I couldn’t tell you exactly how many hip hop gigs I’ve played, but if I had to guess it’d be in the hundreds.
Recently I touched on some of the craziest gigs I’ve performed and the lessons learnt along the way.
This blog I’m going to share my experience of the 1st time I attended an event called Rock the Block.
Badass boom bap – hip hop gigs
It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.
The 1st time I attended Rock the Block at Hustle and Flow Bar in Redfern.
The place is DOPE. A comfy bar in Redfern, Hustle and Flow Bar runs regular hip hop gigs on a weekly basis. From a feature wall of speakers to the massive canvases of OG’s like Biggie and Snoop lining the walls. DJ’s, emcees, breakers and diehard hip hop heads frequent this rap gig bonanza.
Let me backtrack for a moment and tell you how I found this haven.
Catapult to next level hip hop gigs
It’s quite funny how it all happened.
I had been poached from my regular event – Spoken Vibes – about 6 months prior to attending Rock the Block the 1st time.
I’d just rocked a set at Vibes, had said my goodbyes and headed out the front. This random dude ran out after me and stopped me outside. He proceeded to tell me about a hip hop night he hosted called Rock the Block and how I should come down and spit some bars.
He said his name was Izzy.
Anyone who knows Izzy knows that he chases no one. Shout outs to Izzy.
It took me about 6 months to actually go down and check the night out. I kept running into this guy at hip hop gigs and hearing the name of the event he hosted through the grapevine. Rock the Block – turns out this place was buzzing in the underground.
rap gigs – Boom bap bangers
It was time I checked this place out for myself. My and girl went down one Wednesday to check it out and it was lit. Another catalyst in my life.
A dude making live, dope boom bap beats on the MPC was the 1st thing I saw when I entered the venue. Shout outs to Mumbles. Behind him the feature wall of speakers. The place was popping and the vibe was electric.
2 mics were being rotated on the stage and I just knew I had found something special.
Izzy was on the stage in all his glory and we smiled at each other. I had finally made it.
Back in this point of my hip hop career, I didn’t freestyle. Meaning I didn’t rhyme off the top. I hadn’t freestyled since I was a teenager.
A big element of Rock the block is about coming off the top and flexing your skills on the mic in the cypher. In saying that, there are no rules that say one must come off the top to rock a mic at Rock the Block. As long as you’ve got bars.
As I said: I didn’t come off the top back then. But your boi has always had bars.
I grabbed the mic and spat one of the best written verses I had at the time. The crowd vibed hard. The energy was absolutely electric.
So this was it – Rock the Block! It had not only lived up to the hype, but far exceeded it. Open mic cyphers, live boom bap and also a couple of sets from some emcees on the bill. It was amazing.
It was like B Rabbit in 8 mile in the final battle. That was the atmosphere. Incredible.
I was buzzing so hard when I left. My body was filled with positive sensations and a love of life. I was high from the energy.
I remember turning to my girl and saying:
“If my music never takes off, this is enough”
That’s how powerful it was for me. I’ve since changed my tune a little but at that point in time, that’s exactly how I felt.
The underground hip hop scene in Sydney is alive and well and Rock the Block is the hip hop mecca. For me anyway.
That was about 2 and half years ago and I go to Rock the Block as often as I can. It’s on Wednesday nights every week – in normal times.
That place elevated my spit game. I now come off the top on a regular basis and the ability to freestyle has impacted both my song-writing and stage presence in a positive way.
Shout outs to the crew at Rock the Block, the Sydney underground and all my people supporting my journey. Big shout out to my boi Nigel who runs Hustle and Flow Bar in Redfern (Rock the Block HQ).
Special mention to my Aunty Ros, all my family, friends and a very special mention to my girl Angel.