Nikita Rathod went down to Wembley's SSE Arena to check out Eskimo Dance, headlined by grime God Wiley and joined by some of the best emcees Britain has to offer, this is her verdict of the night.
Date published: 12th Apr 2017
Image: Chip by Max Ledger at Light Design
For the grime fans who have been there since day one, Eskimo Dance is a nostalgic affair as well as an exhibition of the genre in its rawest form. From the days of the first 2002 rave in Watford club Area, the idea that it could ever have booked a venue as huge as Wembley’s SSE Arena was surely a pipe dream once upon a time. For the Godfather of grime, Wiley and his team, this all came true this past weekend.
To say that this night was crazy is an understatement. The event drew in a varying crowd which spanned over generations, with young grime lovers who moshed their way through the evening being joined by the ‘ride or die’ grime heads who have stood by the highs and lows of the genre. Eskimo Dance brought together individuals of different ages and colour, the love for grime being the sole common factor.
Eski’s heavily stacked lineup had understandably built up expectations and to its credit, it didn’t disappoint one bit. If the mosh pits were anything to go by, the almost deadly, sweaty and unwaveringly strong energy from the get go would be a microcosm for what this event encapsulated.
From Solo45 gaining a chorus of 'Feed Em To The Lions', to P Money orchestrating mosh pits during 'Who’s In Charge?' through to Ghetts’ explosive energy during 'One Take' alongside Rude Kid - the MCs brought out their best for this celebration of grime. Whilst the line up was full of some grime OGs with the likes of President T and Devlin, there was also plenty of space for those making noise on the scene currently, such as AJ Tracey and Abra Cadabra.
The audience took a break from the craziness when Kojo Funds took to the stage, introducing some afro swing to the mix. Stefflon Don also added in some sexy vibes with her dancers and buckets of attitude when performing 'Real Ting'.
After Chip shut down his set, Ghetts took the stage spitting a few of his staples including the floor filling track, 'YouDunKnow Already'. To the surprise of spectators, he brought out man of the moment Grim Sickers for a performance of his single 'Kane', who was visibly hyped for the occasion.
Perhaps the only thing that lacked was a longer onstage presence from the Godfather of Grime himself. Wiley could be seen humbly speaking to fans and acquaintances before hitting the stage and is was evident the crowd wanted more from him. Roll Deep member Scratchy Demus also later joined the East London MC who performed 'Speakerbox' and 'Can’t Go Wrong'.
Eskimo Dance may have scaled up but it’s fair to say that little has changed otherwise. The event gave us the best portrayal of the 2017 grime scene that we could have asked for. The line-up embodied the passion and energy of the fans of the genre, mixing the new with the greats.
Proving that Eskimo Dance will continue to have longevity, Wiley and his team have managed to setup an event that has overcome barriers. Crucially, it has maintained the same sentiment that it had in the early 2000s, which is certainly no easy feat. Eskimo Dance was an important night for grime, but it also provided an essential moment of reflection of its long journey and development.
As a movement, the genre now sits high and healthy due to the hard work of the genre’s emcees and ambassadors, and Eskimo Dance reaching this stature is further proof that the scene is here to stay.