UD has spent six months enhancing the skills of eight wonderful acts, rappers and singers alike, equipping them with knowledge and artistic uplift within the music industry. The Incubator Programme allows participants to hone in on their craft and get acquainted with like minded individuals – artists on the rise who are keen to develop themselves.
As we come to the end of the 2023 Incubator Programme, it was all about the final showcase at Talent House. UD Incubator alumni and Open Mic host, NAYANA AB, hosted the Showcase, getting the vibes right before the acts came on…
Mar!k is a jack of multiple trades – but he surely masters them all. A singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist who blends R&B and hip-hop with exquisite care. Commencing the show with a rendition of the Bob Marley classic, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, the dark, sultry bassline intertwines with his raspy voice that can dance between a range of octaves.
Next Mar!k bought in a recent classic of his own, ‘Nintendo’.
A self-produced, jazz-tinged rap tune, full of word play that references old skool games and showed off his rap ability. Halfway through, a technical difficulty meant the music stopped but he continued his performance acapella and responded by saying that he’d “never known God to give wheel ups”, but he ran with it and performed the track again. This time the audience and he went even harder. Sometimes things just happen for a reason!
His grand finale saw him collecting random words from the audience to freestyle them in a beat that he’d made that day. Mar!k does this quite often when he performs and each time is better than the last, hitting those double entendres right off the dome.
Chrissy Day’s talent is undeniable. The R&B babe is making her mark with her effortless riffs and runs, her vocals feel just like silk. She opens with a song called ‘No Agent’, oscillating through her range with her vocals that emulate feeling breathless in an ethereal way. She then performs her latest single, ‘Understatement‘, out now on Ray Records, a song about being in a toxic situationship of some kind, that’s wrong but just feels right. She wraps the crowd up in a stunning string of riffs and runs and her recorded backing vocals harmonise with her live vocals, a beautiful sight to see and hear.
She interacts with the audience, asking for call and response on her song, forthcoming cut ‘Outside’, getting us to sing the title of the track during the chorus like an echo-ing adlib. The melody takes a leaf out of fast-paced rappers’ books – the way she loads the clip and sprays it while still making it sound utterly gorgeous as she sings about toxic people that she’s leaving behind, warning them “Don’t switch when you see me outside.”
When I say David GotSound’s bars are hard hitting, I don’t just mean in the delivery – the bars cut deep. They’re full of introspection and storytelling – he knows just how to paint a picture over the melodic instrumentals. He’s also got charismatic energy, the bars flow through him and translate through his body while he raps to the crowd with the upmost conviction.
David dedicates a song to his fiancé, describing it as a song about lovers becoming family. The crowd cheered him on as he mentioned she was in the audience and she’d never heard the song before. The production on the track had Jersey Club drums running through it’s veins as he gushed about his love and his vision for their future. Safe to say it warmed everyone’s heart. He’s combined the art of being vulnerable with his captivating flow, and the audience loves it.
Emiko’s lush, velvety tones are sure to put you right in your feels. The soulful melodies mesmerise the audience on his first track as he sings from the heart. His soothing melodies and gorgeous harmonies float throughout the room. He even hit some astonishing, angelic high notes that wowed the crowd. He then performed ‘Old School Lovin”, a track reminiscent of old times that he expresses through exploring the range of his vocals, he got the entire crowd emotional. It’s the way he’s able to go from high to low and vice versa so effortlessly, while his voice is still rich and full of soul that really hits off with the audience.
The vocalisations are off the scale. He finishes with ‘Me You Came For’, a slightly more upbeat track that gets the crowd moving while they admire his smooth tone. He even steps into the audience for extra emphasis.
Saiming has become an artist you have to keep your eye on. His fresh take on rap is bringing something different to the UK rap scene and elevating it while doing so. His first track, ‘Twisted or Turnt‘ shows off his rap ability when he jumps on the mic. His flow is fresh and fun, his bars equipped with smart word play and his stage presence is suave and cool.
The next song he does is called ‘Final Chance‘, a collaboration with NAYANA AB that was produced by Maniko. It’s got a bouncy house vibe to it, reminiscent of Kaytranada. NAYANA AB’s deep vocals juxtapose Saiming’s verse, while the pair offer different perspectives of the same situation. The last track, ‘Vibe Dispersion’ has this stunning lo-fi production to it, provided by dilushselva (the same producer as his viral hit ‘WOOF MEOW’) and he’s put double the amount of energy into the delivery of the well crafted bars. There’s even a part of the song that’s acapella to shift the focus to his incredible rapping skills.
Talented producer and singer, Arinola, steps to the stage to show off her range. Her first track ‘Love Story‘ takes from liquid drum and bass, her R&B tinged vocals navigate the track perfectly as she rides the rhythm. And she soon gets to skanking with the crowd! Her next song is funky house infused, as she asks the crowd “Who’s getting funky tonight?” This track feels full of nostalgia and she’s got one of those smooth, sweet voices that funky house classics often have flowing between the drums. She definitely had the crowd dancing the most out of all the acts and you’d easily be able to picture her music playing at a rave. She’s even rapping in Patois toward the end.
Arinola finishes with another funky track, keeping the energy at an all time high and the energy at an all time high. Her vocals glide on the instrumental and the crowd absolutely love it.
The hardest grime MC that needs to be on your radar, Dan Dannah always comes through with the wickedest flow. The first track feels like an old school hip hop beat, reminiscent of 50 Cent and his bars and energy have really hit off with the crowd. His second track sees him speaking on his upbringing, introduced by melodically singing “Man are raised in a jungle” during the intro. The grittiness of the track is emphasised by the same string of chords from Mobb Deep’s ‘Shook Ones, Pt II’ running throughout the track production.
Dan finishes with a classic – if you’ve been to UD Open Mic, you would’ve heard ‘Dangerous’, the menacing grime track that proved Dan Dannah to be a beast on mic.
Last but certainly not least, female rap duo AE took to the stage immediately giving the parents in the crowd (including their own!) a bit of a warning that their music can be a bit full on. Beginning with their recent hit ‘Not Your Girl’, a track about casual intimacies and not wanting love. Their onstage chemistry is harmonious, they bounce off of each other and even ad-lib each other’s verses.
They then perform their song called ‘Mistaken‘ which is more laidback, with a bit of bounce and gets the audience moving on their feet. Their flows are eloquent and their cheeky wordplay is prevalent. For the last track, they’ve announced an extra warning and let their parents know that “It’s not a true story! This is fantasy…” as they erupt with their brazen opening line, “I think I got the best kitty in the continent.” AE are asserting dominance with their confident bars and sharp flow with a feminine touch to it.
Take it from someone who’s watched these acts perform multiple times, they’ve grown immensely and blossomed into the wonderful artists they are today. They’ve polished up their craft and are now ready to take their artistry to the next stage going forward. We can’t wait to see it!
View our Incubator Showcase gallery HERE.