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Tropical Smoke’s Inaugural Rap Show in Basingstoke

Editor’s note: SOuthside’s website has been down for a few weeks, hence the late review. We’re back up and running, so expect more content like this on the regular.

Basingstoke-based hookah lounge Tropical Smoke organised its inaugural rap show in Winklebury, Basingstoke on Saturday, 26th of March 2022 titled the 8 Mile Open Mic Night. While showcasing some unique talent, the show suffered from a case of tables and chairs at the venue. With a second show in a nightclub setting recently announced, we’re excited to see what kind of show they produce next.

Tropical Smoke Shisha’s inaugural rap show took place at The Sycamore Centre in Winklebury, Basingstoke on March 26th 2022 and hosted a plethora of performers, the full listing being: Providence, Lil Skeemz, Mullac, Fats Spacegang, Doe Boy The Writer, FDOTZ, RODT, Joe Gravity, Woosley, Johnnie Darko, Whipdat, Essbandz, ZS14, with DJ Sabat and C Nero on the wheels of steel.

Notable performers: Mullac, Lil Skeemz, Fats

Above video: Woosley spitting over Dr Dre's “Imagine” instrumental

The format of the event allowed artists rapid turns on the mic to lay down a track or two before letting the next performer take over. This kept the event high-paced and engaging, with some of the artists grabbing da mic countless times. Notable performers include: Mullac, who was the most well-pronounced verbally; Lil Skeemz, who brought the energy to the stage every time; and Fats (video, below), where it is readily apparent he had the most intricate flows and rhyming patterns on display that night. Also commendable was C Nero who was killing it on the CDJs, Joe Gravity who hit a hardcore acapella freestyle after his set finished, and Doe Boy who really got the crowd going towards the end.

Above video: Fats spitting over Show & A.G. “Next Level (Nyte Time mix)” instrumental

However, the issue with this event was that there was only a crowd towards the end - and here’s why. Within the venue at the Sycamore Centre there is no bar or alcohol licence, so the show operated a BYOB policy. As a visitor, once one swiftly got past security who of course only had to check for metal, what was apparent walking into the main room was a gorgeous smell of Caribbean food. An on-site kitchen had been utilised to cook up some proper good scran, although their thinking was then to supply tables and chairs for people to eat on. This was a grave mistake, as most attendants spent the majority of their night sat down at the tables watching the rap show from a distance. It wasn’t until towards the very end that some people sacked off the tables to form a crowd. Below: the beginning of the show, before the lights turned off and a crowd was formed.

The Bottom Line

This lineup hosted some promising talent who will definitely thrive in a better set up, and - with a second show announced for May 27th in Plush Nightclub Basingstoke (poster below) - we can look forward to seeing that progression happen. One thing’s for certain: it’s good to see some investment into the developing Basingstoke rap scene.

Keep up to date with Tropical Smoke parties via their Instagram by tapping here.

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