On the hottest day of the year, some of us sat in the dark feeling confused
Tommy Genesis can’t rap. That’s what people tend to post online, along with barbs about her flow in general. Listening to the YouTube tracks above such disses (which often resemble the early work of M.I.A., whose Meltdown Festival Tommy is part of this evening), they seem not totally unfair, but harsh, for sure. Tonight, TG hands her own head to her detractors. In fact, she’s worse than that. At one point the sound guy heckles her. The sound guy!
Things start with the Canadian rapper asking for all the lights to be turned off. All of them. Ok, that’s kind of cool, as she hops off the stage and starts rapping in the aisles of the all-seated Royal Festival Hall, standing on the empty chairs, illuminated only by phone cameras. It’s not any easy space to motivate and Tommy is getting stuck in.
Sixty seconds in, it’s instantly clear how buffed those YouTube tracks are – for anyone who’s not feeling Tommy’s laidback, melodic flow there, her precocious squeals and screams that often leave her out of breath and gasping for air down the mic are a lot harder to sit through. A song like the mellow and dark ‘Angelina’ (played second) is unrecognisable as Tommy turns the end of every other line into a yelp. Still, she’s in the crowd and vaulting chairs and whipping her four corner pigtails (kinda like Korn), so there’s something to it for now. And all the lights are off, including the ‘visuals’ now (a still of some leaves), at the insistence of Tommy, even though some people have started shouting turn the lights on.