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Field Report: Project 6 Festival 2024

Pusha T. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib. DjRUM. AJ Tracey. Nines. Guilia Tess. Manni Dee b2b Manuka Honey.

pusha t project 6 festival rap runaway london music

It's rare that a festival such as this gives you a set that feels a part of musical history: Performing the album in full for its 10th anniversary, Piñata, the first collaborative album by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, opens with a bongo instrumental, before "Scarface", hits you square in the jaw with its relentless, silky coloratura and Gibbs' whetted prickly delivery. Gibbs' peppered self-reflective tales ("Maybe you's a stank ho, maybe that's a bit mean \ Maybe you grew up and I'm still living like I'm sixteen \ Like a child running wild in these city streets") of hustling, survival, and redemption were created while he was "still in the streets" and finds a perfect match in Madlib's funk-fusion, obscuro soul-steeped production, which blends bouncy southern boom-bap beats with dusty jazz samples and psychedelic breaks. Piñata is an album that, for many of my generation along with Pusha T and Danny Brown's gnomic acerbity solidified a certain admixture of pithy trill-rap in our consciousness, flexing a wintry, italicised flow, that feels nostalgic and yet still pristine watching it play out live.

Pusha T, "Cocaine's Dr. Seuss", from his early days as one half of Clipse, as the president of G.O.O.D. Music, and now to his solo career, deserves to be in the conversation of being chiselled into modern rap's Mount Rushmore. His contribution, in my opinion, to hip-hop cannot be underplayed. Lacing his songs with an indelible style, a C.E.O. swagger, and a cadence that is somehow always menacing yet playful and entertaining, Pusha is simply one of the most formidable lyricists of his generation. He's made a career of making punchy, attention-grabbing, music, and someone at Pusha's level could easily have a fuck you attitude and just play his solo work, but his set is the definition of a crowd pleaser: after running through his hits, he drops a Clipse track, a "Mercy" flip, and finally when you hear the opening notes of "Runaway", Pusha insists the one thing he won't do on the stage is sing, we fill in the blanks. After toasting to the douchebags, and to the assholes: "Twenty-four seven, three sixty-five, pussy stays on my mind".

As the beating heart of underground music was now underway in Brockwell Park this all-encompassing showcase of cutting-edge music, brought together by Rinse FM, continued amplifying sounds from the echo-soaked dubstep of Deep Medi Musik's founder Mala, the wobbly leftfield electronic of Giulia Tess, and the harsh but deep grime sound of special guest AJ Tracey (who brought out Aitch to perform their joint-hit "Rain").

But as sun gave way to stars and moon, the sweat of sex and dance rushed in and out of pores, while the unsettled trap step of Manni Dee b2b Manuke Honey, whose main sonic influences are the eternal sex and non-linear Aymaran time concepts, lets the people sprawl with yearning aimless eyes, lets their tongues be broken, lashing against auratic landscapes of prophecy, ecstasy and a new electric eschatology born from astrological studies, and lets them descend into the luscious pathetic of desire. The entire history of erotic magic is one of possession of fear through holding it. Water-treading in isolation confession becomes a way to transmute that into an infatuable offline utopia. Manuke's hefty, industrial Latine club rhythms grind against lithe tech-flecked basslines embedded into darting dembow-flushed shakers and kicks, where the clubbing's "sacred conjuring" buckles four-to-the-floor rhythms into honeyed litanies while any distinction between guaracha, dancehall and shatta blushes into hyper-dilated presence. Ending the night with quite possibly the best live DJ I've seen, mixing exclusively white label vinyl, everytime you see Djrum, it's span-new. His selections tran-s-cend genres and eras, from the deepest dub to the most frenetic jungle rhythms, an alchemy that creates an atmosphere that's palpable — the kind that makes sweat trickle down your temples and leaves you in awe, still feeling the echoes of the previous night. There are moments of melancholy in his sound, where you find yourself looking around at your companions, soaking in the atmosphere, immersed in the present.

☾ 𖤓 ☾ ♊︎ ☽ 𖤓 ☽


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