Two worlds collide for a legendary one-night-only event as Giggs and Diddy come to town.
When it was announced that US hip-hop icon and mogul Diddy would be co-headlining an intimate show at 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire alongside UK legend Giggs, there was a mad frenzy for tickets. It was an event that could have been held in any venue across the country but Giggs and Diddy wanted an intimate party setting, whilst donating the proceeds to charity.
Tickets were sold in aid of two important charities for the Black British community: Sickle Cell Society and Black Minds Matter. The former raises funds for those affected by Sickle Cell, while the latter is a mental health charity aimed at supporting the Black community in accessing therapy.
Giggs got the evening started with a flurry of early classics like ‘3 Wheel-ups’, ‘Man Don’t Care’, ‘Lock ‘Doh’ and ‘KMT’.
Hit after hit from Giggs was a stark reminder of his legendary status in UK music. He is a big reason that once underground sounds have become global, with tonight further evidence of that by co-headlining a show with Diddy.
The lights dimmed and anticipation to see Diddy had reached boiling point. ‘I’m Coming Home’ played over the speakers and instantly the crowd went into a frenzy.
A spotlight shone on the stage and Diddy arrived in a suave white jacket whilst performing ‘Victory’. The classic rap track managed to raise the energy even higher, which didn’t seem possible after the Giggs masterclass.
The US hip-hop icon went on to perform tracks like ‘Bad Boy 4 Life’, ‘Hate Me Now’ and ‘Been Around the World.’ Diddy’s section ended with a rendition of ‘Missing You’, with the audience singing the classic Faith Evans hook.
Giggs joined Diddy onstage for a live debut of their collaboration ‘Mandem’, which dropped in August and was the first track released from the UK rapper’s new 18-track project ‘Zero Tolerance’, which features artists from both sides of the Atlantic.
As expected for a special event, there were a number of surprise guests throughout the evening.
Giggs used this as an opportunity to showcase a couple of his friends like Kyze and Dubz but also perform songs from his most recent album, including ‘Hallelujah’ with Afrobeats star Lojay and ‘P.A.D (Pistols at Dawn)’ with Potter Payper.
Diddy too brought out some guests to perform songs from his latest album. ‘The Love Album’ for the first time, including Blu June from Nova Wav and R&B star Jozzy. There was also a heartwarming moment as he brought out his son King Combs, which Diddy described as one of the greatest moments of his life to share the stage with his son in London.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came when Diddy and Giggs welcomed Shyne onto the stage to perform ‘Bad Boyz’ and ‘Bonnie and Shyne’.
Shyne has retired from rapping and is currently the Leader of the Opposition in the Belize House of Representatives but flew out to London for the special occasion when Diddy gave him a call.
The night ended in a way that perfectly encapsulates the party atmosphere inside the venue. Diddy started ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’ and everyone who had performed throughout the night came onstage to dance along.
Then, it only makes sense to end the night with all-time UK anthem ‘Talkin’ the Hardest’, the energy was electric as strobe lights flashed around the venue and the audience rapped every bar as loud as they could.
As the crowd left the venue, one guy was heard shouting, “Nobody invite me to anything else for the rest of the year!” Everyone knew that had been part of something special that was truly unique and never to be repeated.
Words: Adam Davidson
Photography: Samir Hussein