A round-up of up-coming hip hop gigs in Leeds and the North… Don’t sleep on those tickets…

Talib Kweli Leeds

1. Akala – Belgrave Music Hall Leeds 29th October/ Academy 2 Manchester 4th Ocotber (additional Northern dates in Sheffield, Preston and Liverpool)

There’s no word of new material coming from the most articulate voice of dissent to emerge from the UK hip hop scene, with this tour being billed as a 10 year anniversary celebration. Anyone who’s seen him live before will know to expect a powerful and mesmerising presence, and in a venue as intimate as the Belgrave, this is one not to be missed.

2. Talib Kweli – HiFi Leeds 2nd December/24 Kitchen St Liverpool 5th December/ Band on the Wall Manchester 8th December

Hat’s off to the ever excellent Bam Bam Bam for securing yet another stellar name for dates in the North. Jay-Z has shown respect (on Moment of Clarity noting that “if skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli”) and so should you. Veteran he may be, but you’ll struggle to find a performer who brings greater energy on to the stage.

3. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – HiFi Leeds 15th October (additional dates in Liverpool, Huddersfield, and Manchester)

I’m curious to see how the 8 piece band are going to FIT on the diminutive stage in the HiFi. Despite the fact I’m still smarting about the immediate sell out for the one of London date with Yasiin Bey, this is still got to be one of the highlights of the hip hop live calendar. If you haven’t seen them live before, you have no idea what a treat you are in for. If you have, you’ll have been on the phone buying tickets before reading this far. There’s a video below but trust me this can’t capture the fire they bring to the stage.

4. Lowkey – The Wardrobe, Leeds 23rd September/Gorilla, Manchester 20th September

True aficionados of UK hip hop will be excited to see this date, signalling a return to the scene for Lowkey who announced his retirement and disillusion with the industry back in 2012. Like Akala, Lowkey has the knack of lyrics that teach but don’t preach, over beats that have necks snapping.

5. Bishop Nehru – Headrow House, Leeds 5th October

The Belgrave’s sister venue plays host to the prolific young artist. His most recent project, Magic:19 has the kind of experimental edge you’d expect from someone mentored by DOOM matched with a distinctive flow and clever, complex lyricism.

Other gigs to watch out for include Roots Manuva, Lady Leshurr, Loyle Carner, and Lowkey


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