Kanye loves it, so do Faith Evans and Lily Allen. Time Out on the savviest hip hop night in town

  • In case you hadn’t heard, it’s Carnival this weekend – unless you’re at Reading or the TDK Cross Central or just staying at home to chill out because you’ve had a long week, actually. But otherwise, come Monday night, you’ll probably be experiencing the familiar sensation. I don’t want to go home yet, you’ll think, I wonder where all the cool people are going after it all gets shut down? Well, about 200 of them will be heading to the Notting Hill Arts Club, for the Carnival after-bashment thrown by YoYo, London’s most consistently interesting hip hop night.YoYo’s Carnival Special is an unusually star-studded event for a club that normally can’t be arsed with pulling in the big names.

    The hardcore faithful among you will be ‘juiced’ to hear that top leftfield hip hop DJ-producer Mark Ronson will be playing a set, as well as Kanye West’s personal DJ A-Trak. Those of you who don’t know much about urban music but know what you like will be rapturously ecstatic to hear that there’ll also be a live set from fragrant TO cover star Lily Allen. Despite their differing musical styles, this won’t be the first time any of them has played YoYo, and that’s what makes the place so interesting.

    Although YoYo is, by definition, a hip hop club, at least half of what it plays isn’t hip hop at all. The last few months have seen appearances from Baltimore booty-hop man Aaron LaCrate, MOBO-winning hip hop decknician Shortee Blitz and Frank Tope, best known as resident DJ at Basement Jaxx’s Latin-house-doused Rooty. Mostly though, it boasts appearances from no one at all, because the DJ duties are usually handled by the promoters, Seb Chew and Leo Greenslade. The music policy takes in R&B, rap, grime, ragga, baile funk, booty and even the odd bit of jungle, if you remember that. Chew himself says that this approach came from their disillusionment with clubs playing the same ‘MTV Base playlist stuff’ without bringing any new sounds to the party.

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