From the churches to the Hammersmith Apollo; the ongoing story of a platform whose vision it was to elevate what is now a vibrant music scene, a scene once frowned upon by many but now dominated by black excellence & talented Brits. Well, I guess that’s job done right….not quite so according to GRM CEO Posty who declared at this year’s KA & GRM Rated awards that there’s still a lot of work to be done, a lot of progress to be made in order to push the culture forward and rightly so.
GRM CEO Post Diddy posing with Capital Xtra DJ Manny Norte
For me the key theme at this year’s rated awards was progression, this was identifiable in the come up story of the rated awards where 3 years ago they launched their first ever award ceremony in a church building then moved on to the Camden Roundhouse which hosted them for two years and now onto the infamous Hammersmith Apollo, now if that’s not progress I don’t know what is.
The theme of progression was evident in many of the awards given out throughout the night, and the story “From the churches to the Hammersmih Apollo doesn’t just apply to GRM & KA but also to a man who took home one of the most important awards of the night, a man from a place called Church Road also known as “the Churches”, the man they call Nina wit da Nina aka Nines. Nines was awarded the Best Album of the Year after dropping his 2nd studio album Crop Circle in April earlier this year. For those who follow Nines, a guy who so often raps about progression would know how much this award meant to him; a first for the North West rapper. He used his speech to hail up his mum, his record label, his late brother Zino and everyone who voted for him, a speech that didn’t contain much words but held sentimental value through his body language. Also on stage with Nines was Church Road member Skrapz who was also up for nomination in the same category against the likes of Wiley, Wretch 32 & Jorja Smith but chose to show support to his friend.
Left: Nines posted with Album of The Year Rated award; Right: Nines poses with Church Road affiliate & rapper Skrapz
This was not the only win of the night which displayed sentimental value, as a rapper who has been creating impact for years through his music has now got the recognition he deserves. Rapman who is one of the finest story tellers in the UK music game was awarded the Video of the Year for the 2nd part of his sequel; Shiro’s Story Pt.2. A story & performance written by Rapman himself and featured actors Jovian Wade & Percell Ascott who supported Rapman on stage as he expressed how much the award meant to him.
Throughout the night we saw many awards taken away by those who have made countless achievements all year round with the Rated Awards probably topping them all. Some of these artists included Fredo who was not present but walked away with the Best Mixtape of the year award with “Tables Turn”, Not3s won Artist of the Year & Headie One became this years breakthrough artist which I would have loved to have been granted a joint award with M Huncho but I guess things don't always go the way you want.
Other category winners who I didn’t necessarily agree with included Radio DJ personality of the year which was awarded to Charlie Sloth who took the time to treasure what was a moment for the scene, also speaking of the progression of the scene but nevertheless still sending shots to other DJ’s. Despite his appreciative speech, I believe that the rightful owner of that award is Kenny Allstar who was also in that category alongside legends such as Tim Westwood & Semtex but lost to a 4th time winner of the award, Charlie Sloth. Another category which was pretty much up for grabs by anyone was Track of the Year where a year full of non stop chart hitters by a range of artists lead the category to being hard to predict. The award eventually went to Not3s & AJ Tracey with Butterflies but I felt it was more deserved to Headie One - Know Better as it was produced from a controversial moment that turned the OFB member into a online sensation but regardless everyone in the category deserved it. Head over to Plugsville for the full nomination & winner list.
Overall the night was one to remember, hosted by a Wakandan looking Julie Adenuga and a boxing promoter looking Mo The Comedian. The pair were no doubt very entertaining throughout the night with Mo throwing all sorts of shade at members of the audience and celebrities but making sure to keep it humorous. A key theme mentioned by Mo & Julie at numerous stages of the night was celebration which I believe ties in with the theme of progression. It seems as though the ceremony was a celebration for the progression throughout the entire scene as well as many artists individual journey. This comes at a time where the spate of violence & bloodshed going on in the capital right now can take away any sort of recognition but believe that it’s just as important to shine light on those moving forward.
This years hosts Mo The Comedian & Julie Adenuga
In relation to that Tim Westwood took to stage to call out for a stop to the current bloodshed happening on the streets of London but South London singer Ray BLK created a powerful representation for this issue through the performance of her latest single Run Run which is based on her experiences of crime. Ray BLK brought her soul on stage as per usual and used her beautiful sound to send out a visual message to the nation to stop the violence. In my eyes despite Giggs performing in a rocking chair & Ambush bringing out Chip & Skepta nothing tops a meaningful performance such as this.
Lastly, despite such a memorable night full of celebrations people still don’t know how to act in such environments as rapper Young Spray was stabbed at the award shows. Actions such as this spoils opportunities for everyone however when getting on the journey to greatness, there will be pitfalls and hiccups along the way but it only makes you stronger so here’s to many more years of Rated Awards & here’s to many more years of progression & GREATNESS.