Having just independently released his eponymous debut album, achieving a no.3 spot in the UK charts, AJ Tracey has made the leap from underground grime star to mainstream rap phenomena. As the West London rapper kicked off his world tour at a sold-out Newcastle University he faced a challenge. How does he please both his day-one grime hungry fans and his new found pop-rap adoring fans at the same time?
This tour represented more than just a victory lap for the “Psych Out!” rapper, it was his chance to prove he hasn’t ‘sold out’. AJ dived straight into the new album, before appeasing the old school with bar-filled bangers like “Packages” and “Blacked Out”.
Despite AJ’s relatively dead-pan delivery and stoney facial expression, he still has a palpable stage presence. An air of quiet confidence that suggests there’s more going on behind his eyes than you’d first think. AJ ensured the crowd stayed alert by getting up close and personal as often as he could, doing laps of the safety barrier whilst asking “where’s the fucking energy Newcastle?!”
Chart-toppers like “Butterflies” were greeted with fan-girl screams, whilst cult classics like “Pasta” were greeted by a sea of gun fingers and screw-faces. AJ is currently juggling two very different fanbases with ease – if he can keep it up he’ll no doubt be the UK’s biggest urban export in no time.