After tearing through London and Liverpool, ‘This Is Hip Hop’ brought the Genius of the Wu Tang Clan to Manchester for the last leg of his UK tour to perform the classic hip hop album that is ‘liquid swords’. UKHH was in attendance to check out the ‘Wu’s chess master’ showcase, why after nearly 20 years his material is still as relevant and dope as it always was.

Upon arrival it was easy to see that this was going to be an intense experience. The venue wasn’t the biggest so the place was full from the start of the night which meant gradually pushing to the front throughout the evening to get that perfect spot for the Gza.

First support act on stage was Manchester’s very own F.O.A.K bringing full on Mancunian flavour to the table. Consisting of two emcees (The V and DQ), F.O.A.K tore through track after track warming the crowd up nicely before finishing on ‘hour glass’ which is a nod to all independent artists trying to make it in a major-label dominated industry. The crowd were really responsive to F.O.A.K which showed that they have a strong local following which is only looking to expand for the two lads.

Up next was another Manchester based artist named D’lyfa Reilly accompanied by partner in rhyme Red IQ. These young spitters instantly impressed with their dark boom bappy sounds and composed flow. They opted to perform brand new material that they claimed ‘not even their mates had heard’ coming from the forthcoming ep entitled ‘Raw Potential’. Mark my words these kids are going to really flourish in the years to come and look to be an exciting prospect for the Manchester rap scene. For evidence, check out D’lyfa Reilly’s video ‘the path’ on Youtube. Watch out for this guy.

As the night went on the venue started to become disgustingly sweaty (perfect conditions for a wu-tang gig) and there was still time for one more live act before ‘Mr Iron Mic’ was set to step on stage.

Natural Curriculum, made up of DJ Omas, emcees Chalk, Bill Sykes, Joey average, Dayse and beatboxer Jammbox came on to perform an ill set consisting of DJ trickery, crazy beatbox dubs and bangers/local favourites such as ‘Paint of a man’ which naturally made all the graf heads in the building go nuts. TNC delivered a superb 30 minutes of hip hop which brought the crowd to fever pitch but you could tell at this point all the people wanted were for the GGGG-ZA to come on and tear the mic to pieces.

The atmosphere intensified during the run up to Gza’s entrance as the DJ spun a bunch of classic east coast cuts culminating in the Genius coming on stage kicking a dope freestyle just to remind those who forgot who the master is. The set consisted of 90% of the tracks on ‘Liquid Swords’ even including meth’s verses on ‘Shadowboxin’ and ‘Living In The World Today’.

Highlights were of course ‘Liquid Swords’ which sent the crowd insane with the shorter fans suffering as they looked on to see nothing more than a sea of hands shaped in the mighty W symbol. He also managed to cram some 36 chambers classics in as well spitting his legendary verse from Wu banger ‘Clan In Da Front’.

The Gza, one who just represents the wu-tang click

with the game and soul of an old school flick

A philosopher, a chess master and a lyrical sage of our generation are all titles fit for this man and the way he represented himself in Manchester was nothing short of breathtaking. For a dude in his mid 40s he was still able to show emcees half his age how it is done and it was great to see Wu tang still living on in the flesh. A true inspiration and a physical embodiment of what we know as hip hop today. WU-TANG GO SUUUUUUUUUUUUUU…..

This Is Hip Hop are bringing the Heavy Metal Kings (Vinnie Paz & Ill Bill) to Manchester and London next week. Check the event guide for the full detail

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