Live Report: Project 6 Festival 2024

An excellent selection of underground flavours...

Brixton basked in sunlight as Brockwell Park kicked off a big weekend on Friday, May 24th. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the iconic underground radio station Rinse FM took over, offering a stellar lineup of bass-heavy, electronic, and hip-hop sounds. It was a true celebration of UK music, with some notable US heavy hitters making appearances.

With eight stages of eclectic music, labels closely connected to Rinse, such as Outlook, Fabric, Sports Banger, and Percy Mingle, hosted their own stages. Each stage brought its unique flavor, reflecting the diversity and depth of the music Rinse FM has championed over the years.

The main stage was bustling from the start, featuring some of the UK’s biggest rap stars. A sign-language performer accompanied all the main stage artists, ensuring inclusivity. Unknown T energised the crowd with a short set, closing with his classic ‘Homerton B’ to a huge reaction. Casisdead followed, bringing an enigmatic presence. The Brit Award winner experimented with various genres, mixing a grime beat over his classic ‘Too Much Drugs’ and transitioning to a Drum & Bass remix to keep the crowd’s energy high. A house beat over ‘Weekend’ flowed into DJ Zinc’s ‘Wile Out’ remix, with crowd favorites like ‘Pat’s Earrings’ rounding out the set.

Next up were Freddie Gibbs & Madlib. Freddie, accompanied by a full band, added a layer of funk to his tracks. Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their joint album ‘Pinata’, they played classics from the record. Freddie gave a heartfelt shoutout to Madlib, thanking him for their collaboration. Tracks like ‘Thuggin’ received the biggest reactions, showcasing Freddie’s impeccable flow and longevity in the scene. The synergy between Freddie and Madlib was palpable, and their performance was a testament to their decade-long partnership.

Exploring beyond the main stage, there was something for everyone. At the Outlook stage, ‘Client 03’ captivated the audience with his warped electro, blending hypnotic tracks with a layer of acid. The anonymous, masked artist brought a unique energy to the live performance. The visual spectacle of his set, combined with the pulsating beats, created an immersive experience for the audience. At the Kool FM stage, LTJ Bukem delivered high-paced Drum & Bass, reflecting the pirate radio era’s influence. MC GQ kept the crowd engaged throughout the energetic set, guiding them through a journey of rapid beats and intense rhythms. The Kool FM stage, named after the radio station that plays the best in Jungle & Drum and Bass, was a nod to the genre’s rich history and its ongoing influence in the UK music scene.

Over at the Places + Faces open-air stage, the talented Juls drew a large crowd with his self-produced Afrobeat tracks, mixing in bits of dancehall. His set was a vibrant mix of rhythmic beats and melodic hooks, creating an infectious energy that had the crowd dancing from start to finish. Juls’ ability to blend different musical styles was a highlight of the festival, showcasing the global reach of Afrobeat music.

As the sun set, the atmosphere heated up with Pusha T’s main stage performance. With over two decades in the game, Pusha commanded the set, the crowd reciting lyrics back to him. He performed much of his acclaimed ‘DAYTONA’ album, followed by the Chief Keef remix ‘Don’t Like’ and his timeless verse from Kanye’s ‘Runaway’. Pusha’s stage presence and lyrical prowess were on full display, captivating the audience and creating an electrifying atmosphere.

Nightfall brought anticipation for Nines, a London rap legend closing off Project 6 in style. Donning what looked like a bulletproof vest, Nines performed classics like ‘Trapper Of The Year’ and ‘From Church Rd. to Hollywood’. Tracks from his recent album ‘Crop Circle 2’, like ‘Tony Soprano 2’, had the crowd singing along, reciting his lyrics word for word. Nines brought out guest appearances from NSG and Skrapz, who topped off the night with ‘One More Chance’. The energy was palpable as Nines and his guests delivered a powerful performance, ending the festival on a high note.

Project 6 celebrated Rinse FM’s 30-year journey from pirate radio to a beacon of electronic and underground music in the UK and beyond. The festival encapsulated the diverse musical influences Rinse has championed over the decades. From the eclectic mix of genres and the seamless blending of different musical styles to the enthusiastic crowd and the high-energy performances, Project 6 was a testament to the enduring legacy of Rinse FM. As we look forward to the future, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this iconic institution.

Words: Joe Hale 

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