[Listen Again] Urban Classic at LIVE at the Barbican on BBC 1Xtra


I’ve been skanking in my room since about 10:30 this morning. I’d brought two tickets to a show at the Barbican last year but was unable to find another person to go with me (awwww) so I used the remaining credit note to buy a ticket for Urban Classic.

Now usually the word Urban makes me feel a little bit of a way but last night’s performance made it alright for the few hours that artists such as Skepta, Devlin, Ms Dynamite and Fazer from N Dbuz (who had all the teenage girls screaming “We Love you Fazer!” every 2 minutes) performed their most well known tracks backed by an 80 piece orchestra.

If you’ve seen or heard a Suite for Ma Dukes, you’ll know how beautiful the sounds of J Dilla are enhanced by orchestral arrangements – this was no different. There were even a couple of classical ‘pull ups’ from the likes of Boy Better Know and Ms Dynamite who exclaimed “I never thought I’d see the day when an orchestra could make me skank like a Rasta man.” Indeed we were all skanking along with her.

The best thing for me were the first 5 or 10 minutes of the concert where confused faces of the audience tried to get their heads around the concept of the worlds of Grime music and Classical all under one roof.

The event was put on by Serious (the folks behind the London Jazz festival), and Bigga Fish and was also recorded live for BBC Radio 1Xtra (fast forward to about an hour in to hear the pull up on ‘Too Many Man’ – it’s insane).

The concert ended with a tribute to the late Ms Houston as the artists all came on stage to perform one last time to ‘It’s Not Right’ – a fitting tribute.

A huge well done to conductor and Musical Director Jules Buckley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra too!