Lord knows it’s taken its time getting here, but summer is about to get hectic. Festival season has arrived and that’s sick, but huge weekenders in a field often involve spunking half a month’s wages in 3 days and completely losing one’s mind. So, in addition to all that goodness, we’re endeavouring in 2019 to smash out some recommendations for the nicest and hypest events this summer that the discerning fan of booms, baps and flows can attend without questioning reality for a week and needing to take out a payday loan afterwards.

Enter St Paul’s Carnival… While London cousin Notting Hill may claim boasting rights as the biggest street party in Europe, with a seismic million attendees, St Paul’s packs a unique punch. First off, 100,000 people attending is not a number to be sniffed at. Anyone who’s ever had the time of their life at an intimate rave and also experienced losing the fam in a crush of bodies at Notting hill will understand that at some point the relationship between how many people are in a place and how epic it is, becomes negligible. Secondly, if you are a hip hop fan, St Paul’s is definitely the one for you. 

At a time when hip hop nights in the capital are dwindling, victim to the unstoppable united forces of grime, drill and UK rap, hip hop is experiencing a renaissance in almost every other cultural hub across the country. It’d be hard to name a city where that was more true than Bristol. The presence that the genre has at this year’s event is testament to how much hip hop is a part of the city’s cultural heartbeat in 2019.

Pivotal in curarting the acts to grace the Soundsystem that shouts the loudest on this year’s Windrush/Ujima Stage at the St Paul’s Learning centre is Ujima radio’s Krazy. As a Longstanding champion of all things hip hop in Bristol, it’s no surprise that the line-up he’s put together is expertly packed with talent that reps the genre hard.

With assorted reggae influenced vibes dominating the afternoon, the Bristol Rising Stars set at 5.25pm serves up the first taste of hip hop in the form of High Breed, Komposa and The Scribes. Right after at 6.30pm Harts Hozè takes the stage with bars from the trap-side.

From here on in things get pretty relentlessly sick…

AFT Raps signing Rogue and Relly, dropped an album, Let Them Know, last year that was all killer. Barsman Relly may be at the start of building his discography but at the core of his lyricism pulses an old school mastery of flow that makes him a rare breed in 2019. Catch him at 6.50pm.

A look through the acts this year, reveal AFT extended family to be there in force. Billy Whizz seems to be popping up wherever we look lately. We’ve also recommended his takeover as essential scheduling in our hip hop guide to Nozstock recently. His 7pm set at carnival might be a bit shorter but that hasn’t stopped the DJ rolling deep with an impressive line of guests MCs including G00SE and Jinxsta plus fellow AFT signings Press1, & Twizzy. Blacksmith is also allegedly due to perform on the World Dance Stage lending further hip hop hype to the label, in addition to more bass driven appearances to be found elsewhere courtesy of AFT’s more ravey wing.

Another exceptional talent from Bris on the verge of gaining deserved recognition, Wish Master will be rocking over boom bap rhythms between 7.30 and 7.45pm. Visual releases/singles from Wish this year have all been strong and newest LP Boom Bap to the Future is fire.

Silly rumours earlier in the year that maybe Bristol kings Split Prophets had finished have been firmly dispelled from all camps. Nonetheless, with members making impressive solo moves, starting labels and the like, catching them all in the same spot nowadays is more of a rarity. Which makes catching them shutting down the Windrush stage at 7.45pm on Saturday all the more essential.

After a quiet spell for the last few years in terms of releases, Bristol’s own soundman-supreme Buggsy has resurfaced and announced a tonne of new material. 3 separate projects soon to come include a grime project and the third and final instalment of the MCs widely renowned Great Escape releases. With the spirit of Soundsystem culture at the centre of Buggsy’s music and St Paul’s being home ground for the rapid-fire lyricist, his performance at 8.30pm is guaranteed to be something special.

What else…
(Yes ukhh.com keeps things strictly hip hop but the goodness below is also unmissable)

The Message:
The theme of this year’s carnival is ‘Our Journey’ and has honouring the Windrush generation at its centre.
The Procession:
 A 1,000 people strong movement of dance, costume and mobile soundsystems rolling from 12:00 start to 17:00
The Food:
Caribbean flavours keeping things suitably hot as well as other tastes and aromas from all over the world.
Eclectic sounds:
Beyond the mountain of fuel for hip hop fans this year, there is an ocean of music from across the globe. Caribbean sounds and afrobeat in abundance as well as performances from some of Bristol’s biggest names in grime and drum n bass.
The After Parties:
They’re all over the place, with (amongst others) Trinity Centre, Lakota, Malcolm X Centre and The Moon Club all hosting heavy line ups.