Sway, Studio 24, Edinburgh, Fri 27 Jan 2012
Crowd-pleasing night from the grime superstar
Although not completely absent from the music scene, Sway (real name Derek Safo) has not released an album since 2008. This perhaps explained the semi-low turnout at this Friday night gig, which seemed unusual for one of the UK’s most successful rappers.
Regardless of numbers however, Safo delivered a passionate and devoted performance. Creating transparency between himself and the audience, he chatted between songs in a warm and friendly manner, dropping in that ‘Edinburgh has some serious talent’ in regards to warm-up acts Hector Bizerk and Madhat McGore.
Performing material from his numerous mixtapes and past two albums This Is My Demo and The Signature LP, Sway dominated the stage alongside long-standing support DJ Turkish, on the decks providing beats and ad-libs.
The London-rapper encouraged crowd participation by asking them to fill in the blanks to famous hip hop lyrics in ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’. He faced a temporary moment of hostility from the Edinburgh fans when he accidentally called them ‘Glasgow’, but the English lyricist won them back by performing hits such as ‘Little Derek’ and ‘F Ur X’. Signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik, Safo’s passion for rhyming is evident through his witty punch lines and effortlessly tight raps. The rapper (and sometime actor in Channel 4 drama Top Boy) picked up the pace during ‘Up Ur Speed’ and the recently-released ‘Still Speedin’, before hooking up his iPod and playing a Flux-Pavilion-produced song from his forthcoming album The Deliverance. Safo’s unbelievably fast rapping on the bassy final track ended the night on a high. Pleasing old and new fans alike, this gig proved that the dedicated entertainer is still one of the strongest hip hop artists in the UK.