The smell of unwashed clothes and body odour fills Leeds’ Beat Bar, which is impressively busy as Jonwayne takes over from Bambooman without fuss or announcement.
For the next 45 minutes, he takes the heavily intoxicated (or perhaps just rhythmically absent) crowd on a musical journey. Tinkering away at his Roland SP-404 sampler, he peers through his curtains of hair every now and then to look unimpressed at his onlookers. As he draws from an obscure palette of sounds, including jazz records, motion picture soundtracks, trap drums, Lil Wayne a cappellas and everything in between, whispers are passed between confused audience members about the absence of material from his latest release, ‘Rap Album One’ (review).
While Jonwayne’s career as a beat-maker pre-dates his rap releases, it becomes clear that many of the attendees are unaware of this history. As he remixes Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’ album cut, ‘Barry Bonds’, he finally breaks down the fourth wall, walking around to the front of the desk mouthing the words as he daps some fans up at the front.
Grabbing the mic, he turns back to the SP-404, teasing in the intro to Pusha T’s ‘Numbers On The Board’ single, which he put his own spin on with last year’s ‘Cassette 3’ mixtape. Just as his rap is supposed to come in he shakes his head and walks off stage. The denial only builds more anticipation to hear him rap.