This is Peckham rapper Nathaniel Thompson’s first London headline show, despite over 10 years making music. He says he can’t believe this is finally here after all the aggro; it’s been a long time coming. Commonly known as Giggs, his accolades include BET best hip hop artist UK, and his latest album debuted at number 2. Previous London shows are not missing due to a lack of interest – the Forum is sold out and the crowd are enthusiastic. Upon entry, it is clear that security is a concern; ticket holders are subjected to thorough bag checks and asked to put all metal objects in a clear plastic bag, then waved over with metal detectors. Inside, security guards litter the crowd. These concerns are not just due to a particularly energetic mosh pit, but probably due to Giggs’ past in the Peckham Boys’ Gang. Having been sentenced to two years for firearm possession in 2003, and arrested again, then acquitted, on similar charges in 2012, putting on a London show has come with some obstacles. Previous shows have been cancelled by the police, most infamously leading Giggs to upload a public apology to YouTube in 2013, sarcastically thanking the police for always slowing him down.
The show is based heavily off Giggs’ latest album, Landlord. The set is impressive – the front of a block of flats with dynamic silhouettes in the windows coordinated to each track performed. Giggs’ lyrics, delivered by his trademark booming voice, get as dark and gritty as his subject matter. Introducing Just Swervin, he says this is a song to light up to (but of course, not in the venue) “I put my mum through a nightmare / But now she don’t check the news / Because her son wasn’t out there / I’m in the house with some houseware” he raps. Aside from this, the vibes are celebratory. Crowd favourites Look What the Cat Dragged in and Talking the Hardest have the venue buzzing – empty cups and even a tracksuit can be seen flying up above the moshpit. The party vibe intensifies with the arrival of grime royalty Kano, JME and Skepta. Iconic performances of 3 Wheel-ups, Man Don’t Care and It Aint Safe are followed by Whipping Excursion, the current single from Landlord. Giggs is joined on stage by all performers of the show for the finale, celebrating as confetti cannons fire. All in all, a triumph.