A look at Loski’s career shows it to be perhaps one of the most unexpected progressions from a UK rapper in the last few years. From his roots as a member of the drill collective Harlem Spartans who burst onto the scene in 2016 with music that had refreshingly new levels of energy and aggression, the south London native has since established himself as a versatile and reliable fixture in the current landscape.
The release of ‘Forrest Gump’ in 2018 marked a transition for Loski from these harsh drill sounds to more upbeat and vibrant afrobeat influences and also signaled a high-water mark for his career which proved even more remarkable considering his young age of only 18 at the time. A year on and with the release of a new mixtape Mad Move and an eponymous tour, Loski seems set to solidify his position in the game.
DigDat provided the brief support act, performing his breakout tune ‘Air Force’ to a decent reception before abruptly making way for the main man. After a slightly delayed entrance, Loski comes on stage to hefty cheers. He starts the show by quickly running through the tracklist of his latest mixtape, with obvious highlights including ‘Calm Down’, ‘Something New’ and ‘Live Like That’. Despite a relatively low-key stage presence, the rapping was generally pretty tight, but some moments fell flat when the audience’s participation was not as impressive when the mic was turned to them.
The crowd is beginning to warm up and the introduction of Manchester native Aitch to perform two dynamic songs stirred them even more. His stage presence and sharp delivery got everyone energetic with Loski returning to go through some of his back-catalogue. The older drill tunes like ‘Money and Beef’ and ‘Hazards’ were standout and their gritty energy made an emphatic impact, especially as DigDat re-joined for their recent collaboration ‘No Cap’ making up for his short initial cameo with a lively performance. A fight within the crowd put a dampener on the closing track ‘Forrest Gump’ which everyone was clearly looking forward to and Loski left after a quick thank you to the audience for the turnout.
Overall, while he is clearly on a wave of momentum at the moment and the inclusion of guests definitely livened up the performance as a whole, the lack of stage presence from all parties made the show a rather tame affair. Certain songs definitely made more of an impact than others largely thanks to an excitable crowd who provided significant support to the songs and their impact. However, this performance generally did not display Loski as an artist hungry to capitalise on his rising popularity in the scene, instead, it seemed to highlight one of the worst characteristics a live show can have – complacency.