On Thursday night the Birmingham O2 Academy played host to Spotify’s sold out Who We Be event. Skippered by the deft mixes of DJ Semtex, the 3,000 strong crowd was brimming with energy way before any MC had stepped on the stage, and with a line up consisting of Mabel, Yungen, Ms Banks, Nines, Jaykae and Sneakbo it was going to be a guaranteed shut down.
The first MC to kick off proceedings was Koomz, who’s responsible for the infectious banger “Mariah” that took over the airwaves at the beginning of the year and was premiered on our channel. The crowd were eagerly waiting for somewhere to channel their energies and Koomz was the first welcoming recipient of the electric atmosphere; as they heartily sang back every word of “Mariah” and lapped up every second of his exclusive showcase of an unreleased track.
The interludes between artists were in the safe and capable hands of DJ Semtex who insured that the levels never dropped below fever pitch as he spun modern classics like “No Words” and “KMT” with riotous responses each time.
With an event of this magnitude and with an organiser with the pull of Spotify, you’ve got to expect some sort of surprise performances to be on the cards, and they most certainly delivered. Determined to once again silence the critics after his performance at the Capital FM Summertime Ball, Ramz was the first big surprise guest to face the raucous Brum crowd. Ramz, with steely resolve delivered a flawless performance and unsurprisingly got countless wheel ups for “Barking”, but the 21 year old also debunked the one hit wonder myth simultaneously as the crowd sang “Family Tree” back to him with almost the same gusto they had done for “Barking”.
One of the biggest reactions of the night was reserved for one of the other surprise guests of the night, a hometown performance from Lotto Boyzz who hit the stage with “Facetime Me” but quickly realised the occasion definitely called for “Birmingham” and “No Don”; as soon as the respective instrumentals dropped mosh pits ensued as the crowd emphatically sang back each word.
The final surprise performance was an appearance from super producer Steel Banglez, who gave everyone the first listen of his new single “Your Lovin” featuring Yxng Bane and MØ-which is a clear sign post that Rated Awards producer of year is destined for super stardom in the pop world, something most would have thought impossible for a producer who started out making grime.
The glittering starting line-up of performers all blessed the crowd with high octane sets; as the likes of Ms Banks, Sneakbo, Jaykae, Yungen and Nines all raised the roof with a selection of their classic cuts. Hometown favourite Jaykae deftly moved through his strong 8 track EP Where Have you been with “Moscow” and “Toothache” sending the audience into wild outbursts of ecstasy. As well as doing fan favourite “Bestie” Yungen did several of his Sneakbo assisted tracks, and even unveiled a new one, which turned out to be his remix of Swarmz’s “Lyca”.
Nina’s laid back effortless performances of “CR” and latest hit “I see you shining” was another highlight from a show filled with enough Instagrammable moments to rinse 10 iPhone batteries. Mabel’s angelic vocal prowess was the perfect break from all the hype, offsetting the tempo with some super smooth note perfect performances of “Finders Keepers” & “Fine Line”. After setting the bar this high, the next Who We Be Show is surely not one to be missed.