Jesse James Solomon at Momo
Jesse James Solomon welcomed friends like Suspect and MasterPeace on stage, but the spotlight remained on one of South London's brightest talents.

It has been a short while since the introverted poet Jesse James Solomon released his well-received 2018 EP Strata and in that short space of time he has been all over the map, in support of acts such as Skepta and Suspect. Early observations have showed that Jesse is comfortable on stage despite his inward nature and can get a party started with his impressive verse on Suspect’s ‘One Way’. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for his headline show at Momo in the West End; unsurprisingly it flew under the radar as some of my mates either didn’t know or had commitments that clashed. But could the boy wonder fly solo on a humid night in West London?

I stepped into a small basement room and saw producer Flyo – the man responsible for Suspect’s debut mixtape Loading and Jesse’s ‘Before Patrick’ Soundcloud cut –  in the building playing cuts to get people in the mood. The small, sparse crowd were catching a vibe to the sounds of Playboi Carti, Gunna and Rae Sremmurd among others. It was a relaxed setting and judging by the amount of drinks I saw around the room, people just came to have a good time.

Alternative rap duo MasterPeace and YS Tekdinner took the stage to get the crowd hype and although their appearance was random, they got the job done. They graced the stage with bounds of energy and enthusiasm that you can only hope for in opening acts that are unknown to you. They only performed two tracks but two was enough, given this shows late start. That and the fact that MasterPeace was topless and looked liable to throw a stage prop!

In another plot twist, rapper and producer Kadiata came out to bless the crowd in support of Young JJ. He posted up in his Burberry baseball cap and trademark Adidas bottoms with Nike Air Force Ones. Kadiata really doesn’t wear denim! Nevertheless, he gave as good as he got, demanding energy from the growing crowd and giving it back in equal measure. He performed his latest track ‘On Tap’ to good reception and then followed that up with ‘Art Hoes’ a trippy, singsong affair about an artsy girl with the tightest passion fruit. He faded to black as he made his way off the stage but this was only a temporary fixture as the man himself hit the stage.

In his loose fitting Levi’s denim, blacked out AF1’s and loose fitting Dertbag top with his signature shades, a gangly figure stood before me in all his nonchalance, giving a slight grin as acknowledgement to the now packed out basement crowd. Jesse James Solomon was finally rocking the stage solo since his signing to Once in a Blue Moon Records.

He came out to the Strata opener of the same name and immediately the lights were on Jesse. “I see the painting, I see a young me, I see the moonlight on the pavement” bellowed out from the nonchalant artist before he quickly transitioned to ‘Under The Sun’ featuring and produced by Kadiata, who was on hand to sing the hook. The Strata favourite was well received by the crowd who quickly turned the basement into a singalong, the energies aligning with the heat levels. We even got a few dances out of the normally blasé rapper. A lovely rendition of ‘Don’t Make Me’ followed and the songstress known as ELIZA came out to perform the song with Jesse James.

Then the show turned into a flashback of Jesse’s highlight reel as tracks such as ‘City Lights’ and ‘JFSE’ came rolling off the tongue before he took it back to ‘Before Patrick’. The crowd swayed with the boy wonder as he rhymed “Young JJ gunning for the hat trick, young JJ I was gunning before Patrick, young JJ I need a hunnid in my mattress, young JJ I’ll turn your honey to an actress” the crowd echoed as young JJ was in his element for sure. Suspect came out of nowhere, such was the shock that the crowd delayed applause!

Their popular collaboration ‘Son of the Ends’ rightly got a few wheels once Jesse spat “seventeen again” The Black Mack produced ‘Goat Talk’ boomed from the struggling sound system and it felt like the moonlight shined through the bricks and mortar as Suspect dropped adlibs for his young contemporary. The mood sunk as the cockiness oozed from Jesse’s spirit. He performed ‘One Way’ with Suspect and that got a crazy amount of wheels as the two traded their verses, Jesse’s show stealing verse boomed from the sound system as his claim to blending in looked funnier as his confidence grew.

Finally, the last song call beckoned and it felt right that Jesse James Solomon ended his first headline show since the Phonox gig last year (with 808INK) with ‘The Ride Home’ taken from his second EP of the same name. Despite coming on late and the sound system making the crowd suffer through various screeches of feedback, this shouldn’t take away from the success of the show or his nimble stage presence and lyrical dexterity. As the lights dimmed, the young rapper departed with little more than “until next time”. One can only hope that Jesse James Solomon means business.


Written by /
Published /
July 20
Category /
Event Review