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From the Crates: Ill Citizen LIVE

February 24, 2011

Muse continued their run of superb Word of Mouth nights with more live hip-hop and soul to mark the quadrennial festivities; perhaps in special honour of rap footnote Ja-Rule, who saw his first glimpse of bling on this ‘Leap Day’ 32 years ago. The line-up was an impressive roster of Nottingham talent, with local boys Ill Citizen topping the bill once more.

Warming up the crowd was hip-hop stalwart DJ Squigley of OhMyGosh Records, spinning some anthemic classics from his extensive crates. Once proceedings had begun proper, soul siren Jay Thomas took to the stage to deliver a soothing performance which was greeted well by the now near capacity audience. Next up: Lady Paradox, who with her assured set and solid delivery broke my previous conceptions of her, demonstrating why she is the eighth most downloaded female artist in the whole of Japan! (apparently).

Local favourite Karizma dropped by later for an unbilled but more than welcome appearance, spitting some of his well-known tunes and indulging the throng before him with some improvised freestyling. Audience participation was a highlight, as the rapper asked for words and phrases to be shouted out for reference in the ad lib rap. Any man who can incorporate pork pies and nods to this fair city into his verse at the audience’s will deserves a pat on the back.

The headliners, Ill Citizen, whose devoted fan base had all but packed out the venue, continued with their winning formula of quality beats and rhymes, with production coming courtesy of Tom G, who also represents on vocal duties with Canni and Allergy. After numerous performances at different venues, the boys have now got rocking a crowd down to a tee. Some new beats accompanying classic material was the basis for a solid set, with the tune Now What proving popular with many of the revellers forcing themselves towards the front. It’s always refreshing to see fans at gigs actually enjoying themselves rather than the traditional image of independent hip-hoppers morosely nodding their heads at the back of the room. Ill Citizen certainly got the place livelied up.

The venue is always good for this kind of event, with acts taking residence on a raised seating area, and the crowd afforded a spacious dance floor and sofas. Publicity for the night was extensive, so the floor soon filled. This enlivened the atmosphere but also meant that getting a drink in/moving was sometimes a bit slow.

But for £3 on the door for a good five hours of top music, you have to try pretty hard to find something wrong. I’m glad I won’t have to wait another 4 years for such a good night out, as Taskforce headline Word of Mouth in a month’s time.

Ill Citizen played Muse on Friday February 29 2008

Ill Citizen MySpace
Ill Citizen website
Muse MySpace

Originally published at, Monday February 3, 2008.

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