SMIF ‘N’ WESSUN Live @The Jazz Cafe, Camden June 8, 2019!


This particular story all started with this tweet from 9th Wonder…

9th wonder smif n wessun soul council

It’s one of those moments where Hip Hop heads broke the ‘WOW’ button on Facebook… bear in mind look at the date it was tweeted. July of last year. suddenly we didn’t want to know about the rest of 2018 even though so much great music came out at that time. We just wanted to fast forward to February 2019…

“They said take ’em back to Dah Shinin’ (Nooo)
But they don’t know the shape that my mind’s in (Nooo)…” (Testify, The A.L.L.)

So right off the bat Tek & Steele are letting us know, that we are getting a grown, evolved version of themselves, and artists of this calibre know in their hearts that whatever project they bring out today, they can never go backwards. Nas has been telling us this from Stillmatic. The result, a soul drenching album which indeed re-captures the duos, synergy…

It wasn’t long after that, even after their appearance on shows like Sway In the Morning and the Yanadameen Podcast with Lord Jamar & Rah Digga, they wanted to appear on RePPiN4U HIP HOP SHOW. This shows the humility of these guys.

“It’s been a little minute since we popped out
Sun glistenin’ off her tan skin
Exotic smoke blendin’ in with the wind”…(Ocean Drive, The A.L.L.)

It felt like everything was coming into place. Their appearance on the show landed on the birthday of the beautiful Ladi Vee, (also a former guest and friend of the show) who grew up listening to these guys and it was a special moment for her to co-host this interview with them. Then it just so happened that the duo formerly known as Cocoa Brovaz were touching down at The Jazz Cafe in Camden Town. It was a no-brainer. I had to witness this.

Big ups to The Blackfish Collective, who in my opinion, were thrown in at the deep end of what I describe as an 90s Hip Hop dominated crowd, particularly their youngest and newest member whose name I did not catch, that was his first ever performance, his sound was very modern, really catered for younger audiences, and even though you could blatantly hear his background vocals in the tracks, the crowd were lenient and applauded his efforts. Prnc$$ and Demi-Gosh put in energy into their performances which I considered an alternative, acquired taste…I fear that had they performed in Birmingham, they may have been booed off the stage. I’ve seen it happen before. The London crowd have shown me that their minds are open, based on what acts The Jazz Cafe have lined up following this.

“You owe to your father, honour
You owe to your mother, honour
But to God, you owe your A.L.L.!” (Intro, The Education of Smif N Wessun, The A.L.L.)

Reportedly Smif N Wessun were late coming into their set, Had I not know that little bit of information, one would think that these guys knocked it out the park, AND THEY DID.

Kicking off the set with some good ol’ classics from Dah Shinin’, their first highlight came when they performed their verses to the Mary J Blige classic ‘I Love You’, if their debut from the Black Moon – Enta Da Stage didn’t introduce fans to them, this tune certainly did.

Bless and a curse, watch your mouth in my mother house…” (Stahfallah, The A.L.L.)

smif n wessun the allWhat impressed me the most was how many tracks they performed from The A.L.L. and how the capacity crowd handled it. Usually when a artist performs new tracks from their albums, it is usually met with a lukewarm response, only because they were unfamiliar. That didn’t happen with The A.L.L. They performed 5 of the 12 tracks and all received major ovations, and all tunes BANG in the venue.  Clearly 9th Wonder & The Soul Council knew exactly what they were doing.

Your usual round up of the tribute to the fallen soldiers segment came up, but what made this one different was how they showed tribute to Nipsey Hussle. Tek went OFF on one of his verses and the crowd knew it was Nipsey but were still unfamiliar. #Exposed

Clearly they left Sean Price last for their tribute set, which had the crowd going into a frenzy when ‘Boom Bye Yeah’ was blasted through the Jazz Cafe.

“Enter the cipher with your lighter
L’s are ready, prepare for another all nighter…” (Bucktown! Dah Shinin’)

Surprise of the night was the appearance of Jeru The Damaja and Group Home. No one seen that coming, especially when BUCKTOWN!!! Home of The Original Gun Clappaz was blasted through the speakers. They were there in support of the Boot Camp Pair. It’s a bit of a shame they didn’t pick up the mic for a good ol’ blessing of ‘Ya Playin’ Ya’self’ or ‘Livin’ Proof’… God bles the fan, some of them can go home and say ‘Steele smoked a joint with me!’ Tek on the other hand, had to put it out there that he’s not that guy…

“When-when you’re talkin’ ’bout rap on the East Coast
How you leave our clique out of the convos?” (One Time, The A.L.L.)

I have attended quite a few gigs in my time…but I do not recall an ending as epic as this. Finishing the set with ‘Sound Bwoy Burelli’, The roof went OFF. Suddenly Tek & Steele demanded the DJ to LOCK OFF the tune. The stage was not good enough. It was time to engage in some crowd participation…


Up til now, I’m wondering how Sound Bwoy Burelli became ‘Boom Bye Bye’ by Buju Banton! In this current state of the world that we live in, the LGBT community calling or that song to be banned, and yet, people of all backgrounds in The Jazz Cafe embraced the track in unison. Tek & Steele became one with the crowd, and Sound Bwoy Burelli became a 10-15 minute celebration of their 25 years in the game.

I sincerely hope Tek & Steele go back and tell Rapsody & Heather Victoria how crazy the UK crowd were… we need them over here now after that. Smif N Wessun have just shown that you can still be relevant and not have to rely on your classics to keep the crowd rocking. Very few artists can do that.