This past weekend, streetwear giants size? took over one of Manchester’s most unique venues and celebrated everything UK rap/R&B culture in scintillating fashion. Thousands of likeminded music fans excitedly flocked to Victoria Warehouse for a day of some of the best music the UK has to offer. The crowd was – as expected – well dressed, but even more than that, the crowd was lively and receptive to the music on show from the outset and throughout. The star-studded line-up, comprised of artists from varying points of their musical lineage, was spread across 3 expertly put together stages, each with a banging sound system, something which is imperative for a rap/R&B festival.
Jordan Brand and Mixtape Madness joined forces and housed a bill of exciting talent from the UK rap scene, from fully established to up and coming. With the likes of Millionz, Kwengface and Clavish all performing high-energy, hype-filled bangers throughout, it’s no wonder that this stage seemed the most lively throughout the day. Kenny Allstar’s DJ set was a real highlight from this stage, delivering a relentless onslaught of the UK’s hottest rap music, of which the crowd appreciated – judging by the mosh pits.
Berghaus upped the tempo at their stage, supplying a middle ground between the mellower rap and R&B on the main stage and the aforementioned livelier Mixtape Madness stage. 6 extremely talented DJ’s took to the Berghaus booth to provide bouncy beats for those more inclined to a more dance music influenced sound. Garage, funky house and trap beats bellowed from the speakers from open until close, providing a dancefloor for two steppers.
The main stage, unsurprisingly, stole the show – with a line-up that stacked, it was bound to happen. Size? smashed it in every way possible with the line-up selection, providing the music-hungry party-goers with an impressive array of music. The main room was the stage for some of the UK’s most sought-after names with a trickling of local talent from the Manchester scene. The KTNA were an early highlight from the festivals main stage, twin sisters Hope and Millie, who have been making considerable noise in Mancunian circles for some time, took to the stage and delivered a powerful, politically profound and beautifully melodic performance. Manchester’s best R&B group definitely gave a good account for themselves on what is most likely the biggest stage they have played yet. Comfy, one of Manchester’s most talented lyricists, was also an honourable mention for those representing the city.
My favourite performance of the night however, was from UK raps newest phenomenon – Knucks. The London based rapper has been making tsunami size waves in the industry ever since he burst on to the scene with the ludicrously catchy anthem “Home”. Since then, I have been dying to catch him live and it’s safe to say he did not disappoint. Knucks had the entire crowd in the palm of his hand and performed his way to 4 well-earned wheel ups. The legends that are Nines and Aj Tracey harnessed the energy cultivated by Knucks and finished the festival in style, drawing a close to a day of historic proportions for UK music and fashion culture.