Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19

Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com
Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Sean Strange: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com Erick Sermon: XOYO, London 11/8/19 @bluesansoul.com

As one-third of groundbreaking act EPMD, Erick Sermon became one of the most important figures in hip-hop. With a career going back 33 years, he is an accomplished MC, producer and mogul.

He hasn't been seen much on these shores recently, so it wasn't a surprise to see East London venue XOYO packed out to see him in concert. The Sunday night show was the final leg of a European tour following the release of LP "Vernia", a record that shows the 50-year-old still has plenty to say.

The evening didn't run entirely smoothly though, with an ugly confrontation between some members of the crowd and rapper Sean Strange, one of Sermon's protegees. With time ticking on, the main man still wasn't on stage at 10pm, and with last tubes and trains to catch, many in the crowd understandably made their feelings felt. It was a situation that could have been diffused, but Strange decided instead to go on the attack, launching insults at members of the audience and bragging that he was getting paid regardless. It made for an ugly sight before one of the greats, and it was nudging 11pm before Sermon finally hit the stage.

It speaks volumes for the esteem he is held in that the rapper was able to diffuse the bad vibes and deliver a hip-hop masterclass… EPMD material rubbed shoulders with newer tracks, and Marvin Gaye-sampling "Music" drew a huge cheer. "Da Joint" and "Strictly Business" still sound fresh after all these years, and Sermon took time out to pay tribute to some of the rappers who have passed away in his career - sadly there is no shortage.

Make no mistake, most of today's top rappers may not have been born when Sermon's career began, but he remains in it for the long run. A compelling, must-see artist.

PHOTOS: BAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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