the audience to pick a word for each letter of that specific word. The word he picked was ‘launch’ and he created a full freestyle around this word. Witty, innovative, real and full of personality – the freestyles showed him in full swing as an artist in his element.

Then we were treated to some tracks from the EP which revealed Soweto getting back to his roots in Hip Hop, jazz and reggae. One track, “Sound the Alert”, reverted back to the popular reggae hooks from back in the day. He used this song to engage the audience in some call and response for the chorus. His flow and lyrics were direct and combined with the instrumental vehicle of his quartet, made a riveting throwback song to his Caribbean roots. Another track from the EP, “Can’t Hold Me Down”, had him singing on the chorus which bonded well with his expressive lyrics. If marketed correctly, it could be a success for him.

All in all, this gig was a triumph in the sense that it got his music out there in a way that record labels haven’t been able to, as well as demonstrate his talent and skills to a new army of fans. However, he does have a long way to go on his journey as an artist and in honing his new style of music. He’s definitely on the right path to winning his War in a Rack…

War in a Rack is out now on Soweto Kinch Productions [click to buy on iTunes].

Reviewed by Kamran Assadi

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