- Words Monique Boreland
The Rated Legend Show was a concert created to honour the life of Blaine ‘Cadet’ Johnson, and it proved that UK Rap is stronger than ever.
Following the shocking death of UK rapper Cadet, his cousin and rapper Krept organised The Rated Legend Show, a tribute concert created to celebrate Cadet’s life on what would have been his 29th birthday. For those like me who couldn’t attend the show– due to the fact it sold out in seconds – fans and curious onlookers were given the opportunity to live stream the three-hour event on YouTube.
Armed with our strongest vocals, my sister and I began the countdown to Cadet’s tribute show. “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1” we screamed, and later let out a sad stream of mournful “aww’s”/sighs as the concert opened with the fitting rendition of “Forever Young” by Mr. Hudson. Along with the crowd, my sister and I proclaimed the melancholy lyrics from home. The song choice, like the whole night, was bitter-sweet; Cadet who passed away at 28 after being involved in a car accident would always be remembered as “forever young”. Despite the sadness that tinged the night, The Rated Legend Show was meant to be a celebratory occasion and soon transformed into a bitesize UK-only Wireless Festival.
With promises of an amazing night, the event saw a massive 33 performers take the stage – Stormzy, Not3s, AJ Tracey, Dave, Mo Stack, Wstern; the night breathed life into Capital Xtra’s Homegrown segment, a non-stop compilation of UK tunes that take over your airwaves every Saturday night. Songs like “Options”, “Trendy”, “Lock Arf”, “Bally, Drogba”, “Pumpy”, “Best Life”, “Sharna”, saw the crowd (and me) burst in a frenzy – mosh pits were formed, lyrics were screamed and the energy from performers transformed my bedroom into Brixton’s 02. I could feel the electricity from the crowd, and each time the automated ten-second countdown appeared on the stage, we roared – mouths open, tonsils glaring, all eager to see who would take to the stage.
After what seemed to be 30 minutes (but was in fact 2 hours), former Notion cover stars Krept & Konan came to the stage to perform “Wo, Wo, Wo”. After their incredible performance, Krept gave a heartfelt speech about his cousin. Stumbling over his words he proclaimed that Cadet was “no longer underrated [and] definitely died as a legend”. Voice breaking, Krept faced the mic to the audience and screamed “WHO?” and in return, we screamed “CADET CADET”. “WHO?”, he bellowed, “CADET, CADET” we roared. Thanking everyone again, the duo closed their set with the Air Force Remix and a mournful “we love you bro”.
Following a series of upbeat bangers, Dave came on-board “slow things down”. With a riveting performance of “Hangman”, Dave’s performance encapsulated feelings of sorrow and loss. The rapper’s plaintive words were carried by the aching melodies of his own piano playing and brooding bass instrumental. Followed by a lament sigh and a “RIP Cadet”, Dave left the stage with emotions high.
My heart dropped when Stormzy came out to perform Blinded by Your Grace, with a pained sigh he said – “Cad, this one’s for you”. The lyrics were undoubtedly relevant to Stormzy’s grief – “Lord I’ve been broken”. Supported by a choir, the melodious sounds of worship weaved its way through the room and the camera riveted on tearful fans, and an emotional Stormzy. Looking up to the sky, Stormzy said “If Cadet could be here today, you lot would have made him so proud, man has never met anyone as clean hearted as this man. No one would have appreciated this more and it makes me realise I need to appreciate things more”.
To close the show, Deno took to the stage to perform “Advice” (Dele Alli), the hit freestyle that catapulted Cadet and Deno to number 14 on the Singles Chart. Surrounded by Cadet’s family, friends and performers of the night, Deno’s vocals soared through the room, along with multi-coloured confetti that erupted from canons. As everyone gathered on the stage one last time, I smiled at members of NSG shaku’ing onstage, and at the hugs and smiles shared between performers. The display of brotherhood between the artists was poignant – from their performances together, encouraging cheers, and the fond exclamation of “bro” when talking about each other, the night not only championed Cadet in all his glory but the UK music scene too; Rap, Afro-swing, RnB, it was a memorable occasion.
The show was a perfect send-off for the legendary rapper; raising over £100,000, Krept promised that “all proceeds, literally every penny, will be donated to build something chosen by the supporters in Cadet’s name for the community.” As Cadet’s supporters made their way to the exit, an impromptu “happy birthday” broke out alongside riveting chants of “Cadet, Cadet”.