UK hip-hop power player High Focus will be hitting up Manchester and Leeds at the end of this month, with shows at Gorilla on Friday 28th and HiFi on Saturday 29th making it a big weekend for the MC and producer crew. Surely one of the most influential groups on the British hip-hop circuit today, they’ll draw a big crowd and put on a suitably tight show as Dirty Dike, Dabbla, Lee Scott and more represent.
The two shows will not only act as showcases for the influential label, but will also offer Dabbla the chance to play out his new album, Year of the Monkey. A concoction of catchy vocal flows and groove-laced instrumentals, the album shows the rapper at his irrepressible best, with left of centre melodies framing the High Focus summer signing as he dances his way through caricature guises and self-examination in as many different ways as he can. With some of the material having been ten years in the works, it’s no wonder that he’s so keen on getting the album out into the open with these autumn shows.
Unusually for High Focus showcases, none of the label’s leading troupe, The Four Owls, are scheduled to perform in Manchester or Leeds, with the floor instead left open for some of the less-travelled artists to show their worth. Trill Mitchell, DJ Frosty, Jazz T and DJ Sammy B-Side are all in attendance at both shows, giving them ample opportunity to demonstrate the smooth beats and dextrous lyricism that unite the label’s individuals as the High Focus family. Also appearing at both, UKHH legend Lee Scott and Dirty Dike, one of the High Focus old guard, as well as veterans Strange U, a duo devoted to stream of consciousness lyrics and catch-you-by-surprise sounds.
The only difference then comes in the shape of Black Josh & Sleazy F Baby as guests in Manchester and Real Life Lessons’ Jack Jetson in Leeds. A chance to see where High Focus is heading, perhaps? Not to be missed.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photo courtesy of Dabbla