Whilst we are now no strangers to the thoroughly detailed trials and tribulations that Birmingham’s own MIST has been subjugated to in his rise towards UK Rap stardom, something remains intriguing about his presence. What we are not so familiar with however, is how the raw vulnerability of ‘Diamond In The Dirt EP’, essentially a self-addressed open-letter fuelled by anguished musing, can be delivered and consumed as a jubilant, triumphant, self-assured resurrection. Tonight we’re in for a celebration.
When the curtain falls in London, on what is the 6th stop of an 8-city sold-out UK tour, we’re faced with a stage that appears inhabited by marijuana plants and makeshift hanging tube lights, all imprisoned by huge angled steel structures on either side. Following a spirited 10-minute hype-up from long-time collaborator, producer, and now artist in his own right, Steel Banglez, what ensues is a minute-long David Attenborough-esque clip of a gas-masked MIST sauntering around a grow-house. Out floats the man of the moment, clothed in a fresh all-white tracksuit, crooning out his earnest bars to the melodically desisting, MOBO Award winning, ‘Hot Property’, the final single release before he goes into ‘Diamond In The Dirt’s ‘Game Changer’. Mist doesn’t even make it through the first verse before the track is pulled-up and he starts again. Such is the case for most of the night.
The mood is then momentarily abridged with the bleaker, 2016 ‘Sickmade’ cut, from the ‘M I S T to the T’ EP, and ‘DITD’s potent ‘Fountain’ featuring Haile WSTRN, before it’s again transformed to borderline mania with the arrival of, now well-solidified Birmingham duo Lotto Boyzz, setting it off with ‘No Don’.
It’s after this d-tour however, when the thematic sophomore EP, which saw MIST enter the UK Album charts at No.4, bares its scars for us all to see. There exists conflicting experiences, as portrayed through ‘On It’s (featuring Nines) simplistic yet telling “I’m tryna get used to the glamour, half of my G’s locked up in the slammer” to the verses on the melodious pop-friendly ‘Wish Me Well’ featuring Jesse Ware. It’s an endless contemplation of past grievances and encounters, all of which prove to be the deep dark foundations for what MIST and the Sickmade team can proudly brand as a soaring career. Soon after this declaration of what can only be described as a vigorous presence, the arrival of MoStack amounts to a similar response as he hops his way on stage running through a vocal-rupturing rendition of ‘Liar’ and a shoulder-rolling ‘No Words’.
What follows seems like an assemblage of greatest hits, from bass-ridden iPhone raising ‘Ain’t The Same’ to a 4-times wheeled, jungle-evoking ‘Moshpit’, in which MIST is not only joined by a re-emerging MoStack, but also an extremely concerned venue-manager, for just a moment. Each time it’s wheeled, out crawls a head-shaking, profusely sweating man calling it a night. The pinnacle although, is met with Lethal Bizzle’s cameo kung-fu kicking ‘Pow’ performance, before leaving MIST to drop his final few bangers.
It’s this moment before the finale however, when the journey and what it represents comes ever so apparent. Those four resolutive keys signaling the beginning of Karla’s back, are the last orders bell as the party draws to a close. The venue is still rammed to its fullest, floor and balcony as MIST wraps the night up with a confetti-soaking ‘Game Changer’. Whilst seemingly a cheerful character on and off camera, his buoyancy is no longer to be mistaken for vulnerability. MIST has yet to reach his pinnacle in this scene, and with a debut studio album in the works, it’s edging closer.