Journalist Nathan Amoatin and photographer Fingerprint Fotos report on a powerful performance by British gospel grime man FEED'EM
One quality that makes gospel music stand out from any other genre is the ability of the genre to stay relevant through keeping the core sonic elements while seamlessly embracing the current tides of leading music genres such as rap and grime.
But the elephant in the room has often been the accessibility and showcasing of gospel music to the masses. But as it says in the book of Psalms, let everything that has breath praise the Lord. But to what extreme do we take it to the world? London-based gospel grime supremo Feed'Em has already grappled with this issue and, as he stepped to the mark and brought a different alleluia to the Saturday night gig scene in East London, there was a crowd to experience how this powerful wordsmith could be in the world but not of it.
As part of a handpicked line up of performers spanning across different genres of urban music for the Un:Hurd X LNIP present UN:TITLED open mic night, Feed'Em brought the tenacity to keep the crowd amped and instantly connecting with his stage persona. Without hesitation, Feed'Em opened his set with his high-octane track "Outro", a trademark track loaded with lyrics of making a conscious decision to follow a righteous path or in his words "destination to the maker". In this musical space, Feed'Em showcases his seamless ability to make an up-tempo grime track that has the crossover appeal of reaching the masses while without watering down the message.
Putting the pedal to the metal, he takes things up a notch by launching into the crowd favourite "Keep That". Recognized as a signature track over a renowned grime instrumental, this performance was certainly one where Feed'Em turned doubters to believers. When ushering in the 8-bar chorus, many (including myself) catch ourselves responding "keep that!" as he powers through and lifts the crowd. To the untrained ear, it may appear as fun and games, but the consistency remains as the message pierces through the chorus as a rebuttal to darkness.
The set is crowned off with an old-school garage/grime medley where Feed'Em juggles a mix of classic instrumentals and taps into freestyle mode. Showing love for his craft, nostalgic flows and rhyme schemes are delivered with a modern lyrical twist as the crowd are left spellbound by rhyme-master's unique ability to switch and hit without missing a step. A gospel-tinged performance in front of a largely secular crowd. Looking across the room, this was in many ways mission accomplished!
If you were to ask the man himself, this is just the beginning as Feed'Em has his eye set on gracing a series of platforms, both nationally and internationally, to catapult his profile and fulfil a ministry that is pretty much the air he breathes. With summer on the horizon and his stock rising, the sky presents no limit as he sights on things much greater and of a divine calling. After all, God's time will prevail.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.