Stalley at Vibe Bar, London | Live Review

As people trickled into East London’s Vibe Bar on Brick Lane last Friday night (December 2nd), anticipation was clearly in the air for the performances that Trapstar London had put together, in a somewhat impromptu manner. With Maybach Music Group’s Stalley headlining, soon the first floor room was filled up to the hilt while DJ Snips spun an enjoyable mix of jams.

Running slightly behind time, West London rapper Ash Catch’em took to the stage, his presence just as immense as his stature. With DJ CWD on the decks, Ash jumped straight into “Smoking Ciggys” in an assured and entertaining manner. Bouncing into his next track, “On My Wave,” and was again really nice on the mic and easy going; my second time seeing him perform live I couldn’t help but draw Run DMC comparisons to his vibe.

As thrown together as the night felt, the ambience in the room was really stripped back and somewhat grassroots. You could tell that those present were just as eager to see the homegrown talent as they were to see Stalley.

Marijuana scents permeated the space and a short notice concerning the presence of security was announced, as next London support act rapper ItsNate took to the stage. Confident and smooth with it, Nate ensured everyone remembered to “Never Ask” (and) “Take Everything.” Soon after, Ash Catch’em rejoined him on stage, the camaraderie present between them taking energy levels in the room even higher.

Without a doubt, final opening act London Hip Hip crew Piff Gang totally owned. Overwhelming the stage with all the members of their collective; they launched into a lively rendition of “Milk Gang” and “Blue Slims.” Their presence was immense and they went a step further taking energy levels up another notch. Despite the inadequacy of the microphones Piff Gang soldiered on performing, with dynamism, favourites such as Bag of “Piff” and “Fuck A Paigon.” Closing on a high, the crew performed anthem “MHC” – the perfect precursor to Maybach Music’s Stalley.

The crowd exuberant and applauding raucously, the Lincoln Way Nights emcee took to the stage donning an emblazoned Trapstar hoodie (a pick from their latest collection) in the balmy heat of the Truman Brewery cavity.

Really going in with the quality and finesse of his performance, Stalley performed tracks such as “She Hates The Bass” and “Hard” off his tape Lincoln Way Nights with the crowd fully tuned in and bouncing along with him. Passionately he transitioned into “330,” repping his city in the upper-level room in London; his ability to keep the audience engrossed not lost, as he reveled in some chanting of his area code.

The likes of UK rappers MegaSAS and Master Shortie were in attendance; with the latter commenting on Stalley: “He has he’s own sound and he’s very secure. [Since the time] he sold me my very first ‘A life’ jacket he still has the same sound. [Even after] signing to Meek Mill and then MMG he’s stayed in his own lane [and you know] he’s very secure.”

The robustness of Stalley’s flow made for truly a captivating performance, taking us through his narrative from track to track. His rendition of “Slapp” featured the Ohio native filling the room with easy going sonical goodness nicely matched by his pacing rap.

Also performing “Shop/Lincoln Way Nights” and “Hercules,” all in all it was an impressive and engaging debut performance from the Rick Ross-signed artist. Although the night came to a natural ending, judging from the crowd Stalley could have continued performing all night – that’s just how smooth his delivery was and it definitely left me pining for more.

If you haven’t listened to Stalley’s Lincoln Way Nights mixtape yet, download here.

Be sure to also get your hands on:
+ Piff Gang’s Piff Breaks & 808s
+ ItsNate’s Never Ask Take Everything
+ Ash Catch’em’s Baileys & Blunts

Photos by Henry Mame from PHDLDN