This concert felt like it marked the turning point for London as a Korean Hip Hop host City. Fresh from the Hi-lite gig in late 2015 and with Rock Bottom peeking over the horizon, it seems that ‘The Big Smoke’ has made made a name for itself as a worthwhile destination for Korea’s rapping elite. There is a fair argument to say(don’t tell Keith) that Dok2 is the most prominent Korean rap artist globally ,regularly collaborating iconic producers such as DJ Mustard and the like. The excitement for the Illionaire Euro run was tangible. With London , Paris Berlin & Madrid all on the hitlist before casually sauntering over to SXSW in Austin Texas the event felt like an early the leg of an Unofficial Illionaire (minus Beenzino) World Tour across.
The crowd, an interesting mix of Korean Diaspora , Kpop gyal overspill and East (London) Cool Kids hugged the walls the Laundry in hot anticipation of the headliner.The standout support act was Darq E Freaker , offering the crowd a balanced mix of energetic and dreamesque production to gear them for the main event. My personal Stand out track was don’t Freak out.
But the big surge of energy was saved for Dok2 himself alighting the stage. When the Seoul native dipped on to the stage with his sidekick donning a hat bearing the the cities name , the crowd roared to welcome the champion. After briefly welcoming the audience with a few brief words , he began making his way through his extensive back catalogue. The party launched into full effect however when he drew for a trademark hit enticing the crowd to scream “Two Chains & a M**** ******* rollie back at the stage whilst the Illionaire founder brandished jewelry.
As is now becoming a bit of a custom for London KHH gigs security were forced to intervene a record breaking 3 times!!! Similarly to the Hi-lite gig the audience showed their appreciation by getting fully gassed and bouncing each other around to the rapid high hat soundtrack to the point of risking injury to more delicate fans somewhere among the throng. Though for the most part this was good natured it did cause interruptions to the set much to the frustration of many in attendance and at one point required Dok2 to side with security and appeal to the crowd to move back.
The approximately 40 minutes set was bought to a close by The Quiett and Dok2 returning to the stage to repeated calls of ‘Oncore’ to offer one more recital of YGGR to the appease the crowd before offering photos. The notoriously T-total and private Dok2 charmed London audiences with the ease. Although i have been among the number who have criticised Dok2 for mimicking American rap too closely(along with Cheetah) ,i conceed that his performances are never lacking. There is something about the way which he calmly delivers navigating the stage with a steady pace and occasionally grinning to bare his grills that just draws you in. It’s the precision among the mayhem that makes him an interesting artist. The following day the duo were announced as SMTM5 judges giving I-fans the opportunity to get there weekly Illionaire fix for a fortnight or two. This certainly felt a great moment in his career to see Dok2 and an even better time to be in the Euro KHH Squad.