I really look forward to seeing Giggs at M.I.A's Meltdown. Giggs has had such an amazing year, collaborating with the likes of Drake, selling out his tour and really putting the UK on the map. I've seen him perform once but I would love to see him perform again as he's got so much energy. I'm a really big fan.
It’s hard to be a hip hop loving feminist, but artists like Princess Nokia (aka Destiny Frasqueri) make the struggle worth it. I love how she draws on everything from her ‘Black a-Rican’, Spanish Harlem upbringing to her African diasporic heritage and mixes it all to create high energy electro/alt hip hop. She takes on everything from colonialism to sexuality to witchcraft. She’s a an afro-futuristic badass.
I’m most looking forward to seeing Giggs at Meltdown. I’ve been a fan for ages and it’s been so exciting to watch him ascend from magma hot hype to a place where he’s a bona fide fixture at the top table of UK grime. I actually interviewed him years ago – I spent quite a bit of time with him – back in the days when I worked for another music magazine. I lived in Camberwell, he in Peckham, so we knew a lot of the same places, even though our life stories were very different.
So much was made at the beginning of his career about unsavory stories from his youth, which just made me root for him all the more. We shouldn’t ever want to hold talented young people back or put more obstacles in their way. Not only that, but when the conversation turned to his young son, and he talked about picking him up at his primary school gates and buying him a new Thomas The Tank Engine rucksack, it was nigh on impossible not to love him.
I'm really excited to see Tommy Genesis is part of Meltdown. It's refreshing to hear such honest, unapologetic lyrics from a female artist. Her dark, minimal hip-hop is really advancing the cause of de-shaming sex, and helping women everywhere feel confident and able to speak their needs when it comes to sexuality. Her work is valuable, exciting and, of course, great to listen to.
It’s hard to put one’s finger on exactly what scored this Edinburgh-based collective the Mercury Award for their 2014 debut full-length Dead – the way they blurred the lines between the beats, the rhymes and the life; the way their melodies punched harder than their rhythms; the way they could make you feel impossibly happy and sad in the same moment, a poignancy that never felt weighty or sober or worthy, but glorious instead.
It was easy, though, to surmise what made 2015 follow-up White Men Are Black Men Too – financed with that Mercury prize cash – so remarkable: the way it matched and even surpassed its predecessor’s peaks while never repeating its tricks or muddying up its treats, the way it wrought pop out of the weirdest materials, the way it felt alien and unexpected, but still warm, familiar and beloved. Their third album’s well overdue, this fan reckons; fingers crossed we’ll hear some of it on Meltdown's opening night.
freelance music writer and author
A platform for creative pioneers, M.I.A.'s Meltdown takes over Southbank Centre for 10 days from 9-18 June with a series of gigs, talks and installations.