Saturday, 1st August marked the start of Rich Mix’s Youth Takeover. This year, the #IITSPIRATION team was intrusted with programming the opening party. The pop up hub creatives brought together an incredible mix of fresh, young and gifted performers, excited music fans and highly motivated entrepreneurs, manning market stalls offering everything from art, fashion to literature. These facets all combined to produce an incredible and eclectic evening of entertainment and enterprise.

IITSPIRATION stalls collage

Entering the main space, I was immediately greeted by the sounds of a booming, bass-heavy selection from IITS resident DJ, Mr Furious. It wasn’t long before all eyes were focused on centre stage, as Fusion and Mr Emotionz introduced the live element of the show. Emerging lyricists Wezlee and Hybrid set it off, rocking freshly purchased hats from the RIZK stall. Together they won-over the audience with a mix of call & response routines and deft wordplay over dope beats. Next to pick up the mantle was Tru Luv Cru. The energetic Battersea collective did not disappoint. Cassive – a rapper/producer blazed beats on par with DJ Mustard – dropped lyrics with the aplomb of a young J Cole or Kendrick Lamar. Afro-futurist Flohio proved to be a beast on the microphone with verbals to complement her partner in rhyme. All the while, the third member of the crew moved stealthily through the audience shooting content for their growing online fanbase.


An open mic session that followed was a direct response to the high demand from IITS associated artists to step on stage and hone their craft. A queue of hopefuls formed immediately. Standouts on the night included Tazzo, a talented artist discovered at a recent Music Potential Taster, Roundhouse alumni Sara Eliza, who gave a spellbinding vocal performance and mAdjes.T, whose skippy flow and charisma won over the audience and earned her the crown and a chance to perform her winning song.

Discovering fresh talent, accessing new music and building creative networks are just a few of the great things that happen at #IITSPIRATION events. Innovation and creative endeavour is everywhere! As Mr Furious proceeded to mash up the dance with a barrage of club bangers, attendees danced, made purchases at the market stalls and exchanged details. I seized the moment to interview Tazzo and spoke to Fusion about writing a review for the website – that’s how quickly creative exchange happens at #IITSPIRATION!

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 19.14.15Act Two opened with an impressive performance by the amazing Narko. As an artist who has performed at many Industry In The Streets events, the seasoned South London lyricist was a familiar face to many of theTrue Skool regulars. However, Narko packed fire to convert the uninitiated too. Striding on to Jay Z’s epic ‘PSA’ instrumental, he made his intentions clear. Lyrically, his aurora reminded me of a ‘Food & Liquor’ era Lupe Fiasco mixed with some early Mos Def. The raw lyricism, incredible flow and strong stage presence is something you don’t see from many artists these days. Keep an eye out for this incredible performer and next level artist.

Ndeye Melissa took the audience on a neo soul adventure with her beguiling French accent and live band. From live to digital, the night took anther twist as Fusion introduced veteran hip hop producer Yeti, who borrowed ears to explain his Chopshop concept. Armed with an MPC, he entreated Rich Mix to an amazing live production showcase. Watch this space for future instalments!

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Soon the stage was set for Fusion to introduce Joey Lavo and his entrepreneurial partner, Khristen Craft. Fresh from their roadblock car park jam in East London, the Lavo crew brought a diverse roster of artists to the mix. T-Mulla gave the people what they wanted with street hits ‘Potential’ and ‘Control That’. Hackney heavy-hitters CXCV set speed with ‘Control That’ remix before blazing the set with a few bangers of their own. With their trade mark infectious energy and crowd-pleasing stage show, CXCV are destined to touch down at a True Skool show very soon.

In contrast, Ryan De La Cruz took to the stage in all-black everything and a low-key demeanour to match. With precious little in the way of introductions he stuck up a riddim with his guitar and began. The moment he opened his mouth and unleashed an effortless falsetto he owned the moment. His rendition of ‘Pagans’ was rootsy, raw and sweet like sugar cane. What followed was a vocal tour de force, as he took on JT’s ‘Cry Me A River’ and brought the audience closer to his own troubles with ode to tough times, ‘Homeless’.

The final high on the #IITSPIRATION rollercoaster ride came courtesy of rising star Dee’Rig. A veteran of many Industry In The Streets events, he masterfully worked the crowd and squeezed the last bit of energy out with a high-octane performance of summer hit ‘Black Shades & White Tees’ and his hazy ode to the high life ‘Oh Mary’. All that was left was for Fusion to thank the audience and for Mr Furious to play the night out.

Overall my experience at the #IITSPIRATION x Rich Mix Youth Takeover party was one of joy, excitement and intrigue. I met some amazing people, discovered new music and made connections with real people in the industry and created memories that will last me a lifetime. In all, it was a truly IITSPIRATIONAL event and a fitting start to the Takeover. Make sure you follow the #IITSPIRATION hashtag for info on future events and head back to Rich Mix throughout August to enjoy a wealth of RMYT workshops and showcases.

Words: Nik (@ENIKAY95) & Fusion (@iitsFusion)







Rich Mix Youth Takeover is a series of free arts events aimed towards people aged 16-25. Every night between the 1st and 22nd of August there are a group of masterclasses, live industry showcases, theatre performances, gigs and opportunities for young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the creative industries. For more information click here.