A LONDON-based MC and beat-poet with a knack for making albums – 2011’s Mercury-nominated Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam and this year’s Some Say I So I Say Light – with titles almost as satisfying to say out loud as the records are to listen to, and you get a sense of Obaro “Ghostpoet” Ejimiwe’s flair for the spoken word.
Armed with a vocal style somewhere between Roots Manuva’s whipsmart flow and Scroobius Pip’s love for a tongue-twistingly good turn-of-phrase, the very bald chap in the big specs and black T-shirt who stepped up to the mic here is one of the best in British hip-hop. Unfortunately, much as echoing and warping effects on his vocals is part of the package, shoddy sound-quality rendered most of his rhymes a multi-syllabic mush.
It was excuse at least to admire the musical elements of Ejimiwe’s sound, as performed by a four-piece band, two of whom were on home turf. While firmly in tune with the zeitgeist of underground London between its crisp electronic beats and broody soundscapes, it agreeably eschews any overt style of the moment in search of more individual detail – from the mellow, almost jazzy guitar line of Plastic Bag Brain, to the soulful electric piano on Survive It. A Bank Holiday-weekend starting crowd was quickly enamoured by Ejimiwe’s easy-going charm. “If you’re having a good time Glasgow,” he ordered in a moment of rare vocal clarity, “make some noise.” And Glasgow duly did.