Brighton’s original open mics/open decks hip hop jamby Kode : 04/02/05
* Click here to see what’s on at Slip Jam:B *
What's it all about?Since 1998 Brighton has played host to a remarkable hip hop night called Slip Jam:B. Put simply, it’s an open mics/open decks jam session, providing a forum for deejays and emcees to get on stage and show the crowd what they can do. And when we say "open mics/open decks", we mean it - anyone’s welcome. There’s no vetting of candidates or signing up in advance; people just turn up on the night and get involved. Originally started by a couple of hip hop fans by the name of Ben and Andy, it was passed over in early 2001 to Nonconformists' Kode and Richie Cunningham alongside Mr Clean.
So what makes Slip Jam:B so special? Well, first off, how can a monthly freestyle jam NOT be special?!! For hip hoppers in Brighton, it’s a vital event. Ever since it began it’s been an integral part of the city’s hip hop scene, as much for the crowd who come to watch as for the performers who come to do their thing. And, the venue has a decent sound system – something that’s often missing in live hip hop.
From long-established Brighton veterans to first-timers, the city’s emcees come down to show off their latest rhymes, drop some freestyles or have a battle. For those who know each other the battles often involve low-down and dirty (but still friendly!) personal attacks, while occasionally a new cat will take it a bit too seriously and try to bring the aggro… but in general it’s all taken in the appropriate spirit! Of course, it’s not all freestyling – many emcees come down to spit their latest verses, bringing some more complex lyricism than most freestyles include.
Deejays old and new come to drop some party tunes, show off their cuts and juggles and spin beats for the open mic. There’s always a pair of decks set up for the mix plus another deck and mixer for scratches, so there’s plenty of room for scratch specialists and club-style mixers as well as the all-rounders. For the open mic, the more experienced deejays work with the emcees, dropping in a few choice cuts between verses and letting the beats run so the emcees can speak their piece.
Less frequent visitors are the beatboxers… They may be in short supply, but when they come they always get a good response from the crowd, whether it be showcasing their own particular style or dropping beats for the emcees to rhyme over.
On top of the jam session, every month has a live performance by one of the local crews, showing off their own tracks to the crowd. Again, the organisers have an open policy on who can appear – if you’re making tracks, you can request a booking and (subject to an often-long waiting list you’ll get one. For many of the up-and-coming new crews, this is their first opportunity to get their name on posters and flyers around the city.
For the participants it’s also a regular place to hook up with their peers, meet new people, arrange collaborations, and check their skills against the competition. Many emcees have made their first, or near-first, appearances at Slip Jam:B, and gone on to improve their skills for all to see. There’s also been a large number of collaborations between emcees, deejays and producers, and a good many friendships made.
Brighton is blessed to have a night like this. It’s regular, it’s unpretentious, the sound system is good and it’s free to get in. If you’re an emcee, deejay or producer, or just a hip hop fan, you should make sure you’re there.
When’s it on?Slip Jam:B is on the first Tuesday of every month, from 8-11pm.
Where is it?It’s in Brighton, East Sussex, downstairs at the Freebutt pub on Phoenix Place. The pub is behind the Phoenix Gallery on Lewes Road (opposite the Level); Phoenix Place is immediately to the left of the gallery.
How do I get involved?Just turn up! If you’re an emcee, just get on stage during the open mic and you’ll get the mic in due course. If you’re a deejay, speak to whoever’s on the decks. And if you want to get booked for a live performance, speak to Kode, Richie Cunningham or Mr Clean (one of us can always be found behind the mixing desk).
If you haven’t been down to participate before, it’s also worth speaking to Brainiac, the host, when you arrive.
What happens when?The night always runs something like this:
8pm – open decks deejay session:
Deejays spin tunes, show off cuts and juggles, etc.
9pm – open mic/decks session:
Emcees drop verses and freestyles, and maybe battle… (deejays need to spin quality instrumentals for this).
10pm – live performance:
The featured crew does their thing.
10:30pm – open mic/decks session:
11pm – close.
Contacting usIf you want to get in touch, send an email to Slip Jam:B - but put something meaningful in the subject line, otherwise your message might be filtered out as spam!
What’s on next:
Forthcoming live performances:
1st March 2005
5th April 2005
3rd May 2005
7th June 2005
5th July 2005