One of the breakthrough UK rap stars of 2019, Aitch made his debut Berlin performance at the Burg Schnabel last weekend and gave Berlin a “Taste” of what’s to come from his European tour.
Aitch has been making waves in the UK rap scene in a big way over the last few years with big underground hits such as Trust Me, Straight Rhymes and his acclaimed Daily Duppy. This momentum paid off in 2019 which was truly his most successful year so far as he featured on tracks that hit the mainstream in a big way. These include some of the biggest UK rap tracks of the year, such as Keisha & Becky and the number 1 single, Take Me Back to London Spyro Remix alongside established UK acts, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and JayKae.
This established the Manchester-born rapper as one to watch in 2020. All this has come at the tender age of just 19 and so there are high expectations for his career already. This said, while these ventures have gained him prominence in his home nation, for any UK acts attempting to break Europe they face a whole new challenge. However, Judging by his performance last weekend this will be just another easily surpassed milestone for the rapidly emerging young gun in the UK rap scene.
the change in atmosphere could be felt immediately upon entering the stage
The first insight into why this might be the case came even before the gig kicked off and owed to the fact that this appearance in Berlin was a sold-out affair, albeit in a significantly smaller venue than he may have experienced on home turf. Nonetheless, it was still an impressive feat as from my experiences with contemporaries in the UK scene at this very same venue they have not experienced the same accolade.
While I was already a convert to the rap skills of Aitch, my plus one for the event, who was from Boston, had no knowledge of him before whatsoever and so I eagerly attempted to define Aitch and his unique style to my companion in the bar of the venue prior to the event. In some part, I achieved this, so he was already half sold to his lyrical ability that flows over wavey beats. However, it wasn’t until the main man came on stage that me gassing his music up was proven to not purely be patriotic spirit as the 19-year-old instantly sprung a performance that was a pumping affair from the get-go.
With no warm-up act to speak of other than Aitch’s DJ, the change in atmosphere could be felt immediately upon entering the stage and he broke straight into his first track of the night. The energy levels soared and he rallied through the first track in a way that got the crowd off to the start fulled with imposing energy. This energy was not purely based on an appreciation of his tracks but generated by the youngster’s impressive confidence- a confidence that gave the impression of an artist much more experienced on European stages. Aitch seemed to feel right at home in front of a crowd that must have been alien to him when compared to those of the devoted fans on the UK tour he recently completed.
grasping the opportunity to convert a larger following from Berlin rap fans
While it is fair to say those in the crowd were easily be defined as largely originating from the UK, due to the recognisable accents heard in the crowd, with nur eine par Deutschland Geborn, the Mancunian would have no knowledge of this and performed in a manner which just permeated the feeling of a young man living in the moment and grasping the opportunity to convert a larger following in the form of Berlin rap fans. His communication with the crowd was consistent throughout as he mediated the crowd and ensured they were immersed in the experience that his performance -attempting eine bisschen Deutsch along the way. While he slightly overdid the classic “oggie oggie oggie, oi, oi, oi” chant – which I loathe from performers particularly those with the showmanship and lyrical ability as Aitch – otherwise the connection between crowd and performer was exceptional.
During the performance, he spat the best part of his fairly limited catalogue of tracks – understandable for a fresh artist. This consisted of most, if not all, the tracks from his first proper solo release, the EP, Aitch20, which is the tour’s namesake and dropped late last year. While also delivering a selection of his verses from the wider acknowledged and recognised tracks that have cultivated his large following. The performance gathered in pace and the crowd could visibly be seen to react to this with a small mosh being cultivated in one area of the intimate venue. Clearly the desired effect from his performance style was taking hold. The performance came to a conclusion with his disappearance, chants from the crowd and emergence to cap of the night with an encore which manifested as his current big hitter track, Taste (make it shake). This brought an energetic night with the performance fittingly given Berlin a taste of what’s to come from the rest of this landmark European tour of the youngster.
The energy was better than most cities in the UK
IndieBerlin managed to catch up with Aitch’s Official DJ and Hypeman, DJ Win, who has been working with Aitch since his days of grime sets and has been and will continue to support Aitch on his tour. He was able to talk us through the night’s performance from an on-stage point of view.
“It was crazy because obviously it is smaller, capacity wise but the energy was better than most cities in the UK who actually know him and know every tune. When we started the European tour, our only fear was people might know the lyrics of the songs and what are we going to do if they don’t, but it a lot of people knew and did their research. 100% I was surprised by the reaction but Germany has been the best country out of the European tour.”
With Berlin and Germany waving the flag, the rest of Europe needs to take note and get their Aitch knowledge of up and make sure they don’t miss any more of his incredible journey and so they can fully vibe with this young rapper who is surely destined for much bigger things globally!
If you are a fan of Aitch and UK rap stay tuned as have previews, reviews and ticket raffles for other UK artists, including Mostack, Jay1 and Kojey Radical coming very soon so stay locked into our page for this.
Originally from the so-called, Garden of England, Kent, Will Macmaster is a passionate journalist who has covered music, alongside numerous other subjects, across Europe for nearly half a decade. Previously operating in The UK, Malta, The Netherlands and Turkey, he recently moved to Berlin to get involved in one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world. Fearless, innovative, and charismatic are just some of the words he knows.