Like many of the best new festivals in Britain today, Nozstock grew from humble beginnings. Initially founded as a rag-tag gathering for the Nosworthy family and their friends, the event has evolved into a major player in the UK festival calendar. Now in its 21st (official) year, Nozstock has played host to major acts like De La Soul, the Buzzcocks and The Proclaimers. And even though it’s now grown to a 5000 person capacity, the festival still rocks the homegrown, down-to-earth appeal.
The festival now boasts nine stages, covering everything from DnB legends like DJ Zinc to an all-female prog Morris dancing outfit (yes, that’s a thing). Hip hop heads, in particular, are spoiled for choice. From major UK figures to rising stars, this year’s lineup is beyond sick.
But we know how difficult it can be staying on schedule at a festival, especially after several pints. That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide to the hip hop acts gracing the stages at Nosworthy Farm this year. You’re welcome!
The Heavy Hitters:
Everyone’s favourite reprobate, Jam Baxter comes to the Hidden Valley this year to simultaneously enthral and repulse anyone caught in his crossfire. The rapper has a well-earned reputation for raucous live shows and his Garden Stage set promises to be no exception. You’ve been warned!
Fellow Dead Player, Dabbla will also grace the Garden Stage. To say we’re hyped about this set would be a gross understatement. Asides from dropping one of the best albums of last year, Dabbla has been tearing up festivals from Iceland to Australia. Expect rapid-fire bars with surgical precision and a healthy dose of toilet humour.
Few artists can hold claim to cult status in the UK scene after dropping just one album, but then few people have done as much for hip hop as Skinnyman. One of the illest rappers to grace any festival lineup, Skinnyman should be a priority for any hip hop head.
Can’t decide between hip hop or drum n bass? Get yourself along to Inja’s set for a dose of both. The outspoken rapper, poet and activist has worked with everyone from Delegates of Culture to Task Force to Logistics. Expect breakneck bars spat over dirty basslines and old-skool jungle beats.
Joe Burn & Skitz
Emcee all-rounder Joe Burn will join long-time DJ and producer (and his actual Godfather) Skitz on the Garden Stage for the best sound system infused hip hop on Friday. A match made in hip hop heaven, expect grimy bars and basslines as wobbly as a jellyfish on ketamin.
No strangers to the Valley, the ultimate Nozstock hip hop roster wouldn’t quite be complete without these delinquents. Originally formed round the corner in Hereford, the crew of MCs consisting of Chillman, Entra-P, G00SE and Coosie are sure to draw a crowd. Last year they demolished a Garden Stage set and shot the below video for ‘Takin’ Over’ onsite.
And a few hollas more…
As if that weren’t enough, there’s a whole bunch of artists taking to stages across Nozstock rocking their own hip hop infused sound. Style straddling DJ and the man behind Suspect Packages Disorda will be gracing the decks. For something more wordy, Natty Speaks will be popping up literally all over the place and Lyrix Organix will be in full effect purveying poetry with punch. Whether it’s the face-melting proto-punk, breakbeat and grime mix of Pengshui, or the dubby stylings of Bristol lyricist Gardna with neo-roots reggae Eva Lazarus, you’ll find hints of hip hop in every corner of Nosworthy Farm.
Oh yeah and Soul II Soul are playing on the main stage…
Plus some INSANE Takeovers:
While the list of acts above are definitely something to shout about, Nozstock is notorious for playing host to barn-storming (literally on some stages) takeovers spanning every corner of a bass driven universe. So this guide wouldn’t be complete without our selection of the essentials for the discerning hip hop fan…
Of course, we might be slightly biased but we’d argue the UKHH Friday takeover of the Bullpen should be top of the list for anyone craving their fix of sick hip hop. This year, we’re proud to be playing host to some of the most exciting underground acts in the UK today.
Scene veteran Brotherman will be headlining, delivering culturally conscious lyricism set to the laid back beats of his trademark boom-bap sound. Riding the momentum from last year’s Huckleberry EP, the London-Caribbean emcee is primed to take off this year and his Bullpen show could be the launchpad.
Warming things up, relentlessly ridiculous emcee George Bucks will team up with Mick Swagger on the decks (and additional mic duties) to spit some of the dopest bars of the festival. The two rappers have been dropping bangers all year (cop our take on Swagger’s debut Villianaire here) and their set promises to kickstart your Friday.
For the rotten beef at the centre of this poisonous sandwich… Kent-based crew Backward Sun occupy the middle of the takeover with their brand of down and dirty boom bap. Expect debauchery on a scale usually reserved for Motley Crüe after-shows and Roman orgies.
Billy Whizz & Friends
Sometimes fate just does you a solid. For hip hop heads at Nozstock on Friday, one such serendipitous turn of events comes when our takeover finishes in the Bullpen. And you have to go absolutely nowhere!
To say that pillar of the Bristol scene, Billy Whizz, has outdone himself with the array of talent he’s bringing with him is definitely an understatement.
AFT Raps labelmates deservedly have a dominating presence. Press1, Twizzy and Ambush Tactics will all be flying the flag, as well as an appearance from style hopping AFT head-honcho Carasel (also playing his own probably more DnB orientated set later in the festival).
Add in performances from In The Balance signing and Verbal Highz angry-bird G00SE, Jinxta JX and rising barsman Wishmaster and this onslaught of Bristol based beats and bars is guaranteed gold.
And a Few More Hollas More…
If we were going to mention all the DnB Takeovers here also featuring hazardously ill spitters, this article might double in size. For those hungry for more hip hop influenced sounds though, Played Out Records should be bringing them in abundance. Details on who CW Jones will be bringing to the stage as part of his Bone Dry Records takeover have eluded us but it would be safe to expect something that pushes the musical boundaries of hip hop. Finally masters of breaks and dangerously funky basslines, Ghetto Funk Allstars, will no doubt have a piff selection of rap stylings permeating their set.
If that lineup doesn’t get your hip hop senses tingling like Michael Gove’s nostrils, we don’t know what will. On top of all this, there are hundreds of other acts scheduled to perform at Nozstock 2019. Reggae, punk, soul, techno, electronica, DnB and every other genre in between; whatever your bag, it’s safe to say Nozstock has it covered.
So come join us getting wobbly to our top picks, shooting some exclusive footage and just basking in the general anarchy that is Nozstock.
Nozstock takes place in Hereford’s Hidden Valley from Thursday, 18 July to Sunday, 21 July. Tickets are almost sold out, but you can still grab yours here.