Rizzle Kicks at the Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Rizzle Kicks at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea by Paul Windsor
Rizzle Kicks at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea by Paul Windsor
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Rizzle Kicks are now well and truly the mainstream face of UK hip hop.

Two weeks on from a performance to the world at the Brits, the award-nominated duo are playing to a hyped and sweaty crowd at the Wedgewood Rooms on a Sunday night.

A venue which is beneath them while the music world is talking about the bright, young Brighton things? Not a chance.

Instead, Jordan ‘Rizzle’ Stephens and Harley ‘Sylvester’ Alexander-Sule bounce, sway, sing and spit rhymes through a rip-roaring set which delivered on every front for a sellout small-venue crowd.

Opening with an Inspector Gadget-inspired beat might have been beyond many of the most youthful of audiences but represents the fruits of their crossover success. There were few who missed a line from When I Was a Youngster, which proved a early highlight.

The duo’s album, Stereo Typical, has ripped up a commercial storm and done the numbers, but this was a performance not a sales pitch.

That saw Ed Sheeran’s You Need Me, I Don’t Need You and White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army referenced along with an apt effort of Nelly’s Hot In Herre.

The musical diversity and appreciation was there for all to see too, with a jazz-soaked Miss Cigarette and Latino beats prominent through the set.

The world are now talking about the back-flipping, speaker pogoing, grinning pair and their populist appeal is obvious. But so is their humble, happy to be here approach, which is a refreshing antidote to the posing, preening hip hop which is still so often prevalent.

It’ll be intriguing to see how it goes down Stateside, because there’s the potential for Rizzle Kicks to fly the English flag to the world.

JORDAN CROSS