Rizzle Kicks – review

Scala, London

Rizzle Kicks's music is not a place to search for hidden depths. The Brighton duo of Jordan "Rizzle" Stephens and Harley "Sylvester" Alexander-Sule went top 10 this autumn with their debut album, Stereo Typical, which recalls the cartoon rap-pop and self-mocking goofing of the early-90s hip-hop of Will Smith and Kid 'n Play.

Rizzle and Sylvester play the majority of the album tonight to a frenzied audience who are so young it probably wasn't even worth the venue's time to open the bar. Two skinny livewires in retro backwards baseball caps, they suggest a comedy duo trying their hands at hip-hop MC-ing, with their slick stagecraft bearing witness to their status as Brit School alumni.

Backed by a full band including a trumpeter, they major in nifty wordplay, eclectic dance rhythms from ska to mariachi and a sheer, winning sense of mischievous exuberance. On Dreamers, they suggest a hip-hop take on McFly; new single Mama Do the Hump quips‚ "It ain't over till the Fatboy Slims," in tribute to its producer.

Their top 10 hit When I Was a Youngster mourns lost idealism, which seems a tad previous for two teenagers. They subject Ed Sheeran's You Need Me, I Don't Need You to a rigorous funk-rap revamp: when Sheeran joins them, the hyped-up crowd's adulation nearly takes the roof off.

As Rizzle Kicks end an ebullient, impossible to dislike set with their mega-selling debut single Down With the Trumpets, the penny drops that the rap duo they most resemble is Ant & Dec in their PJ & Duncan days. Don't bet against Rizzle & Sylvester being Saturday night ITV staples in five years' time.


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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