The UK has had a sports and music whirlwind weekend, that’s simultaneously had us face to face with darker political forces keeping, us glued to social media endlessly over the past few days. So whether you’ve been watching Wimbledon, Euro 2016 or the British Grand Prix – following the Brexit fallouts, Black Lives Matter Protests or the U.K leadership battles – or hanging at Wireless Festival, Sunfall, One Dance or British Summertime in Hyde Park – it’s been one headspin for sure.
Even if this weekends weather didn’t deliver the July sunshine we’ve long stopped expecting, the festival schedule in London finally gave us some much needed post-Brexit respite. One thing was definitely in the air and that was the need to take a break from it all and just appreciate a trouble free weekend of music. It’s a testament to the domination of the urban scene both in the US and UK that’s made it pretty hard to deny that festivals up and down the country and around the world are quickly becoming the draw for Hip-Hop & Grime acts. After being sidelined for too long, it’s clear no ones pushing Hip-Hop or Grime off their line-ups for the foreseeable future.
London may be criticised for living in its own bubble but one thing that’s undeniable is it’s status as the Hip Hop capital of Europe and a gateway to the rest of the world. Once you make it here, you can make it everywhere and J Cole hasn’t forget the love he got in London when it all started. Cole’s featured slot on the main stage was one of the biggest highlights of the festival weekend, and a long way from his first gig at London’s Koko back in 2011.
“First time I came out to London, first time I came out here, I aint think nobody was gonna know my shit, I had never been out here before, I had a show in a tent and it was no way close to this amount of people but when I walked out the people that was in there, they knew every single word, I couldn’t believe that shit, it blew my mind. Right there I was like F**k, I can’t never sleep on London again ever in my life & that stays true to this day, I promise ya’ll” – J Cole
Dropping all the big ones from his stronger than most catalogue of albums, ‘Friday Night Lights’ to ‘Forest Hills Drive’ and ‘Cole World’ to ‘Born Sinner’ – J Cole made it abundantly clear to all of us that his fans just can’t get enough.
We spotted Jaden Smith celebrating his 18th over the weekend in London, hanging with sis Willow, dad Will, and quick on his feet to head backstage to catch up with J Cole after watching his set from the pit.
Racing between stages and photo pits was no simple feat for the Nation of Billions team, with Semtex locking down a slew of interviews which he’ll be dropping over the coming days. Our only gripe was the constant run-ins with a multitude of security who kept changing things up with all kinds of different AAA passes for each live slot. But closing out the weekend, sadly it’s our own UK homegrown headline act BBK who ended up shutting out many photographers from the pit.
Luckily, we got a chance to get up close and personal and face to face with some of the weekends big hitters, check out the shots below.
3 stages over 3 days at Wireless 2016 delivered a hefty line-up of artists from Big Sean, Action Bronson, YelaWolf, Future, J Cole, Nadia Rose, WSTRN, Jorja Smith, Geko, Rude Kid, Young Thug, Vince Staples, BBK, Chase & Status and so many more.
Above everything else, the weekend was a moment for London’s fans to bring together some pretty damn good vibes, and keep it together. No drama, just music, all love.
Watch this space for the one-to-ones with DJ Semtex, coming soon