Words By: Jack Smith
On the second Thursday of every month, fans of hip-hop and public humiliation flock to The Bird.
Featuring tracks by M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal and Gorillaz, the theme of the most recent installment of ‘Hip Hop Kara”YO!”ke’ was ‘U.K. State of Mind’.
The first thing you’ll notice is the popularity of the event, it was packed wall-to-wall, so to avoid the thirty minute queue people started jumping over the back fence (unsuccessfully). The next thing you’re likely to notice is the strange blend of people. You’ve got the regulars, sporting some sort of trendy headwear and sipping on an espresso martini. Then you spot the people who look as though they’ve just rolled out of bed, shirts untucked, beards unkempt.
The participants were made up of about 80% people just out for a good time and 20% Slim Shady fans, who I assume prepared by watching 8 Mile on repeat and dipping their hair in a vat of bleach.
Something that did tie everybody together was that most people decided to ignore the venue’s instructions to avoid saying the “n bomb (replace with something else… e.g. brother)”. What could sound more natural than “I ain’t saying she a gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke brothers”?
Karaoke is one of my most hated pastimes and I’m not a particularly huge fan of hip-hop, but the atmosphere and sense of communal, care-free ridiculousness meant that anyone could come along and not feel out of place, it was a bit of fun and I’d go again.