On the top floor of Newcastle’s O2 Academy, a sold-out crowd waited for the arrival of a 5”’3, hat wearing, hoodie flaunting former member of N-Dubz.
The compact stage has a black backdrop with the word ‘DAPPY’ in all caps looming over it. No band, just one fella with a laptop on the stage, Dappy’s own brother no less. An excited crowd grabbed their phones and lit up the stage, this was a gig that his fanbase wanted a record of. He opened with tracks from his latest batch of single releases with records like ‘Trill’ not only showing the developed style of music the Camden-grown rapper is willing and able to perform but how he is able to do it so well live.
The use of the term “one big family” is repeated over and over in between songs, a rallying effort to ensure that every single member of his audience feels exactly like that. A witness of a special moment that you are a part of. As obscure as it felt at times, Dappy owned the stage and his crowd. A crowd that knew every single word to every song he sang.
We watched on from the back, perched on a slightly raised platform with a fire door behind us. As Dappy disappears from the stage, an eager crowd awaited before the star appeared through the fire door behind us, gets two of his security team to lift him on shoulders. He then sings several N-Dubz classics, perched at the back of the venue on top of another human being, before moving on to his own ‘No Regrets’. His security team then wade him through to the front of the stage. An amazing moment for any fan and an impressive thing for any artist to do.
The entire event was, at risk of sounding a bit dramatic, a bit of a spectacle.
The entire event was, at risk of sounding a bit dramatic, a bit of a spectacle. He held his arms forward at times getting the fans to scream at his demand. He demanded to find out who was his most dedicated fan, the winner got on stage and met him backstage after. He performed three tracks from the back of the venue. He did so in a way with such sublime arrogance, that you did nothing other than fall for him. The quality of his singles past and more recently are similar in quality by are of very different genres.
Somehow Dappy has managed to garner a following that adores both of these things. Dappy knows this, and he uses it to his advantage. Lots of people love to hate him, but really we should learn to love to love him.