Words + Photos by Frank Ralph

Gods of Rap brought together three of the most iconic names in hip-hop for an incredible celebration of music along with the legendary DJ Premier of Gang Starr steering the ship throughout the show.

De La Soul, Public Enemy and Wu-Tang Clan joined forces in Manchester and took the roof of with a combination of feel-good vibes, political power and camaraderie.

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Each group had a landmark of some kind with De La and P.E. both celebrating 30 years of classic albums – ‘Three Feet High and Rising’ and ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ and Wu-Tang 25 for ‘Enter The Wu-Tang’.

DJ Premier hyped up the crowd during breaks in the show dropping some absolute tunes and paying respect to fallen friends such as Guru, his MC in Gang Starr.

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De La Soul brought the party vibes, even stopping the show to single out the photographers and get them dancing to join in. Plugs 1,2 and 3 combined to create an energetic and soulful start to the show.

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Public Enemy brought a PE Radio show and stripped it back to two turntables and microphone style. Disappointingly there was no Flava Flav but Chuck D, for me, is and will always be the highlight on any bill he is on. He is one of THE most influential lyricists of all time, in any genre and his delivery is so powerful. Don’t Believe The Hype sounds as powerful today as it did 30 years ago.

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Wu-Tang Clan brought the quirky weirdness with them. The sheer amount of them onstage is impactful but the way they rotate the action is great to watch, and bringing ODB’s son in on the action ties the old to the new.

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With the giant screens preluding to Gods of Rap two being announced soon this format could easily become an unmissable annual event, which would be fantastic. I’ve got everything crossed for Ice Cube and LL Cool J next year!

See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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