On Thursday 21st March, AJ Tracey graced Birmingham with his presence for the 12th day of his ‘AJ Tracey’ tour – quick shouts to AJT for pulling thru with guestlist. I feel like this event marks a monumental progression from his days of performing Pasta in Club Batchwood (voted the ‘best worst club in Britain’) to selling out the largest room of the O2 Institute. He even has an Instagram account, with 6000+ followers, dedicated purely to this tour which is demonstrative of his growing success as an artist.
AJ Tracey opted out of a warm up act but this didn’t seem to faze the predominantly young crowd as they eagerly awaited his performance; he appears to have left his grime roots behind as this was not the typical group one may expect to see at his show. However, if you listen to his recent releases, namely his new eponymous album, then it all becomes clear: AJ Tracey has turned more mainstream. Take Wifey Riddim, for example, which originated as his version of a classic RnG (rhythm and grime) format and has since been commercialised as Wifey Riddim 3 to suit the ever-growing demand for Afro-pop. Psych Out! also includes the lyrics: ‘Mummy, I’m a popstar (a popstar)’. Nonetheless, this is evidently working for him in his ability to sell-out a nationwide tour.
With regards to his set, highlights included a throwback to Alakazam, a rendition of Ladbroke Grove (one of the better tracks from AJ Tracey), and a last-minute appearance from Not3s. AJ Tracey gave a short but sweet performance which left me slightly uninspired by his lack of stage presence; this perhaps shows a loss of interest in his fans during his rise to mass fame. Although, he clearly still commands a lot of respect within the industry as, over the course of his tour, he has been supported by the likes of Not3s, Dave, MoStack (MoStack’s dog) and Unknown T.
Make sure you check out AJ Tracey’s new track, Fashion Week, with Steel Banglez and MoStack.
Written by Char Stape.