The Red Bulletin September 2019 (UK)


Red Bull Music Festival London

July 2019. In a warehouse in Peckham, south London,

10 of the UK’s freshest musicians and performers

gather for the photoshoot you see here. For four weeks

from August 20, they will be part of the first Red Bull

Music Festival London, showcasing their boundarypushing

talents in venues across the capital. Here, they

explain why they‘re involved, what their neighbourhood

means to them, and what their own music represents

Lava La Rue

& L!baan

Wild, wild west

September 7:

NiNE8 Collective,

No Place Like

Home Live

Westbank Studios,

Thorpe Close, W10

NiNE8 will celebrate its

west London heritage with

a workshop, panel talk,

performance, and a clothing

collaboration with ’90s

rave collective MAP. “We’re

doing a showcase of the

older generations we look

up to, who helped pioneer

the sound system culture

here,” says Lava La Rue.

“You have dancehall and,

from that, drum and bass

and jungle, then grime

and a lot of the UK music

we play today. It’s paying

homage to our roots.”

Twenty-one-year-old rapper and

singer Awia Laurel, aka Lava La Rue,

hails from Ladbroke Grove, west

London. The founder of arts and

music collective NiNE8 believes that

cultural and gender diversity are

pivotal to the area’s unique sound.

“A lot of groups are all one thing

– all from Harlem or LA – but that’s

not our vibe,” she says. “At NiNE8,

we have people who are Indian,

Jamaican, Caribbean, Irish, kids who

grew up in Spain, Somalia… We’ve

got just as many female as male

rappers. It’s music where we all

come from different backgrounds

but coexist on one track.

“That’s west London. It has one

of the starkest gaps between superupper-class,

multimillion Kensington

houses and then estates like Grenfell.

But that means you’re exposed to all

walks of life. There’s a generation of

kids who’ve grown up together. You

walk down Portobello and you’ve got

the Rastafarians, the Moroccans, the

Spanish, all in this area together.

That’s what our music is.”

There’s a strong social message in

the lyrics of La Rue and NiNE8, but

she doesn’t see their music as overtly

political. “I don’t think any of us

strive to make political music,” she

says. “It’s just inherently political

because of the lives we live. We’re

rapping our perspectives, and if mine

is, ‘I’m from London, I’m gay, I’m

of colour, I’m working class,’ then

there’s going to be politics in there.

“I love the idea of catchy music

and it being quite politically strong

and people singing it like a mantra.

What you say every day, you speak

into existence, so let people say stuff

that benefits them, rather than,

‘Yeah, I’m from the south, put my

dick in her mouth,’ or that shit,

which is what you get in a lot of rap.

Let’s have people say something

they’re going to speak into existence

every day, and positively.”

Twenty-two-year-old MC and

producer L!baan hails from north

London, but now considers himself

“pretty much local to west” after

getting to know the NiNE8 Collective

through friends.

A drummer while at school,

L!baan – real name Libann Hassan

– joined the collective after chatting

to La Rue in a skate park. “Skating

forced me to explore other parts

of London. And on the way to all

these places, you see and hear a lot

of things. That’s relayed into my

music, because I try to be as versatile

as I can be. And, for real, there are

a lot of artists, painters and musicians

among skaters.”



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