Sunday's Yahoo! Wireless Festival livestream from London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park gave fans around the world the opportunity to catch some of the new rising stars in the U.K., as well as some visiting Yankee rappers, in the comfort of their own air-conditioned homes.
While it continued to be unusually sunny and steamy in London, rising new talents such as Rizzle Kicks and Misha B, as well as American rappers Nas and Big Sean, heated up the festival's stages for the live audience and those watching along at home. Here are some highlights:
1. Rizzle Kicks live sampled the Clash
We enjoyed this Brit hip-hop duo when we caught them at the Hollywood Palladium in February opening for Ed Sheeran, and on their home turf in a festival setting, they were even more impressive. Backed by a live band, including trumpet and saxophone players, rappers Rizzle and Sylvester brought a pop-culture mishmosh of sounds and a fun attitude that had the crowd singing and jumping along. Our highlight was their live sample of the Clash's "Revolution Rock." Later in the webcast, the boys turned up again with the dance-craze-inspiring "Mama Do the Hump."
2. The B Girls — Misha B and Katy B — brought the girl power
Sweet soul sister Misha B wowed the crowd with her own original material and a medley of classic hits that included Soul II Soul's "Back to Life," Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It," the Spice Girls' "Wannabe," and Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," before hitting it out of the park with her own U.K. hit "Home Run." Katy B took the stage in shiny silver shorts and went straight into her U.K. hit, "Broken Record." Later in the set, Katy offered a jazzy take of Justin Timberlake's "My Love" before she was joined by Jessie Ware for a duet on the dance-floor banger "Aaliyah." She followed that with a cover Aaliyah's "More Than a Woman" and closed her set with a guest shot from Ms. Dynamite on "Lights On."
3. Nas brought some socially conscious rhymes to the festival
While most of the Wireless Festival was one big party, with fans waving their hands like they just don't care, veteran New York MC Nas brought social consciousness to the fest and still had the crowd rapping along. His rapid-fire flow, backed by DJ Green Lantern and a live band, was in full effect on such classics as "NY State of Mind," "It Ain't Hard to Tell," and "Life's a Bitch." He offered a tribute to his onetime duet partner Amy Winehouse on "Cherry Wine," and also didn't ignore the news of the day, leading the crowd in a mid-song "Trayvon" chant on "Made You Look."
4. Big Sean brought some Detroit dirty to London town
The second of only two Yanks to grace the stage during this segment of the webcast, Big Sean did his part to bring some Detroit dirty to London town. Backed by his DJ and two blokes dressed in traditional Islamic gear on electronic drum pads, Sean banged out a set full of hits. The reference to Sarah Palin might have been lost on the British audience, but there was no missing the groove of "Mercy." Later Sean got down and dirty with the salad-tossing anthem "Dance (A$$)," with Nicki Minaj's featured spot turning up loud and clear thanks to Memorex. Similarly, we heard a bit of the disembodied voice of Chris Brown on the YOLO-themed "My Last." Later he brought out his mascot Rico the Lion to partake in the fun, before previewing a few new tracks from his forthcoming album. "I don't care if you're gonna buy it or bootleg it, I don't give a f***, just as long as you hear it," Sean raved.
5. A$AP Mobs gave a hilarious interview
Not all the action occurred onstage. A$AP Rocky took his A$AP Mob backstage for a hilarious interview, during which they admitted to being drunk and stoned and tried to hit on the cute female co-host, generously offering to impregnate her. When Rocky later mentioned his girlfriend, the female host questioned his loyalty. Rocky responded that it was all good because his girlfriend doesn't use the Internet and would never see the interview.