Review: Spotify Who We Be @ Victoria Warehouse

After huge success in London and Birmingham, Spotify brought its Who We Be playlist to life on Friday night at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, celebrating the very best in Rap, Grime and R&B.

The acts represented some of the biggest names in home grown talent and the most popular acts from the biggest urban playlist in the UK and Ireland.

The night was hosted by DJ Ellie Prohan, who had the task of hyping up the crowd before the Grime stars took to the stage, a task she made seem like a walk in the park, with her cheers and appreciation from the audience outweighing that of what some of the big names received.

One of the first acts of the night, Liverpool rapper Aystar proved why he is one of the key figures in the Scouse music scene. Performing his hit Dippin’ From The Cops with fellow rapper Kingsley he set the tone for the remainder of the night.

LA based rapper and record producer Doja Cat united old fans and new fans alike after taking to the stage following her 2018 comeback. In between performing her tracks, such as Juicy, she paused to take a second to make sure her “bad bitches” weren’t being squashed into “bad bitch sandwiches” on the front row after fans became fired up and surged forward.

Entering his ninth year in music, North London based rapper Tion Wayne shows no signs of slowing down. Fans were treated to a host of special guests, with his most popular song of the night being Keisha & Becky as Wayne’s “squad” ‘NSG’ and Aitch swarmed the stage to help him perform.

Many acts brought surprise guests to the show to share the stage with them, but the biggest surprise of the night, by far, came from the self-proclaimed ‘King of the North’ Bugzy Malone, as he burst on to the stage unannounced to a thunderous reaction from the crowd. He performed a 30-minute set of some of his most well-known Manchester anthems.

Much to the frustration of many fans, Malone and Aitch failed to perform their smash hit Kilos, however, Malone’s surprise appearance alone was enough to make the event a huge success amongst Grime fans.

The events main act was none other than 19-year-old Aitch. 2019 has been the year of Aitch and on Friday we saw him return to his hometown of Manchester with multi-genre artist ZieZie in tow to perform their career defining single Buss Down. Despite only releasing their latest single French Kisses a matter of hours before the event it was a huge hit with the 3,500 strong crowd, with many already knowing it word for word.

The widely recognised intro to Aitch’s single Taste generated the loudest reaction of the night, as no one was able to contain their excitement at hearing it live for the first time for many people.

After collaborating with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jaykae in 2019 alone, Aitch has cemented himself as one of the UK’s most exciting talents.

The Who We Be playlist has grown substantially since its launch and is now the UK’s largest Rap, Grime and R&B playlist, with more than half a million followers. 2017 saw the launch of Who We Be live in London, returning in 2018 and expanding to Birmingham. Friday was the first ever Who We Be live hosted in Manchester and after its immense success, I can’t see it being the last.

If the event ever does return and you get the opportunity to go, it’s definitely not one to miss.

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